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Convergence between Russian regions

  • Sergei Guriev


    (New Economic School)

  • Elena Vakulenko


    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

In this paper we study convergence among Russian regions. We find that while there was no convergence in 1990s, the situation changed dramatically in 2000s. While interregional GDP per capita gaps still persist, the differentials in incomes and wages decreased substantially. We show that fiscal redistribution did not play a major role in convergence. We therefore try to understand the phenomenon of recent convergence using panel data on the interregional reallocation of capital and labor. We find that capital market in Russian regions is integrated in a sense that local investment does not depend on local savings. We also show that economic growth and financial development has substantially decreased the barriers to labor mobility. We find that in 1990s many poor Russian regions were in a poverty trap: potential workers wanted to leave those regions but could not afford to finance the move. In 2000s (especially in late 2000s), these barriers were no longer binding. Overall economic development allowed even poorest Russian regions to grow out of the poverty traps. This resulted in convergence in Russian labor market; the interregional gaps in incomes, wages and unemployment rates are now below those in Europe. The results imply that economic growth and development of financial and real estate markets eventually result in interregional convergence.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in its series Working Papers with number w0180.

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Length: 82 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfr:cefirw:w0180
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  1. Alexander Libman, 2012. "Democracy, size of bureaucracy, and economic growth: evidence from Russian regions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1321-1352, December.
  2. Konstantin Kholodilin & Alexei Oshchepkov & Boriss Siliverstovs, 2009. "The Russian regional convergence process: Where does it go?," KOF Working papers 09-216, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
  3. Fran�ois Libois & Vincenzo Verardi, 2012. "Semiparametric Fixed-Effects Estimator," Working Papers 1201, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  4. Fedorov, Leonid, 2002. "Regional Inequality and Regional Polarization in Russia, 1990-99," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 443-456, March.
  5. Phan, Diep & Coxhead, Ian, 2010. "Inter-provincial migration and inequality during Vietnam's transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 100-112, January.
  6. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
  7. Thomas Herzfeld, 2008. "Inter-regional output distribution: a comparison of Russian and Chinese experience," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 431-447.
  8. Laura Solanko, 2008. "Unequal fortunes: a note on income convergence across Russian regions," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 287-301.
  9. Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2003. "Quo Vadis? Inequality and Poverty Dynamics across Russian Regions," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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