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CEP discussion paper

Tenures that Shook the World: Worker Turnover in Russia, Poland and Britain


We study worker turnover in a transition economy to investigate to what extent the length of time a worker has been employed by a firm shapes the turnover process. Using data from the Polish Labour Force Survey and The Russian Longitudinal Monitor Survey we compare the pattern of turnover with a Western economy, Britain. We show tenure profiles are higher and flatter in Russia and steeper and lower in Poland than in Britain. The characteristics of workers hired in the state and private sectors do not look very different. State and private sector firms in Poland offer the same wages to new recruits, but new private sector jobs in Russia appear to offer wage premia relative to new state jobs. We argue that these observations are consistent with a framework where the value of seniority in jobs begun under the old order may be small and the value of a continued job match unsure, offset, in Poland at least, by insider resistance to layoffs.


H Lehmann and Jonathan Wadsworth

June 2000     Paper Number CEPDP0459

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