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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Straining at Gnats and Swallowing Camels: Labor Market Policies and Unemployment in Russia

Since the political changes of 1989-1990 in the communist world, the economic transition of former centrally planned economies became a center of interest for scholars, policy-makers and business. The issues of interest range from the causes of the communist state's collapse to predicting the future of the transition process in the countries of the former Soviet block.

While going through transition, economies of these countries experience fast and secular reorientation of labor market policies. Special attention should be given to the social costs of the transition process, namely unemployment and emergence of poverty. There arises an urgent necessity to create social safety nets and effective labor and income policies.

The objective of this report is to identify and study these crucial problems of economic transition in the former communist Russia. The goal is to both deepen scientific knowledge on the characteristic features of transition and to provide usable policy advice for policy-makers who face the puzzles of this unique process. The aim of the report is to explore the internal dimension of transition in Russia and to answer the question whether policies suggested by Western social scientists are at all applicable to the unique economic crisis situation in the post-communist Russia.

The major aim of this report is to examine the policy options of the Russian government in their support of free labor market developments and the creation of the social safety nets, and to provide guidance to policy-makers, businesses and interested scholars.

--Author's foreword.


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