Inégalités de revenu, pauvreté et protection sociale en Union soviétique
[eng] The dramatic political and institutional changes now occurring in the Soviet Union are likely to have profound consequences on income distribution amongst households, as well as amongst Republics. Even before the onset of the current reform wave had been initiated by M. Gorbatchev, the mechanisms determining income distribution in the Soviet Union were generating substantial inequalities, in spite of their stated egalitarian inspiration. The spread of wage differentials was relatively wide ; incomes and living standards were characterized by a large dispersion across individual households ; and an important fraction of the population was living in poverty, as conventionnally defined. Moreover the Republican data on income distribution reveal a fair amount of heterogeneity in regional conditions : a clear distinction emerges between north-western Republics — relatively richer and more egalitarian — and south-eastern Republics — poorer and with a larger dispersion of incomes. The social security system that was in place before the start of current reforms had been designed for the modest assignment of filling the loopholes in the centralized system of distribution through wage and price controls. As such, it cannot possibly survive the transition to a market economy. The various programs aiming at this transformation all advocate price and wage liberalization ; they all include a complete overhaul of the social safety net. A number of legislation changes had already been carried out before last August coup ; but the recent political developments have questioned the overall architecture of the Soviet economic system and the future evolution of the social safety net is presently quite hard to predict. [fre] Les bouleversements en cours en Union soviétique devraient avoir, au-delà de leurs conséquences macroéconomiques et extérieures souvent évoquées dans les analyses récentes, une incidence profonde sur les inégalités de revenu entre les ménages soviétiques et ent
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