Fertility and labor force in USSR : theories and models



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This dissertation is a study of Soviet fertility and labor force. The objective is to utilize the Soviet data by applying to its analysis modern Western theories and econometric techniques. The major hypothesis of this research is that the Soviet family behaves in a utility-maximizing manner in making its decisions on labor force participation and family size. This dissertation consists of three chapters and an appendix. The first chapter presents a quantity of statistical evidence that varying rates of labor force participation and fertility in different regions and among different groups of population (distinguished by sources of income, level of education, type of labor, etc.) are influenced by the existing economic and socio-demographic factors. Therefore, a Soviet family in making decisions takes into account basically the same factors as a Western family does. As a result, it is justifiable to apply Western theories on human capital and fertility to the Soviet Union. The second chapter is concerned with the fundamental changes in the Soviet theories on population in the 1970's. The most important among them: an application of cost - benefit analysis to demographic problems, interest in the optimum population, limited revival of indicative planning, and a controversial debate on the nature of the socialist law of population. The chapter provides evidence that the Soviet scientists have realized that socialism does not automatically solve the complex problems of fertility and labor force. The third chapter presents a simultaneous three- equation model estimating labor force, birthrate and divorce-marriage ratio. The three structural equations are estimated on data for 72 regions of R.S.F.S.R. The reduced form equations of this model are used to simulate hypothetical changes in the policy variables over which the Soviet state might exercise some control. The major conclusion is that the model is supportive of the utility-maximizing behavior of a Soviet family. Therefore, actually there is no evidence of a unique socialist law of population. The analysis of the model shows that several pronounced goals of the Soviet state cannot be achieved simultaneously. For example, increasing the rate of labor force participation (short-run labor supply) will cause a significant decrease in fertility rates (long-run labor supply). The appendix presents a model of wages tested on data for a fairly homogeneous group of workers. The estimates show that sex is a significant factor of wage differentials, even when other determinants, such as experience, education, history of labor turnover, etc. are kept constant. Therefore, the model can be interpreted as evidence of sex discrimination in the Soviet labor market. In sum, the dissertation supports the utility-maximizing behavior of the Soviet family, finds no evidence of a special socialist law of population, and provides a model that can be a useful tool for further research on the subject. The areas of future research are mapped out in the conclusion.



Soviet Union, Labor force, Family