Publications of Earle, J.S.

Earle JS. Developing Graduate Economics Education from Scratch: The Case of the Central European University. In: Bourguignon F, Elkana Y, Pleskovic B, editors. Capacity building in economics education and research. Washington, D.C.: World Bank; in press/forthcoming. p. 277-99.
Earle JS. Comments on the Regional and Skill Mismatch in the Czech and Slovak Republics. In: Scarpetta S, Wörgötter A, editors. The regional dimension of unemployment in transition countries : a challenge for labour market and social policies. Paris: OECD; in press/forthcoming. p. 113-5.
Earle JS, Estrin S. Privatization and the structure of enterprise ownership. In: Granville B, Oppenheimer P, editors. Russia's post-communist economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press; in press/forthcoming. p. 173-212.
Earle JS, Sabirianova KZ. Understanding employment: level, composition, and flows. In: Rashid M, et al, editors. The Russian labor Market: Moving from crisis to recovery. Washington, D.C.: World Bank; in press/forthcoming. p. 1-43.
Earle JS, Sabirianova KZ. Understanding wages: structure, uncertainty, and inequality. In: ..., editor. The Russian labor market: moving from crisis to recovery. Washington, D.C.: World Bank; in press/forthcoming. p. 45-102.

Corporate control in Hungary

In this paper we describe the Hungarian legal framework regulating disclosure of information about listed firms at the Budapest Stock Exchange (BSE), and we analyze the concentration and types of blockholders at these firms for the years 1996-2000. Disclosure rules on the BSE became EU-compatible only very recently, and so far indirect holdings were not reported. The concentration of direct ownership is nonetheless rather high, the largest owner having 46.2 percent on average in May 2000. While this figure is similar to the corresponding levels in continental Europe, it is more unusual that the second and third largest blockholders also have large shares (on average 20.2 and 10.4 at the same date). Concentration was quite stable during 1996-1999, while it decreased somewhat in 2000. The most prevalent type of owner is foreign investor, which had over 50 percent of all blockholdings in 2000, although domestic private blockholders and the state are also present in a significant number of firms.

Earle JS, Telegdy Á. Ownership and wages: estimating public-private and foreign-domestic differentials using LEED from Hungary, 1986-2003. In: Bender S, editor. The analysis of firms and employees: quantitative and qualitative approaches. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 2008. p. 229-52.

Creating productive jobs in East European transition economies: a synthesis of firm-level studies

The challenge for labour market policy in the new member states and other transition economies of Eastern Europe has been to redress the sharp drops in employment and rises in unemployment in a way that fosters the creation of productive jobs. This paper first documents the magnitude and productivity of job and worker reallocation. It then investigates the effects of privatisation, product and labour market liberalisation, and obstacles to growth in the new private sector on reallocation and its productivity in Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. We find that market reform has resulted in a large increase in the pace of job reallocation, particularly that occurring between sectors and via firm turnover. Unlike under central planning, the job reallocation during the transition has contributed significantly to aggregate productivity growth. Privatisation has not only stimulated intrasectoral job reallocation, but the reallocation is more productive than that among remaining state firms. The estimated effect of privatisation on firm productivity is usually positive, but it varies considerably across countries. The productivity gains from privatisation have generally not come at the expense of workers, but are associated rather with increased wages and employment.

Understanding the contributions of reallocation to productivity growth: lessons from a comparative firm-level analysis

We analyze comprehensive manufacturing firm data to measure the contribution of inter-firm employment reallocation to aggregate productivity growth during the socialist and reform periods in six transition economies. Modifying a standard decomposition technique to better reflect the role of firm entry, we find that reallocation rates and productivity contributions are very low under socialism, but they rise dramatically after reforms, and productivity contributions greatly exceed those observed in market economies. Early in transition, more reform is associated with larger contributions from reallocation, but later, and on average over the whole transition, this relationship is reversed. Though reallocation rates are larger in faster reforming economies, higher productivity dispersion in slower reformers creates higher productivity gains for a given volume of reallocation. The results imply that reallocation should be viewed as necessary regular maintenance for a well-functioning economy, and particularly large productivity contributions tend to reflect previous neglect more than current virtue.

Helping Hand or Grabbing Hand? State Bureaucracy and Privatization Effectiveness

Why have economic reforms aimed at reducing the role of the state been successful in some cases but not others? Are reform failures the consequence of leviathan states that hinder private economic activity, or of weak states unable to implement policies effectively and provide a supportive institutional environment? We explore these questions in a study of privatization in postcommunist Russia. Taking advantage of large regional variation in the size of public administrations, and employing a multilevel re-search design that controls for pre-privatization selection in the estimation of regional privatization effects, we examine the relationship between state bureaucracy and the impact of privatization on firm productivity. We find that privatization is more effective in regions with relatively large bureaucracies. Our analysis suggests that this effect is driven by the impact of bureaucracy on the post-privatization business environment, with better institutional support and less corruption when bureaucracies are large.

