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

Listed author(s):
  • Filip Novokmet
  • Thomas Piketty
  • Gabriel Zucman

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23712.

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Date of creation: Aug 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23712
Note: DEV EFG PE POL
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