Market Integration in Russia During the Transformation Years
A cross-sectional relationship between price dispersion among Russian regions and per capita income dispersion is used to measure the degree of integration between regional commodity markets. The sequence of cross-sectional estimations for each month of the period spanning 1992 through 2000 provides the temporal pattern of market integration in Russia, yielding an integration trajectory. This pattern suggests that the regional fragmentation of the national market had been increasing during the early years of transition, and then (since about the end of 1994) integration was tending – in general – to improve. However, substantial fluctuations occur in the movement to more integration. Difficult-to-access regions markedly contribute to the overall disconnectedness of regional markets; controlling for these regions, the pattern becomes more encouraging. Surprisingly, the European part of Russia turns out to be less integrated than its Asian part. A number of culprits behind market fragmentation are found, organized crime among them.
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