Ownership and wages: estimating public-private and foreign-domestic differentials using LEED from Hungary, 1986-2003

Studies of public-private and foreign-domestic wage differentials face difficulties distinguishing ownership effects from correlated characteristics of workers and firms. This paper estimates these ownership differentials using linked employer-employee data (LEED) from Hungary containing 1.35mln worker-year observations for 21,238 firms from 1986 to 2003. We find that ownership type is highly correlated with characteristics of both workers (education, experience, gender, and occupation) and firms (size, industry, and productivity), suggesting ownership type is systematically selected along these dimensions. The large unconditional wage gaps (0.24 for public-private and 0.40 for foreign-domestic) in the data are little affected by conditioning on worker characteristics, but controlling for industry reduces the public and foreign premia (to 0.16 and 0.34, respectively), and controlling for employment size further reduces them (to 0.07 and 0.28). We also exploit the presence of 3,700 switches of ownership type in the data to estimate firm fixed-effects and random trend models, accounting for unobserved firm characteristics affecting the average level and trend growth of wages. These controls have little effect on the conditional public-private gap, but they reduce the estimated foreign premium (to 0.07). The results imply that the substantial unconditional wage differentials are mostly, but not entirely, a function of differences in worker and firm characteristics, and that linked panel data are necessary to take these correlated factors into account.

The productivity effects of privatization in Ukraine: estimates from comprehensive manufacturing firm panel data, 1989-2005

This paper estimates the effect of domestic and foreign privatization on multifactor productivity (MFP) using long panel data for nearly the universe of initially state-owned manufacturing firms in Ukraine. The longitudinal dimension of the data is used to measure and control for pre-privatization selection bias and to estimate long-run impacts. The data imply steadily increasing MFP as a result of domestic privatization, reaching about 25 percent relative to state-owned firms after six years. Until recently, Ukraine has had relatively few cases of privatization to foreign investors, and estimates of the MFP impact are more sensitive to controls for selection bias, but the results suggest foreign privatization produces a productivity advantage of about 40 percent in 2004-2005.

Ownership and wages: estimating public-private and foreign-domestic differentials using LEED from Hungary, 1986-2003

Studies of public-private and foreign-domestic wage differentials face difficulties distinguishing ownership effects from correlated characteristics of workers and firms. This paper estimates these ownership differentials using linked employer-employee data (LEED) from Hungary containing 1.35mln worker-year observations for 21,238 firms from 1986 to 2003. We find that ownership type is highly correlated with characteristics of both workers (education, experience, gender, and occupation) and firms (size, industry, and productivity), suggesting ownership type is systematically selected along these dimensions. The large unconditional wage gaps (0.24 for public-private and 0.40 for foreign-domestic) in the data are little affected by conditioning on worker characteristics, but controlling for industry reduces the public and foreign premia (to 0.16 and 0.34, respectively), and controlling for employment size further reduces them (to 0.07 and 0.28). We also exploit the presence of 3,700 switches of ownership type in the data to estimate firm fixed-effects and random trend models, accounting for unobserved firm characteristics affecting the average level and trend growth of wages. These controls have little effect on the conditional public-private gap, but they reduce the estimated foreign premium (to 0.07). The results imply that the substantial unconditional wage differentials are mostly, but not entirely, a function of differences in worker and firm characteristics, and that linked panel data are necessary to take these correlated factors into account.

Firm-level components of aggregate productivity growth in ECA economies

Background paper for the World Bank Report on Productivity Growth in ECAEconomies,

What makes ECA firms productive? Ownership, age, market structure, and import penetration in Georgia, Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

Background paper for the World Bank Report on Productivity Growth in ECAEconomies

Information technology, organizational form, and transition to the market

The paper reviews theories of information technology adoption and organizational form and applies them to an empirical analysis of firm choices and characteristics in four transition economies: Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. We argue that two major structural changes have occurred, one concerning technology and another concerning firm ownership and boundaries, and we consider how each change may have affected the other. We estimate the impact of firm size, integration, and ownership on new information technology adoption and the impact of information technology on changes in firm boundaries and ownership, using a sample survey of 330 firms.

Job reallocation and productivity growth in the Ukrainian transition

We analyse the pace and patterns of job reallocation in Ukraine using 1992-2000 panel data on nearly the universe of continuing manufacturing firms inherited from the Soviet Union. Employment growth displays a substantial increase in heterogeneity during this transition period, with a corresponding rise in excess job reallocation. Unlike data for Soviet Russia in the 1980s, Ukrainian job reallocation in the 1990s was clearly productivity enhancing, both within and across industries. The speed of the increase in reallocation and its effect on aggregate productivity was somewhat slower than in Russia, however, perhaps reflecting the more 'gradualist' reform strategy in Ukraine.

The productivity effects of privatization: Longitudinal estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

This paper estimates the effect of privatization on multifactor productivity using comprehensive panel data on initially state-owned manufacturing firms in four economies. We exploit the data's longitudinal dimension to control for preprivatization selection and estimate long-run impacts. The estimates are robust to functional form but sensitive to selection controls. Our preferred random growth estimates imply positive multifactor productivity effects of 15 percent in Romania, 8 percent in Hungary, and 2 percent in Ukraine, but a -3 percent effect in Russia. The foreign privatization effect is larger (18-35 percent) in all countries. Positive domestic effects appear immediately in Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine and continue growing thereafter, but emerge only five years after privatization in Russia.

Wages, layoffs, and privatization: evidence from Ukraine

This paper estimates the effects of privatization on worker separations and wages using retrospective data from a national probability sample of Ukrainian households. Detailed worker characteristics are used to control for compositional differences and to assess types of observable "winners" and "losers" from privatization. Pre-privatization worker-firm matches are used to control for unobservables in worker and firm selection. The results imply privatization reduces wages by five percent and cuts the layoff probability in half. Outside investor ownership reduces separations but leaves wages unaffected. Winners from privatization tend to be higher skilled employees of larger firms, but there is no discernible relationship with gender, education, or experience.

