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From Soviets to oligarchs: inequality and property in Russia 1905-2016

Author

Listed:
  • Filip Novokmet

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Thomas Piketty

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Gabriel Zucman

    (UC Berkeley
    NBER)

Abstract

This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia.

Suggested Citation

  • Filip Novokmet & Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "From Soviets to oligarchs: inequality and property in Russia 1905-2016," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 189-223, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jecinq:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10888-018-9383-0
    DOI: 10.1007/s10888-018-9383-0
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income and wealth distribution; National income and wealth accounts; Russia;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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