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Article

Is the difference in consumption and income an indication of petty corruption?

The Journal of the New Economic Association. 2021. Vol. 1. No. 49. P. 115-136.

Based on micro-level data on reported household earnings, expenditures and assets, provided by the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) for the period 2000–2013, it is found that households with workers in the public sector receive lower earnings than households with members employed in the private sector but enjoy the same level of consumption. Controlling for the reported level of earnings, private households do not show a significantly higher probability of possessing summer cottages (dachas), cars and computers, or living in better housing conditions, or having a higher level of monetary savings. The differences in assets cannot be reconciled with the sizeable expenditure-income gap found. The precautionary motives of workers are not able to reconcile these discrepancies either: neither attitude to risk, nor risk itself, differ between individuals employed in the private and public sectors. It is hypothesized that employees continue working in the public sector despite their low rate of official pay, because of unreported income they receive, or bribes.