Exit and voice after mass privatization: The case of Russia

Roman Frydman, Katharina Pistor, Andrzej Rapaczynski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Mass privatization programs attempt to effect a global transformation of the economic and political environment. Since specific designs of such programs are shaped by the necessity to generate ex ante political support for a massive ownership transformation, they may result in allocating control rights to agents who have incentives to oppose, rather than to effect, reallocation of resources within and across firms. Exemplifying this political exigency of the reform process, the Russian mass privatization program gave to enterprise insiders majority ownership in as many as 70% of Russian companies. The largest outside owners to emerge in the overwhelming majority of the companies in the insider-dominated Russian economy were the 'voucher privatization funds'. In this paper we attempt to shed some light on the corporate governance role and strategies of this group of outside investors. We focus on two particular strategies of funds' activities: shareholder activism ('voice') and trading ('exit'), each of which has different costs and benefits in postcommunist transition economies than in advanced market systems. The econometric analysis is based on data collected in an empirical survey of 148 voucher investment funds in 28 different regions of Russia. The funds surveyed held stakes in 4,000 to 5,000 privatized companies, thus offering a genuine 'window' on the world of Russian firms and their new institutional shareholders.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)581-588
    Number of pages8
    JournalEuropean Economic Review
    Issue number3-5
    StatePublished - Apr 1996


    • Corporate governance
    • Privatization
    • Russia
    • Transition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics


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