The microeconomics of creating productive jobs : a synthesis of firm-level studies in transition economies

The challenge for labor market policy in the transition economies has been to redress the sharp drops in employment and rises in unemployment in a way that fosters the creation of productive jobs. The authors first document the magnitude and productivity of job and worker reallocation. Then they investigate the effects of privatization, product and labor market liberalization, and obstacles to growth in the new private sector on reallocation and its productivity in Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. The authors find that market reform has resulted in a large increase in the pace of job reallocation, particularly that occurring between sectors and through firm turnover. Unlike under central planning, the job reallocation during the transition has contributed significantly to aggregate productivity growth. Privatization has not only stimulated intrasectoral job reallocation, but the reallocation is more productive than that among remaining state firms. The effect of privatization on firm productivity varies considerably across countries and is not always positive. The productivity gains from privatization have generally not come at the expense of workers but are rather associated with increased wages and employment.

Earle JS, Peter KS. Complementarity and custom in contract violation. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research Staff Working Papers: 06-129; 2006.

Complementarity and custom in contract violation

We analyze a model of wage delay in which strategic complementarity arises because each employer's costs of violating its contracts decrease with the arrears in its labor market. The model is estimated on panel data for workers and firms in Russia, facilitating identification through fixed effects for employees, employers, and local labor markets, and instrumental variables based on policy interventions. The estimated reaction function displays strongly positive neighborhood effects, and the estimated feedback loops – worker quits, effort, strikes, and legal penalties – imply that costs of wage delays are attenuated by neighborhood arrears. We also study a nonlinear case with two stable equilibria: a punctual payment and a late payment equilibrium. The estimates imply that the theoretical conditions for multiple equilibria under symmetric labor market competition are satisfied in our data.

Nonstandard forms and measures of employment and unemployment in transition: a comparative study of Estonia, Romania, and Russia

This paper looks behind the standard, publicly available labor force statistics relied upon in most studies of transition economy labor markets. We analyze microdata on detailed labor force survey responses in Russia, Romania, and Estonia to measure nonstandard, boundary forms and alternative definitions of employment and unemployment. Our calculations show that measured rates are quite sensitive to definition, particularly in the treatment of household production (subsistence agriculture), unpaid family helpers, and discouraged workers, while the categories of part-time work and other forms of marginal attachment are still relatively unimportant. We find that tweaking the official definitions in apparently minor ways can produce alternative employment rates that are sharply higher in Russia but much lower in Romania and slightly lower in Estonia, and alternative unemployment rates that are sharply higher in Romania and moderately higher in Estonia and Russia.

Wages, layoffs, and privatization: evidence from Ukraine

This paper estimates the effects of privatization on worker separations and wages using retrospective data from a national probability sample of Ukrainian households. Detailed worker characteristics are used to control for compositional differences and to assess types of observable "winners" and "losers" from privatization. Preprivatization worker-firm matches are used to control for unobservables in worker and firm selection. The results imply that privatization reduces wages by 5 percent and cuts the layoff probability in half. Outside investor ownership reduces separations but leaves wages unaffected. Winners from privatization tend to be higher skilled employees of larger firms, but there is no discernable relationship with gender, education, or experience.

Ownership concentration and corporate performance on the Budapest Stock Exchange: Do too many cooks spoil the goulash?

We examine the impact of ownership concentration on firm performance using panel data for firms listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange, where ownership tends to be highly concentrated and frequently involves multiple blocks. Fixed-effects estimates imply that the size of the largest block increases profitability and efficiency strongly and monotonically, but the effects of total blockholdings are much smaller and statistically insignificant. Controlling for the size of the largest block, point estimates of the marginal effects of additional blocks are negative. The results suggest that the marginal costs of concentration may outweigh the benefits when the increased concentration involves "too many cooks".

The wage effects of schooling under socialism and in transition: evidence from Romania, 1950-2000

We estimate the impact of schooling on monthly earnings from 1950 to 2000 in Romania. Nearly constant at about 3 to 4% during the socialist period, the coefficient on years of schooling in a conventional earnings regression rises steadily during the 1990s, reaching 8.5% by 2000. Our analysis finds little evidence for the standard explanations of the increased return to schooling in the West, such as labor supply movements, product demand shifts, and technical change. Nor is the increase fully explained by the transition-specific accounts sometimes offered, including wage liberalization, border opening, and increased quality of education. However, we find some support for institutional and organizational explanations, particularly the high productivity of education in restructuring and entrepreneurial activities in a disequilibrium environment.

What makes small firms grow? Finance, human capital, technical assistance, and the business environment in Romania

Although the development of a new private sector is generally considered crucial to economic transition, there has been little empirical research on the determinants of start-up firm growth. This article analyzes panel data on 297 new small enterprises in Romania with detailed annual information from the start-up date through 2001. Controlling for heterogeneity with a rich set of firm characteristics and firm fixed effects, our panel regressions imply that access to external credit substantially increases both employment and sales growth. Entrepreneurial characteristics such as gender and education have weaker estimated effects. Neither technical assistance nor a wide variety of measures of the business environment (contract enforcement, property rights, and corruption) have any clear association with firm growth.

Privatization, foreign investment, and wage structure: New evidence from linked employer-employee panel data in Hungary

working paper presented at the AEA meetings in Boston, January 2006, SOLE meetings in May 2005, and CAFÉ in Nuremberg, September 2006

Does privatization hurt workers? Lessons from comprehensive manufacturing firm panel data in Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

We estimate the effects of privatization on firm-level wages and employment in four transition economies. Applied to longitudinal data on manufacturing firms, our fixed effect and random trend models consistently fail to support workers' fears of job losses from privatization, and they never imply large negative effects on wages; only for domestic privatization in Hungary and Russia are small (3-5%) negative wage effects found. Privatization to foreign investors has positive estimated impacts on both employment and wages in all four countries. The negligible consequences of domestic privatization for workers result from effects on scale, productivity, and costs that are large but offsetting in Hungary and Romania, and from small effects of all types in Russia and Ukraine. The positive employment outcome under foreign ownership results from a substantial scale-expansion effect that dominates the productivity-improvement effect, and the positive wage outcome from a productivity effect that dominates the effect on cost reduction.

