September 2008

IZA DP No. 3688: Employment and Wage Effects of Privatization: Evidence from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine

published in: Economic Journal, 2010, 120(545), 683-708

We use longitudinal methods and universal panel data on 30,000 initially state-owned manufacturing firms in four transition economies to estimate the impacts of privatization on employment and wages. The results in all four countries consistently reject job losses and they never imply large wage cuts from privatization to either foreign or domestic owners. The domestic privatization estimates are close to zero for employment, while for wages they are negative but small in magnitude; estimated foreign privatization effects are nearly always positive and sometimes large for both outcome variables. We find that the negligible consequences of domestic privatization 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 of foreign ownership results from a substantial scale-expansion effect that dominates the productivity-improvement effect, and the positive wage outcome from productivity improvement dominating the cost-reduction effect.