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Are Oligarchs Productive? Theory and Evidence


  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko

    (University of Michigan)

  • Yegor Grygorenko

    (Citigroup Russia)


This paper develops a partial equilibrium model to account for stylized facts about the behavior of oligarchs, politically and economically strong conglomerates in transition and developing countries. The model predicts that oligarchs are more likely than other owners to invest in productivity enhancing projects and to vertically integrate firms to capture the gains from possible synergies and, thus, oligarchs can be socially beneficial. Using a unique dataset comprising almost 2,000 Ukrainian open joint stock companies, the paper tests empirical implications of the model. In contrast to commonly held views, econometric results suggest that, after controlling for endogeneity of ownership, oligarchs tend to improve the performance of the firms they own relative to other firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Yegor Grygorenko, 2005. "Are Oligarchs Productive? Theory and Evidence," Development and Comp Systems 0512013, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpdc:0512013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Guriev, Sergei & Rachinsky, Andrei, 2006. "The Evolution of Personal Wealth in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe," WIDER Working Paper Series 120, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Monika Schnitzer, 2013. "Financial Constraints And Innovation: Why Poor Countries Don'T Catch Up," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(5), pages 1115-1152, October.
    3. Salla Pöyry & Benjamin Maury, 2010. "Influential ownership and capital structure," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(5), pages 311-324.

    More about this item


    Oligarch; transition; firm performance; property rights; treatment effect;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P31 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Socialist Enterprises and Their Transitions

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