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This paper reanalyzes and ultimately rejects the recent, well-publicized claim that "rapid mass privatisation [of state-owned enterprises]…was a crucial determinant of differences in adult mortality trends in post-communist countries."


The CEU Labor Project conducts academic and policy-relevant research on labor markets and other applied microeconomic issues in Central and Eastern Europe. The Project's research agenda is motivated both by a desire to contribute useful analyses of transition economies to the broader scientific literature and by policy concerns and intellectual curiosity about the peculiarities of the transition economies themselves. The research brings together the tools of modern labor economics, microeconomic theory, and econometrics with issues related to the causes of structural and institutional change and the consequences of restructuring for firms and workers. Specific topics have included the following:

  • Foreign-domestic and public-private wage differentials
  • Foreign and state ownership and worker earnings
  • Unemployment duration of displaced workers
  • Public-private sector wage spillovers
  • Wage inequality
  • Effects of privatization on firm performance, employment, and wages
  • Political economy of privatization
  • Industry dynamics and effects on within-firm and aggregate productivity
  • Entrepreneurship: determinants of new firm entry and growth
  • Adjustment costs and labor demand
  • Poverty, social insurance and income support policies

Labor Project studies have resulted in publications in scholarly journals, collected volumes, and other outlets. Among the refereed journals that have published papers based on Labor Project research are the following:

  • American Political Science Review
  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Economic Journal
  • Journal of Comparative Economics
  • Journal of Labor Economics
  • Journal of Political Economy
  • Atlantic Economic Review
  • Economics of Transition
  • Labour Economics
  • Empirical Economics
  • European Economic Review
  • Economics and Politics
  • Research in Labor Economics
  • Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
  • Corporate Governance: An International Journal
  • Comparative Economic Studies
  • Eastern European Economics
  • Review of Economics and Statistics
  • The Lancet
Papers have also appeared in edited collections with the following publishers:
  • Cambridge University Press
  • National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
  • CEU Press
  • Economic Development Institute of the World Bank
  • Kluwer Academic Press
  • Oxford University Press
  • Pinter Publishers
  • St. Martin's Press

Policy Reports have been taken the form of reports to international organizations (EU, OECD, and World Bank), memoranda to government officials (Prime Minister of Mongolia, Romanian Ministries of Reform and Labor). In addition, there have been local publications in most East European countries. The studies have been presented to international conferences throughout Europe and in the U.S. and they are regularly cited in such outlets as the Economist, the EBRD Transition Report and the World Bank World Development Report. For more information on recent research activities, click on Recent Papers.

Funding for research projects has been received from the following organizations:
  • European Commission's Phare ACE,
  • Tacis ACE,
  • Sixth Framework Program,
  • MacArthur Foundation,
  • National Council for Soviet and East European Research,
  • Swiss National Science Foundation,
  • Ruben Rausing Fund,
  • Canadian Employment Research Fund.
Policy-oriented research has been funded by the OECD, the World Bank, and USAID.

The Labor Project has been active at the Central European University since 1994, involving faculty members and students of the CEU Department of Economics as well as researchers from other universities. Participation of researchers from nine countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has facilitated comparative investigation of the effects of different policy choices and the consequences of different institutional legacies across countries. For more information on Labor Project participants, click on Staff.

The Labor Project is closely linked to the CEU Economics Department. For several years, the Project provided the primary source for students to obtain research materials, and many students still rely upon the Project for official, macroeconomic data, published and unpublished studies of transition economies, and microeconomic databases on firms and households. Project resources are also regularly exploited in courses at the CEU and summer schools, and they have been used at Stanford University and the Stockholm School of Economics as well. For more information on educational activities, click on Teaching.

COST Network: Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data: Industry Dynamics, Firm Performance, and Worker Outcomes

The objective of this new network is to enhance international collaboration on cross-country comparative research using improved data and studying the firm-level sources of economic growth and the consequences of the growth process for workers. Based primarily in Europe, the network includes scholars working on enterprise data and representation of national statistical agencies supplying the data.  The network is funded from February 2008 to May 2012 by the COST Programme of the European Science Foundation, and the CEU Labor Project is the lead proposing and coordinating organization. For more information, visit our local COST website.

CAED 2008 Conference 

The CEU Labor Project was the local organizer of the CAED 2008 International Conference on Comparative Analysis of Enterprise Data. Major support for the conference came from the COST Programme of the European Science Foundation.  Other sponsors included the CEU Economics Department, Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, Hungarian National Bank, Institute for Labor Research (IAB), Hungarian Competition Authority, U.S. Census Bureau, and OECD.  For more information about the conference and CAED, visit our local CAED website.

The conference also inaugurated a new international network funded by a four-year grant from COST-ESF in response to a proposal from the CEU Labor Project. 

Budapest panorama

CEU Labor Project
1051 Budapest
Nádor utca 11.
Office 415.