[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Privatization promotes economic efficiency and growth, thereby reinforcing macroeconomic adjustment. In the short run, however, it can lead to job losses and wage cuts for workers. This paper discusses these adverse impacts of privatization in terms of various methods of privatization and surveys the existing empirical evidence. It finds that public sales and auctions can have stronger negative effects on workers but maximize the government's revenue. Policymakers' options for mitigating the social impact of privatization are surveyed. Copyright 2001 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd
Journal of Economic Surveys 02/2013; · 1.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Labor markets are increasingly global. Overseas work can enrich households but also split them geographically, with ambiguous net effects on decisions about work, investment, and education. These net effects, and their mechanisms, are poorly understood. We study a policy discontinuity in the Philippines that resulted in quasi-random assignment of temporary, partial-household migration to high-wage jobs in Korea. This allows unusually reliable measurement of the reduced-form effect of these overseas jobs on migrant households. A purpose-built survey allows nonexperimental tests of different theoretical mechanisms for the reduced-form effect. We also explore how reliably the reduced-form effect could be measured with standard observational estimators. We find large effects on spending, borrowing, and human capital investment, but no effects on saving or entrepreneurship. Remittances appear to overwhelm household splitting as a causal mechanism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thousands of Moldovans emigrated for work abroad over the last few years following nearly a decade of economic stagnation in their home country. At about 30 percent of the labor force, Moldova's emigrant population is in relative terms among the largest in the world. This study uses a unique household survey to examine the impact of emigration on wages in Moldova. The authors find a positive and significant impact of emigration on wages and the result is robust to the use of alternative samples and specifications. The size of the emigration coefficient varies depending on the sample and model specification, but the baseline result suggests that, on average, a 10 percent increase in the emigration rate is associated with 3.2 percent increase in wages. At the same time, there is evidence of significant differences across economic sectors in the estimated effect of emigration on wages. The authors speculate and provide some evidence that offsetting changes in labor demand, as revealed by information on employment growth by sector, may help explain some of the heterogeneity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Household credit, especially for mortgages, has doubled over the past years in the new European Union member countries, raising concerns about the economic and social consequences of household indebtedness in the event of a macroeconomic crisis. Using household survey data for 2005, 2006, and 2007 for both old and new European Union members, this paper assesses the determinants of access to mortgage finance. It also examines whether mortgage holders were more likely to suffer financial distress compared with non-mortgage holders in the period before the global financial crisis. The analysis does not find any systematic evidence that mortgage holders are financially more vulnerable than renters or outright owners; in fact, the incidence of financial vulnerability generally fell between 2005 and 2007, possibly reflecting the strong income growth experienced by these countries over this period. In addition, although tenure status is more difficult to explain in the new European Union member countries, the analysis finds that many of the same drivers of tenure status in the older member countries generally drive tenure status in the newer member countries as well. Finally, there is no evidence that access to mortgage credit is based on expected income in the old or in the new European Union member countries.
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), IZA Discussion Papers. 01/2010;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cross-country enterprise surveys have recently become widely available. They are the basis of rankings of dimensions of the business environment in emerging markets and developing economies. Although the literature is concerned about “perception bias”, there has been little effort at analyzing whether subjective appraisals of credit market constraints correspond to objectively measurable indicators. This note assesses a predominantly used subjective measure of “access to finance” and relates it to indicators of financial development and credit availability and costs. It finds a significant relationship between subjective and objective indexes of financing constraint but the relationship varies substantially across indicators.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The crisis threatens the welfare of about 160 million people in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region who are poor or are just above the poverty line. Using pre-crisis household data along with aggregate macroeconomic outturns to simulate the impact of the crisis on households—transmitted via credit market shocks, price shocks, and income shocks—this report finds that adverse effects are widespread and that poor and non-poor households alike are vulnerable. By 2010, for the region as a whole, some 11 million more people will likely be in poverty and over 23 million more people will find themselves just above the poverty line because of the crisis.The aggregate results mask the heterogeneity of impact within countries, including the concentration of the poverty impact in selected economic sectors. Meanwhile, stress tests on household indebtedness in selected countries suggest that ongoing macroeconomic shocks will expand the pool of households unable to service their debt, many of them from among the ranks of relatively richer households. In fact, already there are rising household loan delinquency rates. Finally, there is evidence that the food and fuel crisis is not over and a new round of price increases, via currency adjustments, will have substantial effects on net consumers. Lessons from last year's food crisis suggest that the poor are the worst hit, as many of the poor in Albania, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan, for example, are net food consumers, with limited access to agricultural assets and inputs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper uses several waves of the General Social Survey (GSS) including data for up to about 32,000 individuals to estimate the effect of a variety of health conditions on happiness. We show that healthy people are in general happier than individuals with poor health, controlling for a number of personal and household characteristics. On the basis of the regression results, we computed the monetary value of good health, suggesting that relatively large sums of money would be required to compensate individuals for the loss in happiness associated with poor health. Finally, we show that people become unhappy when the health status of their loved ones deteriorates. In particular, the compensating value associated with a spouse's poor health can be very large, thus pointing to some altruism in the relationship between health status and happiness. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is routinely assumed that residents of post-socialist countries have a preference for greater income equality, other things being equal, owing to the legacy of socialism. This proposition is examined in the context of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union (FSU) using three waves of the World Values Survey. Contrary to expectations, there is little evidence of a ‘socialist legacy’ en bloc. Countries in the FSU as a group display significantly lower preference for moving towards greater income equality than Eastern Europe. Moreover, this preference for greater income inequality appears to have persisted at least since the mid-1990s. Comparative Economic Studies (2009) 51, 344–366. doi:10.1057/ces.2009.4; published online 21 May 2009