The productivity effects of privatization: longitudinal estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

This paper estimates the effect of privatization on multifactor productivity (MFP) using long panel data for nearly the universe of initially state-owned manufacturing firms in four economies. We exploit the key longitudinal feature of our data to measure and control for pre-privatization selection bias and to estimate long-run impacts. We find that the magnitudes of our estimates are robust to alternative functional forms, but sensitive to how we control for selection. Our preferred random growth models imply that majority privatization raises MFP about 15% in Romania, 8% in Hungary, and 2% in Ukraine, while in Russia it lowers it 3%. Privatization to foreign rather than domestic investors has a larger impact, 18-35%, in all countries. Positive domestic effects appear within a year in Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine and continue growing thereafter, but take 5 years after privatization to emerge in Russia.

The wage effects of schooling under socialism and in transition: evidence from Romania, 1950-2000

We estimate the impact of schooling on monthly earnings from 1950 to 2000 in Romania. Nearly constant at about 3-4 percent during the socialist period, the coefficient on schooling in a conventional earnings regression rises steadily during the 1990s, reaching 8.5 percent by 2000. Our analysis finds little evidence for either the standard explanations of such an increase in the West (labor supply movements, product demand shifts, technical change) or the transition-specific accounts sometimes offered (wage liberalization, border opening, increased quality of education). But we find some support for institutional and organizational explanations, particularly the high productivity of education in restructuring and entrepreneurial activities in a disequilibrium environment.

Job reallocation and productivity growth in the Ukrainian transition

We analyze the pace and patterns of job reallocation in Ukraine using 1992-2000 panel data on nearly the surviving universe of manufacturing firms inherited from the Soviet Union. Employment growth displays substantial increase in heterogeneity during this transition period, with a corresponding rise in excess job reallocation. Unlike data for Soviet Russia in the 1980s, Ukrainian job reallocation in the 1990s was clearly productivity-enhancing, both within and across industries. The paper also estimates the effects of firm and market characteristics on the magnitude of reallocation and on the extent to which it has contributed to aggregate productivity growth.

Does privatization raise productivity? Evidence from comprehensive panel data on manufacturing firms in Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

We analyze the impact of privatization on multifactor productivity (MFP) using long panel data for nearly the universe of initially state-owned manufacturing firms in four economies. Controlling for firm and industry-year fixed effects and employing a wide variety of measurement approaches, we estimate that majority privatization raises MFP about 28 percent in Romania, 22 percent in Hungary, and 3 percent in Ukraine, with some variation across specifications, while in Russia it lowers it about 4 percent. Privatization to foreign rather than domestic investors has a larger impact (about 44 percent) and is much more consistent across countries. The positive effects emerge within a year in Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine and continue to grow thereafter, but are still ambiguous even after 5 years in Russia. Pre-privatization MFP exceeds that of firms remaining state-owned in all countries, implying that cross-sectional estimates overstate privatization effects. The patterns of the estimated effects cast doubt on a number of explanations for "when privatization works."

Economic reforms and productivity-enhancing reallocation in the post-soviet transition

How do economic reforms affect resource reallocation processes and their contributions to productivity growth? This paper studies the consequences of enterprise privatization and liberalization of product markets, labor markets, and imports in the former Soviet Republics of Russia and Ukraine. Analyzing interfirm reallocation of output, labor, capital, and an input index with annual industrial census data from 1985 to 2001, we find that Soviet Russia displayed low reallocation rates that bore little relationship to relative labor and multifactor productivity across firms. Since reforms began, resource flows have increased in both countries, and their contributions to aggregate productivity growth have become substantial through increased flows from less productive to more productive continuing firms and through higher exits of less productive entities – i.e., through creative destruction. Among the policy factors that may explain firm-level variation, privatization is estimated to have positive effects on productivity-enhancing reallocation, but there is less evidence of such effects from domestic product market competition, labor market competition, or import penetration.

Privatization, competition, and budget constraints : disciplining enterprises in Russia

We investigate whether privatization, competitive forces, and the hardening of budget constraints played efficiency-enhancing roles in Russia in the immediate post-privatization period. We find evidence of a positive impact of privatization on labor productivity: a 10 percent point increase in private share ownership raises real sales per employee by 3-5 percent. The evidence on product market competition is weaker, depending on model specification. Soft budget constraints are usually found to reduce restructuring but the effect is small and insignificant. We find that in terms of their impacts on productivity, privatization and subsidy reduction are substitutes; privatization and competition (measured as the geographic scope of markets) are complements; and that competition and subsidy reduction are independent.

Privatization, competition, and budget constraints: disciplining enterprises in Russia

We investigate whether privatization, competitive forces, and the hardening of budget constraints played efficiency-enhancing roles in Russia in the immediate post-privatization period. We find evidence of a positive impact of privatization on labor productivity: a 10% point increase in private share ownership raises real sales per employee by 3–5%. The evidence on product market competition is weaker, depending on model specification. Soft budget constraints are usually found to reduce restructuring but the effect is small and insignificant. We find that in terms of their impacts on productivity, privatization and subsidy reduction are substitutes; privatization and competition (measured as the geographic scope of markets) are complements; and that competition and subsidy reduction are independent.

