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How Does Privatization Affect Workers? The Case of the Russian Mass Privatization Program

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  • Elizabeth Brainerd

Abstract

This paper explores the effect of mass privatization and the development of a new private sector in Russia on the wage and skill distributions in the private and state sectors of the economy. Two questions this paper seeks to answer are: (1) Does wage-setting behavior in privatized firms resemble that of state or private sector firms? And (2) Do rewards to skills differ between the state and private sectors? Analysis of two household surveys conducted over the 1990s indicates that there is a positive premium to work in private sector firms over state enterprises and privatized state enterprises, and that this differential is reduced but not eliminated by controlling for differences in firm and worker characteristics and in hours worked across sectors. Evidence also indicates that newly privatized state enterprises pay higher wages than state enterprises in some years, even though the distribution of skills and returns to skills in the two sectors appear to be quite similar throughout the period. Higher wages in privatized firms likely reflects rent-sharing between workers and managers rather than increased efficiency due to privatization, although the evidence is inconclusive on this point.

Suggested Citation

  • Elizabeth Brainerd, 2000. "How Does Privatization Affect Workers? The Case of the Russian Mass Privatization Program," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 303, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  • Handle: RePEc:wdi:papers:2000-303
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    Keywords

    privatization; wages; Russian labor market;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • P23 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Factor and Product Markets; Industry Studies; Population
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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