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is routinely assumed that residents of post-socialist countries have a preference for greater income equality, other things being equal, owing to the legacy of socialism. This proposition is examined in the context of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union using data from three waves of the World Values Survey. Contrary to expectations, the authors find little evidence of a'socialist legacy'en bloc. Considering the former Soviet Union separately from other post-socialist countries, the analysis finds that as a group these countries display significantly lower preference for moving toward greater income equality than both Eastern Europe and other comparator groups (developed and developing countries). These findings hold up even when controlling for the conventional determinants of attitudes such as income level and employment status of the individual respondent, as well as national factors such as per-capita income and its distribution. Moreover, the preference for greater income inequality appears to have persisted at least since the mid-1990s and possibly since the early 1990s (data difficulties preclude a robust examination of this latter question). The results are consistent with the fairly low levels of public spending on redistribution commonly found in the former Soviet Union.
The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series. 01/2008;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper takes stock of labor market developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina over the period 2001-2004, using the panel Living Standards Measurement Study/Living in Bosnia and Herzegovina survey. The analysis estimates a multinomial logit model of labor market transitions by state of origin (employment, unemployment, and inactivity) following the specification of widely used models of transition probabilities, and analyzes the impact of standard covariates. The results provide strong evidence that there are indeed significant differences in labor market transitions by gender, age, education, and geographic location. Using the panel structure of the multi-topic survey data, the authors find that these transitions are related to welfare dynamics, with welfare levels evolving differently for various groups depending on their labor market trajectories. The findings show that current labor market trends reflecting women's movement out of labor markets and laid-off male workers accepting informal sector jobs characterized by low productivity will lead to adverse social outcomes. These outcomes could be averted if the planned enterprise reform program creates a more favorable business environment and leads to faster restructuring and growth of firms.
The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series. 01/2008;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper studies a sample of economies in transition to verify the assertion that returns to schooling increase as an economy transitions to a market environment. This claim has been difficult to assess in the past as the empirical evidence so far has covered only a few countries over short time periods. A number of studies find that returns to education increased from the “pre-transition” period to the “early transition” period; it is not clear what has happened to the skills premium through the late 1990s, or the period thereafter. We implement a more systematic analysis using data comparable across countries and over time to estimate returns to schooling in eight transition economies (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Russia, Slovak Republic and Slovenia). The analysis covers the early transition period up to 2002; in the case of Hungary, we capture the transition process more fully, beginning in the late 1980s. Compared to the existing literature, we also implement more comprehensive robustness checks on the estimated returns, although at best we offer only an incomplete solution to the problem of endogeneity. We find that the evidence of a rising trend in returns to schooling over the transition period is weak. There are, however, significant differences in returns across countries. These differentials have remained roughly constant over the last 15 years. We speculate on the likely institutional and structural factors underpinning these results.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relatively little is known about youth unemployment and its lasting consequences in transition economies, despite the difficult labor market adjustment experienced by these countries over the past decade. The authors examine early unemployment spells and their longer-term effects among the youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where the labor market transition is made more difficult by the challenges of a post-conflict environment. They use panel data covering up to 4,800 working-age individuals over the 2001 to 2004 period. There are three main findings from their analysis. First, youth unemployment is high-about twice the national average-consistent with recent findings from the BiH labor market study. Younger workers are more likely to go into inactivity or unemployment and are also less likely to transition out of inactivity, holding other things constant. Second, initial spells of unemployment or joblessness appear to have lasting adverse effects on earnings and employment ("scarring"). But there is no evidence that the youth are at a greater risk of scarring, or suffer disproportionately worse outcomes from initial joblessness, compared with other age groups. Third, higher educational attainment is generally associated with more favorable labor market outcomes. Skilled workers are less likely to be jobless and are less likely to transition from employment into joblessness. But there is evidence that the penalty from jobless spells may also be higher for more educated workers. The authors speculate that this may be due in part to signaling or stigma, consistent with previous findings in the literature.