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

Author

Listed:
  • Filip Novokmet
  • Thomas Piketty
  • Gabriel Zucman

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, 2017. "From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016," NBER Working Papers 23712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23712
    Note: DEV EFG PE POL
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 23772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Who Owns the Wealth in Tax Havens? Macro Evidence and Implications for Global Inequality," NBER Working Papers 23805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    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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