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To Divest or not to Divest? Social Assets in Russian Firms

  • Tuuli Juurikkala

    ()

  • Olga Lazareva

    ()

In the planned economy firms were made responsible for providing their workers with social services, such as housing, day care and medical care. In the transforming Russia of the 1990s, social assets were to be transferred from industrial enterprises to the public sector. A law on divestment was put into force but it provided mostly general principles. Thus, for a period of several years, property rights over a major part of social assets, most notably housing, were not properly defined as the transfer decisions were largely left for the local level players to make. Strikingly, the time when assets were divested varied considerably across firms. In this paper we take a political economy approach and utilize recent survey data from 404 medium and large industrial enterprises in 40 Russian regions to study the effects different forms of bargaining between the firm and the municipality may have on the timing decisions. In particular, we apply survival data analysis to explore the determinants of the divestiture timing. Our results show that the firms which divested assets later receive more benefits from the local authorities, especially in places where there are more benefits to extract (i.e. the local budget is richer). Further, we find evidence that the firms which transferred assets later performed relatively worse in 2002 in terms of profitability, productivity and investments. Finally, the data shows that poorly defined property rights have an adverse effect on the incentives to invest in social assets, and hence on the quality of public service provision.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa04p637.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p637
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  1. Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2000. "Incentives to provide local public goods: fiscal federalism, Russian style," Working Papers w0001, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  2. Slinko, Irina & Yakovlev, Evgeny & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2003. "Institutional Subversion: Evidence from Russian Regions," CEPR Discussion Papers 4024, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Ariane Lambert-Mogiliansky & Konstantin Sonin & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2003. "Capture of Bankruptcy: Theory and Russian Evidence," Working Papers w0038, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
  4. Freinkman, Lev M. & Starodubrovskaya, Irina, 1996. "Restructuring of enterprise social assets in Russia : trends, problems, possible solutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1635, The World Bank.
  5. Saul Estrin & Alan A. Bevan & Boris Kuznetsov & Mark E. Schaffer & Manuela Angelucci & Julian Fennema & Giovanni Mangiarotti, 2001. "The Determinants of Privatised Enterprise Performance in Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 452, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  6. Pertti Haaparanta & Tuuli Juurikkala & Olga Lazareva & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya & Jukka Pirttilä & Laura Solanko, 2004. "Firms and public service provision in Russia," Macroeconomics 0401015, EconWPA.
  7. Sonin, Konstantin, 2003. "Provincial Protectionism," CEPR Discussion Papers 3973, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. J. David Brown & John S. Earle, 2000. "Competition and Firm Performance: Lessons from Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 296, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  9. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1994. "Politicians and Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 995-1025, November.
  10. Irina Slinko & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya & Evgeny Yakovlev, 2005. "Laws for Sale: Evidence from Russia," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 284-318.
  11. Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1993. "Why Is Rent-Seeking So Costly to Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 409-14, May.
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