'Mass Privatisation and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis': Is There Really a Relationship?

Upjohn Institute Working Paper 10-162

25 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2010 Last revised: 12 Feb 2010

See all articles by John S. Earle

John S. Earle

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Scott Gehlbach

University of Chicago

Date Written: February 9, 2010

Abstract

We reexamine the well-publicized claim that "rapid mass privatisation [of state-owned enterprises]... was a crucial determinant of differences in adult mortality trends in postcommunist countries" (Stuckler, King and McKee, 2009). Our analysis shows that the estimated correlation of privatization and mortality in country-level data is not robust to recomputing the mass-privatization measure, to assuming a short lag for economic policies to affect mortality, and to controlling for country-specific mortality trends. Further, in an analysis of the determinants of mortality in Russian regions, we find no evidence that privatization increased mortality during the early 1990s. Finally, we reanalyze the relationship between privatization and unemployment in postcommunist countries, showing that there is little support for the proposed mechanism by which privatization might have increased mortality.

Keywords: privatization, mortality, health, shock therapy, unemployment, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union, Lancet

JEL Classification: I18, L33, P2, P31, O57

Suggested Citation

Earle, John S. and Gehlbach, Scott, 'Mass Privatisation and the Post-Communist Mortality Crisis': Is There Really a Relationship? (February 9, 2010). Upjohn Institute Working Paper 10-162, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1550306 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1550306

John S. Earle (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Schar School of Policy and Government ( email )

3351 Fairfax Drive
MS 3B1
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8023 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://earle.gmu.edu

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Scott Gehlbach

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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