Команда Т. Пикетти о неравенстве в России: коллекция статистических артефактов
The paper provides a critical assessment of an authoritative study “From Soviets to oligarchs” (2017) on evolution of economic inequality in Russia by F. Novokmet, T. Piketty and G. Zucman where Russia is portrayed as a country with abnormally polarized income distribution by international standards. The author examines main quantitative results obtained by Piketty’s team, describes peculiar methodological features of their measuring procedure and analyzes how they dissect available empirical data sets. A general conclusion is that the trio uses an unconventional methodology that does not allow to apply equivalence scales; their argument suffers from internal inconsistencies (different units of observation and different definitions of income are used); they misunderstand the nature of data that form a base for their calculations (simulated estimates are perceived as raw survey data, post-tax incomes as pretax ones, etc.); deduction and declaration coefficients that they impose on tax data are empirically improbable; their final estimates of income inequality for Russia are higher than empirically realistic ones approximately by one third (Gini coefficients 0.5—0.6 instead of 0.3—0.4 by other researchers).
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The paper examines the principles for the supervision of financial conglomerates proposed by BCBS in the consultative document published in December 2011. Moreover, the article proposes a number of suggestions worked out by the authors within the HSE research team.