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Title:Public Employment and Redistributive Politics: Evidence from Russia?s Regions PDF Logo
Authors:Gimpelson, Vladimir
Treisman, Daniel
Monusova, Galina
Issue Date:2000
Series/Report no.:IZA Discussion paper series 161
Abstract:Public employment grew surprisingly fast in Russia during the 1990s, at a time when total employment was falling. Most of this growth occurred in the country?s 89 regions, and rates varied among them. This paper seeks to explain this variation. Using panel data for 78 regions over 1992-1998 we test several hypotheses. We show that the increase in the share of public employment in total employment has been greatest where unemployment was highest and growing the fastest, in ethnically defined territorial units, and in regions which received larger federal transfers and loans. Regional governors appear to use public employment for several purposes: as a kind of economic insurance to cushion the population against unemployment; as a way of buying votes before elections; and, possibly, as a way of redistributing to minority ethnic groups. Their willingness to use it for any of these is conditioned by the level of federal financial aid they can attract. The paradoxical growth of public employment in Russia appears less a result of ignorant or irresolute central management than a perverse outgrowth of the competitive game of federal politics, in which regional governors use public sector workers as ?hostages? to extract transfers.
Subjects:Redistribution
regional governments
unemployment
transfers
wages
wage arrears
Russia
transition
JEL:H11
H51
P62
H52
H72
H77
J45
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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