A spoonful of sugar: privatization and popular support for reform in the Czech Republic

We analyze the role of privatization in creating a constituency for economic reform, markets, and democratic institutions, focusing on the Czech Republic. Drawing on a 1996 survey, we examine the 1,459 respondents' opinions on reforms, economic policies and systems, the legitimacy of transition, and democratic values. Using ordered probit estimation, we find that receiving property through restitution is strongly associated with support for reform and markets. Concerning voucher privatization, we find positive effects for participants retaining shares, but little impact of participation alone. Our simulations suggest that policy designs have substantial consequences for citizens' support of reforms, markets, and democracy.

The reallocation of workers and jobs in Russian industry – New evidence on measures and determinants

Gross job and worker flows in Russian industry are studied using panel data from a survey of 530 firms selected through national probability sampling. The data permit examination of several crucial measurement issues, including the timing and definition of employment and the role of reorganizations, and they contain rich information on firm characteristics. We find that new and reorganized firms display larger flows than unreorganized enterprises. Product market dispersion and managerial and dispersed outsider ownership are associated with greater worker churning, and unionization and concentrated outsider ownership with less. There is little evidence that the average firm's employment adjustments have become more responsive to adjustment costs during the transition, but private ownership and product market competition appear to increase responsiveness.

Ownership concentration and corporate performance on the Budapest Stock Exchange: do too many cooks spoil the goulash?

We examine the impact of ownership concentration on firm performance using panel data for firms listed on the Budapest Stock Exchange, where ownership tends to be highly concentrated and frequently involves multiple blocks. Fixed-effects estimates imply that the l largest block increases return on assets and operating efficiency strongly and monotonically, but the effects of total blockholdings are much smaller and statistically insignificant. Controlling for the size of the largest block, point estimates of the marginal effects of additional blocks are negative. The results suggest that the marginal costs of concentration may outweigh the benefits when the increased concentration involves "too many cooks."

Community norms and organizational practices: the legitimization of wage arrears in Russia, 1992-1999

What role do community norms play in the diffusion and persistence of new organizational practices? We explore this question through an examination of the widespread practice of wage arrears, the late and nonpayment of wages, in Russia during the 1990s. Existing research on wage arrears most often examines this practice as a means of flexible wage adjustment under difficult economic conditions. We develop an alternative theory that explains wage arrears through their acceptance as a legitimate form of organizational behavior within local communities. Our empirical analysis finds some support for the neoclassical position that wage arrears reflect adjustment to negative shocks, but this perspective fails to account for a number of important facts, including a high level of arrears among apparently successful firms. In contrast, our results find strong support for the institutional perspective. The statistical analysis demonstrates powerful and robust community effects both in firm adoption of this practice, controlling for firm performance, liquidity, and fixed firm effects, and in workers' reaction to arrears, through their quit (exit) and strike (voice) behavior.

What makes small firms grow? Finance, human capital, technical assistance, and the business environment in Romania

Although the development of a new private sector is generally considered crucial to economic transition and development, there has been little empirical research on the determinants of startup firm growth. This paper uses panel data techniques to analyze a survey of 297 new s small enterprises in Romania containing detailed information from the startup date through 2001. We find strong evidence that access to external finance (loans) increases the growth of both employment and sales. Taxes appear to constrain growth. There is some evidence that entrepreneurial skills increase growth, but only weak evidence for the effectiveness of technical assistance, and only when it is provided by foreign partners or international agencies. A wide variety of alternative measures of the business environment (contract enforcement, property rights, and corruption) are tested, but are found to have little or no association with firm growth.

How late to pay? Understanding wage arrears in Russia

We organize an empirical analysis of Russian wage arrears around hypotheses concerning incentives for firms to pay late and for workers to tolerate late payment. Nationally representative household panel data matched with employer data show that arrears are positively related to firm age, size, state ownership, and declining performance. Constrained multinomial logit estimates reveal intrafirm variation related to job tenure and small shareholdings in the firm. Wage arrears, unlike wage cuts, have a theoretically ambiguous effect on workers' quit behavior, and we show empirically that the effect varies negatively with the extent of the practice in the local labor market.

Privatization methods and productivity effects in Romanian industrial enterprises

Comprehensive panel data on privatization transactions and labor productivity in Romanian industrial corporations are used to describe the postprivatization ownership structure and to estimate the effect of Romania's diverse privatization policies on firm performance. The econometric results show consistently positive, highly significant effects of private ownership on labor productivity growth; the point estimates imply an increased 1.0 to 1.7% growth for a 10% rise in private shareholding. The strongest estimated impacts are associated with sales to outside blockholders; insider transfers and mass privatization are estimated to have significantly smaller, although still positive, effects on firm performance.

Corporate control – A study of firms on the Bucharest Stock Exchange

This article analyzes the ownership structure of firms listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange (BSE) over the period 1998-2000. The history of the BSE is briefly described, showing its similarity to other post-socialist countries in terms of small size and low, liquidity of the market, and contrasting it with countries that have developed market economies. Measures of ownership concentration reveal that the BSE's concentrated ownership structure fits the pattern of continental Europe., with 70 percent of shares held by 5 percent or greater blockholders at the end of 2000. However, the major types of owners are very different from those found in industrialized countries. The Romanian government, through the State Ownership Fund, held blocks in 88 of 116 listed firms in 1998, which fell to 33 of 115 at the end of 2000, in both cases with a median share of over 50 percent. The nature of the Romanian privatization process also influenced the prevalence of other types of owners, with insiders holding blocks in 34 firms, with a 41 percent median, by the end of 2000. Foreigners held stakes in 75 firms, with a 17 percent median, while the remaining blocks were mostly in the hands of domestic firms.

