The Russian regional convergence process: Where is it leading?
This paper investigates income convergence among Russian regions between 1998 and 2006. It makes two major contributions to the literature on regional convergence in Russia. First, it identifies spatial regimes using the exploratory spatial data analysis. Second, it examines the impact of spatial effects on the convergence process. Our results show that the overall speed of regional convergence in Russia, being slow by international standards, becomes even slower after controlling for spatial effects. However, when accounting for spatial regimes, we find a strong regional convergence among high-income regions located near other high-income regions. Our results indicate that estimating the speed of convergence using aggregate data may result in misleading conclusions regarding the nature of the convergence process among Russia's regions.