Sprenger, Carsten (2010). The choice of ownership structure: evidence from Russian mass privatization. Journal of Comparative Economics, 39(2)
We use a large data set of Russian manufacturing firms to describe the ownership structure in the Russian industry at the end of the mass privatization program in 1994 and its subsequent evolution. The data shows a high, but gradually decreasing ownership stakes of firm insiders (managers and workers). We estimate the effect of a wide range of firm characteristics on the decision to privatize, the initial ownership structure after privatization, and on subsequent changes of ownership stakes. We test and find support for several predictions of the model by Aghion and Blanchard (1998). For example, collusion among workers makes them more reluctant to sell shares to outsiders. Firms in financial distress show a higher incidence of insiders selecting the option of privatization leading to high insider ownership. This can be explained by their desire to insure against unemployment in the case of restructuring by outsiders. No evidence is found of a sequencing in privatization according to the performance of firms before privatization. A methodological novelty of this paper is the application of a tobit model with sample selection to the choice of ownership stakes.
Journal of Comparative Economics