Gross job flows in Russian industry before and after reform : has destruction become more creative ?

We analyze annual census data from 1985 to 1999 for old Russian manufacturing firms to calculate the magnitude, covariates, and productivity consequences of gross job flows before and after reforms. The job creation rate was low throughout the period but increased slightly after 1991, while job destruction, reallocation, excess reallocation, and employment growth dispersion rose markedly. The association of excess reallocation with firm size, wages, labor productivity, and capital intensity became clearly negative postreform. Job reallocation was unrelated to labor productivity growth under socialism, but recent contributions were strongly positive. Privatization and competition did not increase job flows, but they became associated with significantly higher covariance of employment growth with relative productivity, suggesting that they may have helped to focus job destruction in firms with the lowest productivity.

Information technology, organizational form, and transition to the market

The paper reviews theories of information technology adoption and organizational form and applies them to an empirical analysis of firm choices and characteristics in four transition economies: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. We argue that these economies have gone through two major structural changes-one concerning new technology and another concerning ownership and boundaries of firms-and we consider if and how each one of the two structural changes has affected the other. We test the impact of firm size, integration, and ownership on the extent of new information technology adoption (measured by growth in the fraction of employees using personal computers or computer-controlled machinery), and the impact of information technology on changes in the boundaries and the ownership structure of enterprises, drawing upon a sample survey of 330 firms.

The reallocation of workers and jobs in Russian industry – New evidence on measures and determinants

Gross job and worker flows in Russian industry are studied using panel data from a recent survey of 530 firms selected through national probability sampling. The data permit an examination of several important measurement issues-including the timing and definition of employment, the roles of split-ups and mergers, and the relative magnitudes of rehiring and new hiring and of quits and layoffs-and they contain a rich set of firm characteristics that may affect job and worker turnover. The results imply that job destruction and worker separation rates in industrial firms rose in the early 1990s, as did job flows as a fraction of worker flows and layoffs as a fraction of separations. By contrast, job creation and worker hiring rates were flat until 1999, the former low and the latter surprisingly high. Heterogeneity in individual firm behavior increased throughout. New firms and old enterprises that have been reorganized display much larger flows compared with unreorganized enterprises. Unions appear to reduce worker flows, but the structure of neither product nor labor markets shows a significant impact. Private ownership has ambiguous effects: insider ownership, particularly by managers, is associated with higher worker flows and excess job reallocation, while outsider ownership, particularly by blockholders, is associated with lower flow rates. A measure of adjustment costs constructed from the worktime necessary to hire and train a new employee is strongly related to variables usually associated with adjustment costs, including worker wage, education, firm size, capital intensity, and labor productivity, but only weakly to job and worker turnover. Little evidence is found that firms' employment adjustments have become more sensitive to adjustment costs during the transition, but worker and manager ownership are associated with more sensitivity than are other types of ownership.

A spoonful of sugar: privatization and popular support for reform in the Czech Republic

We analyze the role of privatization in creating a constituency for economic reform, markets, and democratic institutions, focusing on the Czech Republic. Drawing on a 1996 survey, we examine the 1459 respondents' opinions on reforms, economic policies and systems, the legitimacy of transition, and democratic values. Using ordered probit estimation, we find that receiving property through restitution is strongly associated with support for reform and markets. Concerning voucher privatization, we find positive effects for participants retaining shares, but little impact of participation alone. Our simulations suggest that policy designs have substantial consequences for citizens' support of reforms, markets, and democracy.

How late to pay? Understanding wage arrears in Russia

We organize an empirical analysis of Russian wage arrears around hypotheses concerning factors that create incentives for firms to pay late and for workers to tolerate late payment, both reinforced by a prevalent environment of overdue wages. Our analysis draws upon nationally representative household panel data matched with employer data to show substantial interfirm variation with the probability of arrears positively related to firm age, size, state ownership, and declining performance. Estimation of a constrained multinomial logit model also reveals intrafirm variation related to job tenure and small shareholdings in the firm. Workers tend to have higher arrears in rural regions with low hiring rates, concentrated labor markets, and more prevalent arrears in the past. We argue that wage arrears, unlike wage cuts, have a theoretically ambiguous effect on workers' quit behavior, and we show empirically that the effect varies negatively with the extent of the practice in the local labor market.

Privatization methods and productivity effects in Romanian industrial enterprises

Comprehensive panel data on privatization transactions and labor productivity in Romanian industrial corporations are used to describe the post-privatization ownership structure, and to estimate the effect of Romania's diverse privatization policies on firm performance. The econometric results show consistently positive, highly significant effects of private ownership on labor productivity growth, the point estimates implying an increased 1.0 to 1.7 percentage growth for a 10 percent rise in private shareholding. The strongest estimated impacts are associated with sales to outside blockholders; insider transfers and mass privatization are estimated to have significantly smaller-although still positive-effects on firm performance.

