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).
A relative uniformity of population distribution on the territory of the country is of importance from socio-economic and strategic perspectives. It is especially important in the case of Russia with its densely populated west and underpopulated east. This paper considers changes in population density in Russian regions, which occurred from 1897 to 2017. It explores whether there was convergence in population density and what factors influenced it. For this purpose, it uses the data both at county and regional levels, which are brought to common borders for comparability purposes. Further, the models of unconditional and conditional β-convergence are estimated, taking into account the spatial dependence. The paper concludes that the population density equalization took place in 1897—2017 at the county level and in 1926—1970 at the regional level. In addition, the population density increase is shown to be influenced not only by spatial effects, but also by political and geographical factors such as climate, number of GULAG camps, and the distance from the capital city.
This paper provides empirical evidence on the relation of innovation and competition, as well as insights on the role of innovation within the competitive strategies of Russian enterprises. The survey of roughly 1000 enterprises (executed as a part of the European Manufacturing Survey) from the manufacturing sector and ICT reveals the marginal role of innovation in the competitive strategies. Companies largely do not consider innovation as a legitimate strategy for business success. The paper outlines specific sectoral patterns and presents the general discussion of the inefficiency of the Russian national innovation system.
This paper provides a comprehensive assessment of banking competition on the market for loans in the Russian banking system connecting it to various phases of the business cycle in Russia. Our focus is on price competition, which is measured through the Lerner index of market power. Using Lerner index, we investigate, first, the levels of interest rate mark-ups in the market for loans; second, the influence of these mark-ups on credit activity of banks as well as their relation with the size of banks. Next, we compare our measured Lerner index with three additional competition indicators, i.e. H-statistics of Panzar and Rosse (mix of price and quantity competition), Boone indicator (quantity and quality competition) and Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (quantity competition). For our comparisons, we choose the time period of 2005 Q1 to 2012 Q4, i.e. starting from one boom on the market for loans and ending with another boom so that between them there is one episode of macroeconomic and systemic banking crisis that could substantially change the strength of competition. Our estimations show that the impact of competition on credit activity of banks is non-linear – when price competition is too strict or too weak the credit activity of banks becomes slower. Next, before the crisis of 2008–2009 increases of both price and quantity competition took place; however, during the crisis these competition improvements were offset by uneven access of banks to refinancing resources and the deterioration of borrowers’ creditworthiness that entailed the rise of risk premium in interest rates on loans. After the crisis, price competition turned back to upward trend again stimulated by the growing boom on the market for retail loans, whereas quantity competition remains rather constrained.
Tenders for infrastructure concessions are on the agenda in Russia. The theory of the competitive biddings for concessions originates from the idea of competition for the field, further developed by H. Demsetz into the franchise bidding theory. But so far, tenders for concessions which took place in different infrastructure sectors have questioned whether the number of bidders was high enough to expect the results (tenders outcomes) predicted by Demsetz. In the article this question is answered basing on the theory of auctions with independent private values and with the price as a single selection criterion under different business strategies of the bidders. Some recommendations are proposed. The necessity as well as some limitations of usage of such tenders' results for natural monopolists' tariff regulation are shown.
The paper describes composition of stock ownership in Russian companies with particular attention to its concentration and effects on corporate control. Special attention is paid to business integration as important background for ownership consolidation. The paper analyzes intra-corporate relations among main actors of corporate governance and functioning of its internal tools with special focus on Board of Directors' composition and role. The correlation between the degree of concentration and companies' performance and modernization activities is also discussed. The research is based on large-scale survey of 822 joint-stock companies in industry and communications conducted in 2005 in 64 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was organized within the joint Japanese-Russian project that is being implemented by scholars from the State University - Higher School of Economics and Hitotsubashi University.
Several approaches exist that help explain the motivations for corporate charity and philantropy. Structural functionalism associates these to the idea of solidarity, institutional approach they provide legitimacy for businesses, critical theory implies that they play an ideological role in sustaining the leading role of the dominating social class. This paper complements the existing models by treating these phenomena as a patrimonial type of exchange between business and government: the state provides the companies the opportunity to do business on its territory in exchange for their loyalty.