GDP per capita growth rates in Russia have been amongst the highest in the world since the mid-1990s. Previous growth accounting research suggests that this was mainly driven by multi-factor productivity (MFP) growth. In this paper we analyse for the first time the drivers of Russian growth for thirty-four industries for the period 1995 to 2008. We pay in particular attention to derive a proper measure of capital services, instead of the stock measures used in previous research. Using these new measures, we find that aggregate GDP growth is driven as much by capital input as MFP growth. Mining and Retailing take up an increasing share of the input, but have poor MFP performance. In contrast, MFP growth was high in goods producing industries but this sector’s GDP share declined. The major drivers of MFP growth were in high-skilled services industries that were particularly underdeveloped in the Russian economy in the 1990s.
We suggest to use information from the state register of personal cars as an alternative indicator of economic inequality in countries with a large share of shadow economy. We illustrate our approach using the Latvian pool of personal cars. Our main finding is that the extent of household economic inequality in Latvia is much larger than officially assumed. The latest officially available estimate of the Gini coefficient is 0.36 for 2005, which is much lower than 0.55 for 2009 reported in our paper.