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Continuities in Transition: Ethnicity, Language and Labour Market Inequalities in Kyrgyzstan

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  • Victor Agadjanian
  • Byeongdon Oh

Abstract

Ethno‐racial and linguistic boundaries have major implications for socio‐economic well‐being throughout the world, yet their specific effects vary greatly across contexts. The countries that were once part of the Soviet Union have seen dramatic transformations yet also exhibited remarkable continuities from the socialist era. This article contributes to cross‐national evidence on the roots and expressions of ethno‐racial socio‐economic inequalities and on nation building and nationalism in the post‐Soviet context. It uses data from two identically designed nationally representative surveys conducted in Kyrgyzstan in 2011 and 2017 to investigate patterns and trends in ethnic and linguistic disparities in employment by occupational type and economic sector and in earnings among men and women. The authors find that despite government policies to promote the advancement of the nation's titular majority, Kyrgyz, and to encourage the use of its language, the ethno‐linguistic economic inequalities inherited from the Soviet era — privileged positions of the European‐origin minority and of Russian‐speaking Kyrgyz — were still potently present in the earlier survey. While variations in types of occupation and employment sectors tended to diminish between the two surveys, the ethno‐linguistic differences in earnings remained very pronounced, even after controlling for other factors. The authors relate these findings to the extant scholarship and reflect on their implications for our understanding of post‐socialist transitions.

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  • Victor Agadjanian & Byeongdon Oh, 2020. "Continuities in Transition: Ethnicity, Language and Labour Market Inequalities in Kyrgyzstan," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 51(6), pages 1579-1612, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:devchg:v:51:y:2020:i:6:p:1579-1612
    DOI: 10.1111/dech.12611
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