The reallocation of workers and jobs in Russian industry : new evidence on measures and determinants

Gross job and worker flows in Russian industry are studied using panel data from a recent survey of 530 firms selected through national probability sampling. The data permit an examination of several important measurement issues – including the timing and definition of employment, the roles of split-ups and mergers, and the relative magnitudes of rehiring and new hiring and of quits and layoffs – and they contain a rich set of firm characteristics that may affect job and worker turnover. The results imply that job destruction and worker separation rates in industrial firms rose in the early 1990s, as did job flows as a fraction of worker flows, and layoffs as a fraction of separations. By contrast, job creation and worker hiring rates were flat until 1999, the former low and the latter surprisingly high. Heterogeneity in individual firm behavior increased throughout. New firms and old enterprises that have been reorganized display much larger flows compared with unreorganized enterprises. Unions appear to reduce worker flows, but the structure of neither product nor labour markets shows a significant impact. Private ownership has ambiguous effects: insider ownership, particularly by managers, is associated with higher worker flows and excess job reallocation, while outsider ownership, particularly by blockholders, is associated with lower flow rates. A measure of adjustment costs constructed from the worktime necessary to hire and train a new employee is strongly related to variables usually associated with adjustment costs, including worker wage, education, firm size, capital intensity, and labour productivity, but only weakly to job and worker turnover. Little evidence is found that firms’ employment adjustments have become more sensitive to adjustment costs during the transition, but worker and manager ownership are associated with more sensitivity than are other types of ownership.

Job reallocation and productivity growth under alternative economic systems and policies : evidence from the Soviet transition

How do economic policies and institutions affect job reallocation processes and their consequences for productivity growth? This paper studies the extreme case of economic system change and alternative transitional policies in the former Soviet Republics of Russia and Ukraine. Exploiting annual industrial census data from 1985 to 2000, we find that Soviet Russia displayed job flow behavior quite different from market economies, with very low rates of job reallocation that bore little relationship to relative productivity across firms and sectors. Since liberalization began, the pace, heterogeneity, and productivity effects of job flows have increased substantially. The increases occurred more quickly in rapidly reforming Russia than in "gradualist" Ukraine, as did the estimated effects of privatization and competitive pressures from product and labor markets on excess job reallocation and on the productivity-enhancing effects of job flows.

Comment on "Corporate governance and restructuring: lessons from transition economies," by Gerard Roland

Comments on the Paper by G. Roland: Corporate Governance and Restructuring: The Limits of Our Knowledge

Berger MC, Earle JS, Sabirianova KZ. Worker training in a restructuring economy: Evidence from the Russian transition. In: ed Polachek SW, editor. Worker wellbeing in a changing labor market. London and New York: Elsevier Science JAI; 2001. p. 159-90.

Measuring defense conversion in Russian industry

This paper develops and implements a methodology for quantifying defense conversion in Russian manufacturing in the early 1990s. A two-sector, three-good model is employed to analyze the flows of resources from military to nonmilitary uses and applied to firm-level survey data under alternative definitions of military production and the MIC. An aggregation framework is constructed to estimate the total quantity and change in Russian military production, the latter decomposed into intrafirm and intersectoral resource reallocation and overall industrial decline. Although there is evidence of substantial decline in military production, the data show little reallocation to productive civilian uses, neither within the MIC nor to other manufacturing sectors.

Gross job flows in Russian industry before and after reform : has destruction become more creative ?

This Paper uses 1985-99 manufacturing census data for old Russian enterprises to calculate the magnitude and productivity effects of gross job flow rates before and after reforms. Job creation was low throughout the period in this sector, but increased slightly during the transition, while job destruction rose markedly. Heterogeneity in firm employment change also increased significantly. Intra- and inter-sectoral job reallocation had no effect on aggregate labour productivity during the socialist period, while they have made a strong positive contribution during the transition. Privatization and product market competition have not led to greater job destruction overall, but rather have helped to focus the destruction in the firms with the lowest productivity.

Privatization, competition and reform strategies : theory and evidence from Russian enterprise panel data

A critical, but largely unexamined assumption in the debate over reform policy design, concerns the complementarity or substitutability of market competition and private ownership in increasing firm efficiency. We analyse a simple Cournot model that distinguishes two aspects of privatization interacting with market opening: privatization of a firm and privatization of its competitors. Under plausible conditions, the model implies that privatizing a firm is a substitute for exposing it to competitive markets, but privatizing its competitors is complementary. Our empirical analysis uses augmented 3-factor translog production functions estimated on 1992-99 panel data for 13,288 Russian manufacturing enterprises. We find that nonstate ownership of a firm reduces the marginal efficiency impact from product market dispersion, but the share of its competitors that are nonstate increases this marginal impact. Disaggregating nonstate ownership, we find that the shares of competitors in all three nonstate types are complementary with dispersed market structure, where the strongest complementarity involves foreign ownership. The evidence suggests that an important indirect impact of private ownership may be the intensification of market competition, and thus that competition only among state-owned enterprises may be ineffectual in stimulating them to increase efficiency.

Business start-ups or disguised unemployment? Evidence on the character of self-employment from transition economies

We study the character of self-employment, drawing upon household survey evidence from six transition economies. Multinomial-logit analysis distinguishing employers from own-account self-employed and comparing both groups to employees and unemployed finds that own-account status is intermediate in most characteristics; tests reject the pooling of any of these categories. Selectivity-bias-corrected earnings premia are large for employers and smaller for own-account. A structural polychotomous model shows that employers respond strongly to predicted earnings premia in all countries, while the own-account response is estimated to be negative, supporting the interpretation that individuals may be pushed into own-account status by lack of work opportunities.

