Publication Date



Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 06-127

**Published Version**

In Comparative Economic Studies 48(3): 435-457 (2006).




This paper looks behind the standard, publicly available labor force statistics relied upon in most studies of transition economy labor markets. We analyze microdata on detailed labor force survey responses in Russia, Romania, and Estonia to measure nonstandard, boundary forms and alternative definitions of employment and unemployment. Our calculations show that measured rates are quite sensitive to definition, particularly in the treatment of household production (subsistence agriculture), unpaid family helpers, and discouraged workers, while the categories of part-time work and other forms of marginal attachment are still relatively unimportant. We find that tweaking the official definitions in apparently minor ways can produce alternative employment rates that are sharply higher in Russia but much lower in Romania and slightly lower in Estonia, and alternative unemployment rates that are sharply higher in Romania and moderately higher in Estonia and Russia.

Issue Date

Revised February 2006; Revised June 2006


Supported by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development's SEGIR EP Contract No. PCE-1-00-00-00014-00. reference Russia, task order no. 803, "Improvement of Economic Policy Through Think Tank Partnership Project."

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Employment relationships; Nonstandard work arrangements; INTERNATIONAL ISSUES; International labor comparisons; Transition economies


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Brown, J. David, John S. Earle, Vladimir Gimpelson, Rostislav Kapeliushnikov, et al. 2006. "Nonstandard Forms and Measures of Employment and Unemployment in Transition: A Comparative Study of Estonia, Romania, and Russia." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 06-127. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.