Social Architectonics of Market Prices: Basic Principles of Russian Consumer Price Perception (A Moscow Case Study)
The article discusses the price perception of Russian consumers. The data gathered from in-depth interviews with economically active residents of Moscow demonstrate that the interpretation of price can be thematized according to four main categories: “not to be deceived,” “prices are watched by the clever not the poor,” “people like me buy at such prices,” and “some products are worth the price.” The study shows that Russian consumers are more and more artfully mastering the grammar of market prices. Prudence in relation to prices and expenses is forming its own place among cultural values in Russia, where prodigal waste was once an indicator of social success.
In theory, a poverty line can be defined as the cost of a common (inter-personally comparable) utility level across a population. But how can one know if this holds in practice? For groups sharing common consumption needs but facing different prices, the theory of revealed preference can be used to derive testable implications of utility consistency knowing only the "poverty bundles" and their prices. Heterogeneity in needs calls for extra information. We argue that subjective welfare data offer a credible means of testing utility consistency across different needs groups. A case study of Russia's official poverty lines shows how revealed preference tests can be used in conjunction with qualitative information on needs heterogeneity. The results lead us to question the utility consistency of Russia's official poverty lines.
International trade is an important factor affecting competition in domestic markets. Considering the vastness of Russian territory, one can expect the pro-competitive effect to vary from region to region. This analysis tests the hypothesis that the unique geographical position and economic status of the Kaliningrad region contribute to the rapid development of international trade, which, in turn, exerts competitive pressure on regional prices. The study incorporates two major lines of analysis: a) a comparison of the international trade growth rates of different Russian regions; b) an assessment of the influence of Russian and European prices on the consumer price index as well as prices for particular tradable goods in the Kaliningrad region.
Since the beginning of the market reforms in Russia, its integration into the world economy and the dependence on trends of the world economy development is steadily rising. New challenges from the world market and new opportunities for domestic producers, appeared after the liberalization of international trade, have become an important factor affecting the domestic economy. The research is devoted to estimation of general trends in trade development in Russia after it’s liberalization in 1991. The key questions we’d like to answer within the presented analysis are: 1) what were the economic conditions for development of trade in Russia after the launch of market reforms; 2) did the level of openness of the Russian Economy increased during the last 15 years; 3) whether international trade development caused long-term changes in production structure and relative prices in the Russian economy?
This chapter is devoted to the analysis of the impact of the global financial crisis on the nascent housing market in Russia, which started developing less than 10 years ago. At the same time we make an attempt to estimate whether there were "bubbles" in this market. This chapter has the following structure.
It starts with an overview of the housing sector in Russia before the meltdown and analysis of the evolution of housing property rights. Next we look at both the supply side (housing stock and new construction) and the demand side of the situation in housing market before 2009. The section ends with a summary description of the situation in housing mortgage finance and affordability of housing, which is a big challenge for a developing housing market.
The second section analyzes the impact of the global financial crisis on the mortgage sector in Russia and highlights new trends in the housing sector. We focus on government anti-crisis measures in the housing market and the role of government-sponsored organizations. Two main areas of government intervention in the housing and mortgage markets are analyzed: state support of mortgage borrowers and the housing construction industry.
Next we raise the issue of the presence of housing bubble in Russia and analyze main determinants of housing price trends and their impact on housing market.
The chapter concludes with an outline of the housing and housing mortgage markets in Russia.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.