Post-privatization ownership structure and productivity in Russian industrial enterprises

This paper investigates the impact of ownership structure on the productivity performance of Russian industrial enterprises. The analysis compares the effects of several types of new private owners – insiders (managers and other employees) and outsiders (individual and institutional investors) – with continued ownership by the state, and it takes into account possible selection effects in the privatisation process that may bias the observed ownership-performance relationship. The results provide some evidence that ownership change in Russia was already having some positive effects, shortly after the conclusion of the voucher privatisation process, but that those effects were strongest in companies with concentrated outside owners. Because the design of the Russian privatisation programme appears to have been biased against such institutional investors, the latter finding only emerges after a careful analysis of the simultaneous determination of ownership and performance through the privatisation process.

Brown DJ, Earle JS. Competition and firm performance : lessons from Russia. Stockholm: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics and East European Economies; 2000.

Competition and firm performance : lessons from Russia

The 'big-bang' liberalization of the inefficient Russian economy in 1992 provides a fruitful setting for analysing the impact of several dimensions of market competition and other factors on enterprise efficiency. We analyse 1992-1998 panel data on 14,961 enterprises covering 75 percent of industrial employment, emphasizing the varied sources, geographic scope, intensity, time path, and survival effects of competitive pressures. We find large, positive effects on TFP from competition in domestic product and local labour markets, and from imports and better transportation infrastructure, although the first effect appears only gradually. Non-state firms outperform state enterprises, even after correction for selection bias.

Earle JS, Sabirianova KZ. Understanding wage arrears in Russia. Stockholm: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics and East European Economies; 1999.
Earle JS, Estrin S. Workers’ self-management in transitional economies. Advances in the economic analysis of participatory and labor-managed firms. 1998;6:3-28.
Earle JS, Telegdy. The results of "mass privatization" in Romania : a first empirical study. Stockholm: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics and East European Economies; 1998.
Earle JS. Industrial decline and labor reallocation in Romania. Stockholm: Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics and East European Economies; 1997.

After voucher privatization : the structure of corporate ownership in Russian manufacturing industry

This paper analyses the ownership structure emerging from the Russian privatization process, using information from a sample survey of 439 state and privately-owned manufacturing companies conducted in July 1994, just after the voucher programme was completed. The Russian ownership structure calls for a new approach to the analysis of corporate control because of the presence of multiple types of owners pursuing conflicting objectives and facing different constraints, and because of the weakness of other corporate governance mechanisms in the Russian economy. We distinguish four important categories of owners: the state, workers, managers, and outside investors (of which we consider several types). Our empirical results include new findings on the distribution of ownership across these categories, on the implications of alternative privatization methods for ownership structure, on the incidence of non-voting and voting shares, and on the extent of concentration of ownership within groups (with a particular focus on outside blockholders). As potential determinants of the ownership structure, we investigate measures of the size, complexity, capital intensity, and industrial relations of firms, the impact of regulation and other state actions, and the heterogeneity of the firm's productive activities and of its work-force. Finally, we examine the effects of ownership structure on enterprise performance, measured by labour productivity, several types of restructuring, and an overall index of restructuring activity. We find evidence of positive effects of private ownership on enterprise performance. The effects vary across types of private owners, however, with managerial and institutional investor ownership having the strongest and most robust impacts, the latter accounted for mostly by investment fund ownership, which has an impact estimated to be quite large in a number of specifications. Remarkably, the impact on performance of outsider blockholders appears to be strengthened in the instrumental variables (IV) estimates compared to the ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates, suggesting that the privatization process may have contained a negative selection bias with respect to ownership by outside investors.

Earle JS, Estrin S. Privatization versus competition: changing enterprise behavior in Russia. William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Stephen M. Ross Business School; 1997.
Earle JS, Estrin S, Leshchenko LL. Ownership structures, patterns of control and enterprise behavior in Russia. In: Commander S, Fan Q, Schaffer ME, editors. Enterprise restructuring and economic policy in Russia. Economic Development Institute (EDI) Development Studies. Washington, D.C.: World Bank; 1996. p. 205-52.
Earle JS, Estrin S. Employee ownership in transition. In: Frydman R, Gray CW, Rapaczynski A, editors. Corporate governance in Central Europe and Russia. Volume 2. Insiders and the state. Budapest: Central European University Press; distributed by Oxford University Press New York; 1996. p. 1-61.

Book review

This article reviews the book "Post-communist reform: Pain and progress" by Blanchard,O, Boycko,M, Dabrowksi,M, Dornbusch,R, Layard,R, Shleifer,A

Incidence and duration of unemployment in Romania

The paper highlights the main characteristics of registered unemployment in Romania using a large sample of microdata (11,504 individual observations). First, we examine the composition of the unemployment pool, as well as the elapsed unemployment duration along different dimensions. Second, we present some characteristics of experienced workers, whose narrow specific skills make them one of, if not the most, vulnerable categories in the unavoidable process of labour reallocation.

Ownership transformation, economic behavior, and political attitudes in Russia

Has the rapid ownership transformation in Russia had an impact on enterprise performance or on worker behavior and attitudes? This paper investigates this issue using data from a nationwide survey of Russian workers conducted in April 1995. We focus on the two primary types of ownership change in Russia: the privatization of existing state-owned enterprises, and the creation de novo of new, private organizations. Examining such firm behavior as restructuring of product lines, investment in new equipment, changes in internal organization, influences on decision-making, and labor market behavior, we find large and significant differences between privatized and state-owned enterprises, and between new private and all old organizations, controlling for other firm characteristics. Differences in the labor market behavior and attitudes of workers are significant when comparing new and old firms, but less so when comparing privatized to state enterprises. Finally, we analyze the relationship between the ownership of the firm in which an individual works and her or his political attitudes and voting intentions, finding that employees of privatized companies tend to be the most anti-reform group while those in new private firms are the most pro-reform.