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From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016

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  • Novokmet, Filip
  • Piketty, Thomas
  • Zucman, Gabriel

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

  • Novokmet, Filip & Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2017. "From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia 1905-2016," CEPR Discussion Papers 12411, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12411
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:jecinq:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10888-018-9383-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. Li, Cheng, 2018. "China's household balance sheet: Accounting issues, wealth accumulation, and risk diagnosis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 97-112.
    4. Pawel Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2019. "Between Communism and Capitalism: Long-Term Inequality in Poland, 1892-2015," CEP Discussion Papers dp1628, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lokshin,Michael M. & Abanokova,Ksenia & Bussolo,Maurizio, 2018. "Inequality and Welfare Dynamics in the Russian Federation during 1994-2015," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8629, The World Bank.
    6. Nora Lustig, 2018. "Measuring the Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth: State of Play and Measurement Challenges," Working Papers 1801, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    8. repec:eee:pubeco:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:89-100 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alvaredo, Facundo & Assouad, Lydia & Piketty, Thomas, 2017. "Measuring inequality in the Middle East 1990-2016: The World's Most Unequal Region?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. repec:scn:econom:y:2018:i:5:p:66-73 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jean-Charles BRICONGNE & Alessandro TURRINI & Peter PONTUCH, 2019. "Assessing House Prices: Insights from HouseLev, a Dataset of Price Level Estimates," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2675, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
    12. Vladimir Hlasny, 2019. "Redistributive Impacts of Fiscal Policies in Mexico: Corrections for Top Income Measurement Problems," LIS Working papers 765, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    13. repec:eee:ecolec:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:78-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:nea:journl:y:2018:i:40:p:32-59 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:pubeco:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:120-142 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Zucman, Gabriel, 2018. "Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 89-100.
    17. Michal Brzezinski & Katarzyna Sałach & Marcin Wroński, 2019. "Wealth inequality in Central and Eastern Europe: evidence from joined household survey and rich lists’ data," Working Papers 2019-09, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    18. repec:eee:exehis:v:72:y:2019:i:c:p:23-37 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    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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