The earnings structure and earnings distribution in Russia, 1994-2003
The paper documents changes in the structure of earnings and earnings inequality in Russia for the period 1994–2003 using the RLMS data. The period covers few years of the transformational recession (1994–1998), the financial crisis in 1998 and the first years of economic recovery (2000–2003). A regression-based decomposition reveals that within-group inequality plays the largest, yet diminishing, role. Among the explanatory variables, the largest proportion of earnings dispersion (75%–80% of the explained level of inequality) is explained by the geographical variables and job characteristics. The decomposition results suggest that the rise in inequality after the financial crisis of 1998 is likely to be a result of the differences in the adjustment speeds across regions and industries. Employer ownership is only marginally important; however, its effect has been steadily increasing for women due to the increase in the public-private sector wage gap. Contrary to the initial expectations, the wage inequality in the public sector was different from that in the private sector: both were of a similar level and followed similar patterns of changes.
This paper examines the evolution of overall wage inequality in Russia from the early 1990s to the present. We first document the stylized facts and show that inequality in labor earnings increased dramatically early in the transition period and then, albeit more moderately, after the 1998 financial crisis. The trend reversed in the early 2000s wage dispersion has been declining thereafter. Changes in wage inequality were largely driven by the lower end of the wage distribution. The paper reviews and provides a critical discussion of research on wage inequality and wage differentials in Russia and suggests areas where empirical research may provide new insight into the character and causes of recent changes in wage inequality. A common view is that the rise of returns to schooling to market levels and the reallocation of workers from the public sector to the private sector accounts for the bulk of increased wage inequality during transition. However, our analysis demonstrates that these factors explain a relatively small proportion of changes in the wage distribution. We find that wage differences across and within regions and industries do a better job of capturing the dynamics of wage inequality over last two decades. These patterns can be potentially explained by expanding the existing research to other areas including the effects of shocks, organizational changes, minimum wages, rent-sharing, incentive pay structures, wage bargaining regimes.
The concept of “Chinese Miracle” comprises two dimensions. The first one is obvious and purely economic in nature: 9 percent annual GDP growth rate over quarter of a century. The second one is less obvious, but no less important and is institutional: the ruling Leninist one-party state not only survived apparently successful transition to the market economy, but even consolidated its institutional grip in the wake of this transition. This fact looks indeed extraordinary and even paradoxical in the light of the catastrophic fate of all other communist party-states in the former USSR and its East- Central European satellites, which—in different times and to different degrees - also initiated market reforms. The explanation of this paradox lies in the specific constellation of social, demographic and historic factors in China. The practical embodiment of this constellation was the unparalleled price reform, carried out in the 1980-90s. This reform transformed decentralized directive pricing, which existed between the 1950s and the 1980s, into a system of agreed pricing. However, party-state institutions remained the key players in defining the conditions of pricing agreements. Their positions of the biggest financial monopolist, lender of last resort as well as that of the sole macroeconomic controller also remained basically intact. The potential of the Chinese party-state to exhibit institutional resilience in the process of “market transition” turned out to be unexpectedly significant. However, the basic limitation of such resilience is that the principle of soft-budget constraint still dominates the behavior of key economic and administrative players, constantly invoking the specter of macroeconomic chaos with unpredictable institutional consequences.
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.