Research Topics

Publications on Transitional economies

There are 5 publications for Transitional economies.
  • Gender Dimensions of Inequality in the Countries of Central Asia, South Caucasus, and Western CIS


    Working Paper No. 858 | January 2016

    The collapse of the Soviet Union initiated an unprecedented social and economic transformation of the successor countries and altered the gender balance in a region that counted gender equality as one of the key legacies of its socialist past. The transition experience of the region has amply demonstrated that the changes in the gender balance triggered by economic shifts are far from obvious, and that economic expansion and women’s economic empowerment do not always go hand in hand. Therefore, active measures to enhance women’s economic empowerment should be of central concern to the policy dialogue aimed at poverty and inequality reduction and inclusive growth. In this paper, we establish the current state of various dimensions of gender inequalities and their past dynamics in the countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia), and Western CIS (Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine), and propose steps aimed at reducing those inequalities in the context of inclusive growth, decent job creation, and economic empowerment.

  • Evaluating the Gender Wage Gap in Georgia, 2004–2011


    Working Paper No. 768 | July 2013

    This paper evaluates the gender wage gap among wage workers along the wage distribution in Georgia between 2004 and 2011, based on the recentered influence function (RIF) decomposition approach developed in Firpo, Fortin, and Lemieux (2009). We find that the gender wage gap decreases along the wage distribution, from 0.64 log points to 0.54 log points. Endowment differences explain between 22 percent and 61 percent of the observed gender wage gap, with the explained proportion declining as we move to the top of the distribution. The primary contributors are the differences in the work hours, industrial composition, and employment in the state sector. A substantial portion of the gap, however, remains unexplained, and can be attributed to the differences in returns, especially in the industrial premia.

    The gender wage gap consistently declined between 2004 and 2011. However, the gap remains large, with women earning 45 percent less than men in 2011. The reduction in the gender wage gap between 2004 and 2007, and the switch from a glass-ceiling shape for the gender gap distribution to a sticky-floor shape, was driven by the rising returns in the state sector for men at the bottom, and by women at the top of the wage distribution. Between 2009 and 2011, the decline in the gender wage gap can be explained by the decrease in men’s working hours, which was larger than the decrease in women’s working hours. We assess the robustness of our findings using the statistical matching decomposition method developed in Ñopo (2008) in order to address the possibility that the high degree of industrial segregation may bias our results. The Ñopo decomposition results enrich our understanding of the factors that underlie the gender wage gap but do not alter our key findings, and in fact support their robustness.

    This paper is part of the World Bank's gender assessment program in the South Caucasus.

  • The Economic Crisis of 2008 and the Added Worker Effect in Transition Countries


    Working Paper No. 765 | May 2013
    Following the financial crisis of 2008, transition countries—the economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union—experienced an increase in female labor force participation rates and a decrease in male labor force participation rates, in part because male-dominated sectors were hit the hardest. These developments have prompted many to argue that women have been spared the full-blown effects of the crisis. In this paper, we critically evaluate this claim by investigating the extent to which the increase in the female labor force participation rate may have reflected a distress labor supply response to the crisis. We use the data on the 28 countries of the transition region assessed in the 2010 Life in Transition Survey. We find the presence of the female added worker effect, driven by married 45- to 54-year-old women with no children in the household. This effect is the strongest among the region’s middle-income countries. Among men, a negative relationship between labor force participation and household-specific income shocks is indicated.

    Unlike the differences in the response to household-specific income shocks, the labor supply response to a weaker macroeconomic environment is negative for both men and women—hinting at the presence of the “discouraged worker” effect, which cuts across gender lines. We conclude that the decrease in men’s labor force participation observed during this crisis is likely a combined result of the initial sectoral contraction and the subsequent impact of the discouraged worker effect. For women, on the other hand, the added worker effect appears to outweigh the discouraged worker effect, contributing to an increase in their labor force participation rate. Our findings highlight the presence of heterogeneity in the way in which household-specific shocks, as opposed to economy-wide conditions, affect both female and male labor force participation rates.

  • Assessing the Returns to Education in Georgia


    Working Paper No. 608 | August 2010
    The economic returns to education in transition countries have been extensively evaluated in the literature. The present study contributes to this literature by estimating the returns to education in Georgia during the last transition period 2000–04. We find very low returns to education in Georgia and little evidence of an increasing trend in the returns. This picture contrasts with somewhat higher rates of return to education in the mid-1990s in Georgia and the recent estimates from other transition countries. A further analysis of the shifts in the supply and demand for education sheds light on possible causes. In particular, on the supply side, the decline in the quality of education in the 1990s has negated the improvements in the provision of skills needed by market economies during this period. On the demand side, the expansion of the Georgian economy has taken place in the direction of fields such as public administration and education that employ a highly educated workforce but do not remunerate well. Yet it would be a mistake to conclude that education is not a valuable asset in Georgia. The role of education is largely manifested in its impact on the employability of individuals, an issue that has been overlooked in the transition literature. Once this impact is taken into account, education is shown to play an increasingly important role in influencing the earnings of the working population in Georgia. The paper uses the ordinary least squares approach, instrumental variables approach, and sample selection correction, taking into account conditional and unconditional marginal effects of education on earnings.

  • Explaining the Gender Wage Gap in Georgia


    Working Paper No. 577 | September 2009

    This paper evaluates gender wage differentials in Georgia between 2000 and 2004. Using ordinary least squares, we find that the gender wage gap in Georgia is substantially higher than in other transition countries. Correcting for sample selection bias using the Heckman approach further increases the gender wage gap. The Blinder Oaxaca decomposition results suggest that most of the wage gap remains unexplained. The explained portion of the gap is almost entirely attributed to industrial variables. We find that the gender wage gap in Georgia diminished between 2000 and 2004.

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