Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Julie L. Hotchkiss - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Dawn M. Baunach

Third Advisor

Dr. Erdal Tekin

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jorge L. Martinez-Vazquez

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Bruce E. Kaufman


This dissertation explores how different labor market policies implemented following the transition to market system in Eastern Europe affected labor market outcomes. As the result of different policies implemented countries of Eastern Europe that were very similar at the beginning of the transition achieved different economic outcomes. We focus on Lithuania and Ukraine that represent two groups of countries with respect to the broad approach to economic transition. Our analysis explores change in gender wage gap in the two countries as well as evolution in returns to human capital. We compare labor market institutions and composition of the labor force for these two countries. Labor market of the Soviet Union serves as a reference point for this comparison. The data from Household Budget Surveys is utilized for this analysis. Returns to education levels are examined in both countries. We find no evidence of increase in returns to higher education in Ukraine following the decentralization of the wage setting system. However, higher educated workers in Lithuania were able to benefit from the transition. The second part of this dissertation focuses on evolution of the gender wage gap. We decompose gender wage gap using Oaxaca decomposition as well as Juhn, Murphy, and Pierce decomposition. We consistently find that it is the “unexplained” component that is single handedly responsible for the gender wage differential in both countries.


Included in

Economics Commons