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Abstract:

CEP Discussion Paper
How Much Unemployment is Needed for Restructuring?: The Russian Experience
Richard Layard and Ansgar Richter
April 1995
Paper No' CEPDP0238:

Open unemployment in Russia has been growing very slowly - by only about 1 percentage point a year. This is mainly because of a degree of wage flexibility unknown in the West. Comparing industries over a two year period we find that, if relative employment fell by 10%, relative wages fell by 24%. Redundancies have been very low - only 1.5% of the work force in 1993. There has, however been a substantial redeployment of labour job to job movement - with a hiring rate of 21% of the workforce in 1993. The paper then discusses the reasons for this wage flexibility - in terms of the unemployment aversion of workers and the financial and other incentives facing managers. Finally, it appraises the 'Russian way' and argues that it is better than having large-scale open unemployment, provided the under-employed workers kept in enterprises do not impede the internal restructuring of the enterprises.