Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center


One of the main BEROC goals is generating and spreading of new academic and policy knowledge on problems, tendencies and development of Belarusian economy. Academic and policy research aimed at the development of strategy encouraging economic growth and quality improvement of economic policy in Belarus.

Causes and Features of Economic Downturn in Belarus: the Role of Structural Factors

This work is devoted to the analysis of output downturn in Belarus in 2015. It is shown that economic downturn is not the consequence of only cyclical hesitations, but also of structural compression. Moreover, the structural component of recession in 2016 began to dominate.

Current Gender Trends in Belarusian Labor Market: Wage Gap, Child Penalty and Marriage Premium

The issue of gender equality in Belarus labor market is still unclear. On the one hand the rate of female participation is high. At the same time there is evidence of the rising gender pay gap that grew from 16.5% in 2005 to 24% in 2014. The decomposition of the wage gap during 2005- 2014 time period using Oaxaca-Blinder, Juhn-Murphy-Pierce and Machado-Mata techniques revealed that differences in income function (the difference in a way efforts of men and women are remunerated) are the main factors affecting the growth of gender inequality, while the personal characteristics are losing the influencing power. The role of the factors differs depending on the quantile of income distribution. I also find no association between wages and marriage for females, while there is a 10.5% wage premium in case of married males. The parenthood wage penalty is attributed to women and equals approximately 14.4%. Moreover, children from 0 to 6 provide the most severe drop in wages. In addition, the paper reveals that educated women are suffering the most and face 20.4% decline in wages, while penalty for women with the secondary school or lower amounts to just 8%.

 Victor Arshavskiy

Design of Debt Covenants and Loan Market Conditions

When a debt covenant is violated the lender has the right to demand immediate repayment of the loan. Using this right, the lender can extract certain concessions from the borrower (manager), which may be inefficient. I propose a theory that explains why, despite this inefficiency, tight and often violated debt covenants may be optimal. In a repeated moral hazard problem combined with an incomplete contract set-up, the debt overhang prevents the manager from exercising optimal effort. I deviate from the standard incomplete contract set-up by allowing outside market participants to observe the uncontractable outcome. I model the manager's outside option as the opportunity to refinance his debt on a competitive loan market. In this situation, the market independently evaluates the manager's performance based on observable parameters. The value of the outside option has an important impact on the covenant design. A strict covenant will severely punish the manager if his outside option is low. If the covenant is violated the lender will have control over the manager's assets and the manager will face a renegotiation game in which the lender has all the bargaining power. In this case a high outside option allows the manager to retain some rents. The manager will exercise effort to increase his chances to have a high outside option.

The Anatomy of Recession in Belarus

Restructuring of Belarusian SOEs

This work suggests steps for reforming of Belarusian SOEs in order to find new sources of growth. Major mechanisms of efficiency increase are introduction and improvement of corporate governance, privatization/ attraction of investors, and bankrupcy and liquidation.

 Arevik Mkrtchyan, Simon Lester

Does Safeguards Need Saving? Lessons from the Ukraine - Passenger Cars Dispute

The Panel Report in Ukraine - Passenger Cars provides an opportunity to revisit an old debate over the role of safeguard measures in the WTO. With regard to the legal findings, the panel followed the established jurisprudence in this area, and found a number of violations of the Safeguards Agreement. With regard to the economics, we delve more deeply into the economic and political background of the safeguards investigation. Ukraine was hit by the economic crisis shortly after its WTO accession that significantly liberalized import tariffs on passenger cars. Next, we offer a de novo look at the injury and causation issues in this case, and discuss the challenges of an industry reliant on offshored production that sees a safeguard as a mechanism to attract FDI for production. We conclude with an assessment of the operation of the WTO’s safeguards regime, along with some tentative suggestions for reform. Overall, our examination of the economic analysis by the investigating authority and the legal review by the WTO panel raises questions about particular aspects of the domestic and WTO processes, but concludes that the system worked well in this case.

FREE Policy Brief: Spatial wage inequality in Belarus

The Tax System of Belarus

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of taxation in Belarus. I compare the dynamics of the tax rates and the tax revenue in Belarus to the world averages and to other countries of the Eurasian Union. The paper studies the the harmonization of the rates within the union and the efficiency of tax collection. Finally, the two possible reforms of taxation in Belarus and its possible consequences are discussed: an increase of VAT; reintroduction of the progressive personal income tax.

Spatial wage inequality in Belarus

This paper studies the wage inequality in Belarus' districts from 2000 till 2015 following the multi-step and multi-mechanism framework. The empirical results show: first, that wage disparities across the districts decreased in the 2000-2012 period and then increased from 2013 to 2015; second, there is the spatial dependency in district wages and increasing separation between districts, and between rural and urban population in Belarus; third, the main economic factors that contribute to decrease in district wage inequality are industrial development, retail trade and agricultural development. Finally, from theoretical point of view this research rejects the inverted U-shaped relationship between spatial inequality and economic development for Belarus and supports the hypothesis made by French economist Thomas Piketty that slow growth rates lead to rising inequality.

Foreign Investment: Only Borrowings Remain

Tendencies of 2015 have nothing different from previous years. Low demand for state assets and the lack of flexibility and interest in speeding up of privatization continue to be the major factors of zero dynamics in the realization of state assets. External borrowing remains the major source of investment inflow which is used for refinancing of current debts and, as a result, only increases total debt and does not lead to reforming and the growth of efficiency in the economy.