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Public spending has effects on growth and distribution that are complex to trace and difficult to quantify. But the composition of public expenditure has become the key instrument by which development agencies seek to promote economic development. In recent years, the development assistance to heavily indebted poor countries has been made conditional on increased expenditure on categories that are thought to be “pro-poor”. This paper investigates the conceptual foundations and the empirical basis for the belief that poverty can be reduced through targeted public spending. While it is widely accepted that growth and redistribution are important sources of reduction in absolute poverty, a review of the literature confirms the lack of an appropriate theoretical framework for assessing the impact of public spending on growth as well as poverty. The dangers of policy decisions that are not well grounded in theory and supported by empirical evidence are indicated. With regard to the impact of any given type of public spending, policy recommendations must be tailored to countries and be based on empirical analysis that takes account of the lags and leads in their effects on equity and growth and ultimately on poverty. The paper sketches out such a framework and provides some evidence as the first step in what will have to be a longer-term research agenda to provide theoretically and empirically robust and verifiable guidance to public spending policy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper revisits the early empirical literature on economic growth in transition economies, with particular focus on fiscal policy variables-fiscal balance and the size of government. The baseline model uses a parsimonious specification, drawn from Fischer and Sahay (2000), of economic growth as a function of initial conditions, stabilization, liberalization, and structural reform. The paper expands the data used in previous analyses by up to 10 years and finds unambiguous evidence that fiscal balance matters for growth, while confirming other previous findings on the correlates of economic growth in transition economies. In addition, the paper extends the baseline model and explores potential sources of nonlinearities in the relationship between growth and public finance. A key finding is that determinants of growth may vary in relative importance, depending on the underlying institutional quality. The evidence indicates that there could be higher growth payoffs from macroeconomic stability and public expenditure in countries characterized by relatively better public sector governance as measured by relevant indicators. In addition, the size of government matters for growth in a nonlinear manner: Beyond indicative thresholds of expenditure levels, public spending has a negative impact, while at levels below the threshold, there is no measurable impact on economic growth.
The World Bank, Policy Research Working Paper Series. 01/2007;
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In January 2006, the price of natural gas supplied to Moldova increased from $80 to $110 per thousand cubic meters. Prices may increase further in the near future, putting additional pressure on the economy and leading to adverse effects on the poorest households. This study examines the potential impact of higher energy prices on the economy of Moldova by simulating the likely macroeconomic consequences of recent and future price increases. Moreover, it estimates the direct impact on individual households using data drawn from the 2004 Household Budget Survey. It assesses the distributional implications of the price shock, noting how the social impact may vary depending on the intensity of energy use, geographic location, and the relative share of energy in household expenditure. The results suggest that energy price changes could dampen economic growth while putting additional strains on the current account deficit. The impact on the poorest households could be significant and protecting them may require resources in the amount of 0.7 to 1.7 percent of gross domestic product. This study identifies possible policy responses to dampen the shock of energy price increases and to promote the longer-term objective of reducing energy vulnerability.
Problems of Economic Transition 01/2007; 49(10):5-40.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In January 2006 the price of natural gas supplied to Moldova increased from $80 to $110 per thousand cubic meters (mcm). Prices may increase further in the near future, putting additional pressure on the economy and leading to adverse effects on the poorest households. This study examines the potential impact of higher energy prices on the economy of Moldova by simulating the likely macroeconomic consequences of recent and future price increases. Moreover, it estimates the direct impact on individual households using data drawn from the 2004 Household Budget Survey. It assesses the distributional implications of the price shock, noting how the social impact may vary depending on the intensity of energy use, geographic location, and the relative share of energy in household expenditure. The results suggest that energy price changes could dampen economic growth while putting additional strains on the current account deficit. The impact on the poorest households could be significant and protecting them may require resources in the amount of 0.7 to 1.7 percent of GDP. This study identifies possible policy responses to dampen the shock of the energy price increase and to promote the longer-term objective of reducing energy vulnerability.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 1 In 1999, a number of modifications were made to the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, to strengthen the links between debt relief, social policies and poverty reduction. In 2000, under the auspices of the United Nations, the international community reached broad agreement on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including explicit targets for poverty reduction. Meanwhile, among developing countries, there has been emphasis on producing country-driven Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) to provide the policy framework for achieving economic growth and poverty reduction, as well as for coordinating donor efforts. Together, these initiatives have led to increased efforts to identify specific policies and programs for effectively reducing poverty. Over the last five years donors have required governments to identify and increase the share of "pro-poor" expenditure in the context of the enhanced HIPC Initiative and PRSP implementation. A review of experiences with pro-poor budgeting in countries that have reached the Decision Point of the Enhanced HIPC Initiative suggests that education and health care are consistently classified as "poverty-reducing" (Figure 1). In contrast, the classification of other expenditure components (such as agricultural development and infrastructure) as "poverty-reducing" varies from country to country. ————— *
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The paper examines the cyclical properties of food aid with respect to food availability in recipient countries, with a view to assessing its impact on consumption in some 150 developing countries and transition economies, covering 1970 to 2000. The results show that global food aid has been allocated to countries most in need. Food aid has also been countercyclical within countries with the greatest need. However, for most countries, food aid is not countercyclical. The amount of food aid provided is also insufficient to mitigate contemporaneous shortfalls in consumption. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.
Review of Development Economics 02/2004; 8(3):379-390. · 0.69 Impact Factor