nep-cis New Economics Papers
on Confederation of Independent States
Issue of 2009‒04‒25
three papers chosen by
Anna Y. Borodina
Perm State University

  1. Health Effects of Occupational Change By Olga Lazareva
  2. Remain Silent and Ye Shall Suffer: Seller Exploitation of Reticent Buyers in an Experimental Reputation System By Steven Nafziger
  3. Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia By Enikolopov, Ruben; Petrova, Maria; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina

  1. By: Olga Lazareva (Stockholm School of Economics and Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR), Moscow)
    Abstract: Rapidly changing technologies and the growing openness of economies to international trade sometimes make entire occupations in the countries affected redundant. People employed in these occupations have to switch to other occupations that they do not necessarily like. Such “forced” occupational change causes stress, which can be harmful to their health. The effect of people losing their profession on their health has not been previously studied. This paper is intended to fill the gap. I study the effect of occupational change on health and health-related behavior using data from Russia’s economic transition, which was characterized by massive occupational mobility. The results show that “forced” occupational change has a significant negative effect on individual health; it also increases smoking and alcohol consumption. These results survive a number of robustness checks.
    Keywords: occupational change, health, smoking, alcohol
    JEL: J62 J24 I10
    Date: 2009–04
  2. By: Steven Nafziger (Williams College)
    Abstract: The emancipation of the serfs is often viewed as watershed moment in 19th-century Russian history. However, this reform was accompanied by numerous others measures aimed at modernizing the Tsarist economy and society. Among these “Great Reforms” was the creation of a new institution of local government - the zemstvo – which has received comparatively little attention from economic historians. This quasi-democratic form of local government played a large role in expanding the provision of public goods and services in the half century leading up to the Russian Revolution. In this paper, I draw on newly collected data from several years of spending and revenue decisions by district zemstva. These data are matched to information on local socio-economic conditions to produce one of the first (panel) datasets with broad geographic coverage on any topic in Russian economic history. I use this dataset to investigate how population characteristics, local economic conditions, and mandated peasant representation in the zemstva influenced funding decisions over public goods. Through their representation in this local political institution, were peasants able to voice their preferences over spending levels and funding for specific initiatives? I find that district zemstvo with greater political representation from the peasantry spent more per capita, especially on education. This study initiates a broader research agenda into the zemstvo’s place in Russian economic history and contributes to the literature on the political economy of public good provision in developing societies.
    Keywords: Russia, economic history, political economy, local government
    JEL: D7 H1 H4 H7 N4 O23
    Date: 2008–11
  3. By: Enikolopov, Ruben; Petrova, Maria; Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina
    Abstract: How do media affect voting behavior? What difference can an independent media outlet make in a country with state-controlled media? Our paper addresses these questions by comparing electoral outcomes and votes reported by survey respondents during the 1999 parliamentary elections in Russia for those geographical areas that had access and those that had no access to the only national TV channel independent from the government ("NTV"). The effect is identified from exogenous variation in the availability of the signal, which appears to be mostly idiosyncratic, conditional on controls. The findings are as follows. 1) The presence of the independent TV channel decreased the aggregate vote for the government party by 2.5 percentage points and increased the combined vote for major opposition parties by 2.1 percentage points. 2) The probability of voting for opposition parties increased for individuals who watched NTV even controlling for voting intentions measured one month prior to the elections. 3) NTV had a smaller effect on votes of people with higher political knowledge and those using alternative sources of political news and a larger effect on retired persons who watch TV substantially more than working individuals.
    Keywords: Media; NTV; Political Persuasion; Russia
    JEL: D0 H0 J0
    Date: 2009–04

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