Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center

Research

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.

Economic Outlook - Fourth Quarter 2016

BEROC presents the next issue of Economic Outlook - Fourth Quarter 2016

Anatomy of Belarusian JSCs

We do not know about: how effective are Belarusian enterprises, what is the share of state enterprises in the economy, what is the difference between private and state enterprises, what is the distribution of labor, capital and materials among firms. This work is an attempt to answer these questions using the data on JSCs.

 Dzmitry Kruk

SVAR Approach for Extracting Inflation Expectations Given Severe Monetary Shocks: Evidence from Belarus

Inflation expectations play a crucial role for macroeconomic dynamics and more specifically for monetary environment. However, inflation expectations is an unobservable variable. So, the quality of the correspondent measure in a great extent predetermines its feasibility for macroeconomic analysis. Today, survey-based measures of inflation expectations prevail in macroeconomic analysis. However, the drawbacks and/or unavailability of such measures give a rise to other identification strategies. Extracting inflation expectations from the actual data (e.g. series of interest rate and actual inflation) basing on SVAR identification approach has become a valuable alternative/supplement for measuring inflation expectations. In this paper I show that the existing strategy of inflation expectations identification through SVAR approach is very sensitive to the state of monetary environment. When a monetary environment is unstable (e.g. high and volatile inflation), the assumptions of the baseline approach are not hold, and it produces biased estimations. I emphasize two sources of this bias in estimations and suggest procedure for obtaining unbiased estimates. My identification strategy includes a number of steps. I suggest applying Markov regime-switching framework for extracting an unbiased mean for ex ante real interest rate. Further, I use two-stage SVAR identification strategy. First, I identify an unexpected shock to actual inflation, which is crucial for obtaining a proper measure of inflation expectations. Further, I net the series of ex post interest rate from this ‘noise’. Second, I run a baseline SVAR procedure, for which I use the data adjusted at the first step. Finally I obtain an unbiased and informatively rich series of inflation expectations.

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%.

 Kateryna BornukovaDzmitry Kruk, Gábor Hunya, Rumen Dobrinsky, Olga Pindyuk, Amat Adarov, Peter Havlik

The Belarus Economy: The Challenges of Stalled Reforms

wiiw and BEROC study finds that the transition model of the past quarter century has reached its limits, and argues that policy changes are necessary if the system is to survive.

 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.

FREE Policy Brief: 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.