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Spatial inequalities in Russia: dynamic and sectoral analysis


  • Evgeniya Kolomak



The paper studies the evolution and determinants of spatial inequalities in Russia. We use database providing data on value-added, employment, education and population over set of Russian «subjects of Federation». These data cover period of 1995 - 2010 and several sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, service and construction. We study dynamics of the spatial inequalities and test the presence of agglomeration economies over the observed period. We use the Theil index to analyze the spatial distribution of economic activity allowing inequality across space to be captured at two geographical levels: subjects of Federation and macro-regions. The results of our analysis suggest that concentration of the economic activity continues in Russia and the pace of the interregional divergence is rather high. This fact brings to the conclusion that the country is at the left side of the bell-shaped relationship between the interaction costs and the spatial distribution. Both the Western and the Eastern parts experiences centripetal tendencies. However despite of predictions an essential redistribution of the production from the East to the West is not revealed. The first nature (highly valuated at the global market natural resources and raw materials of the East) is balanced by the second nature (better infrastructure and big markets of the West). In paper we seek the main factors lying behind the spatial evolution of economic activity in Russia over the observed period. To evaluate the magnitude of agglomeration economy we regress the logarithm of labor productivity on the logarithm of population per unit of surface area, as well as on a number of other explanatory variables: market potential, local specialization, sectoral diversity, share of skilled labor, time and region fixed effects. Our analysis provides evidence consistent with predictions of economic geography. The significant factors of the spatial concentration and the total productivity growth are density, size of and access to the markets along with the diversity of the economy. Specific of the Eastern regions is insensitivity to the diversification. There are also sectoral peculiarities: density of the population and proximity to the markets influence negatively agriculture; due to immobility of supply the external markets have no significant effect on construction. Sectoral specialization (because of fierce competition) decreases both the rate of concentration and the productivity. One of the practical ideas of the analysis is conclusion that in the nearest future we will observe further concentration of the economic activity and interregional divergence in Russia. Forces behind agglomeration economy and regional disparities are of market nature (increasing returns to scale and imperfect competition) and they start to play a major role in the country in the transition and the post-transition period.

Suggested Citation

  • Evgeniya Kolomak, 2013. "Spatial inequalities in Russia: dynamic and sectoral analysis," ERSA conference papers ersa13p21, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa13p21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Berkowitz, Daniel & DeJong, David N., 2003. "Policy reform and growth in post-Soviet Russia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 337-352, April.
    2. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Thisse, Jacques-François & Toutain, Jean-Claude, 2011. "The rise and fall of spatial inequalities in France: A long-run perspective," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 243-271, April.
    3. Rudiger Ahrend, 2005. "Speed of Reform, Initial Conditions or Political Orientation? Explaining Russian Regions' Economic Performance," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 289-317.
    4. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. K.P. Glushchenko (, 2010. "Methodologies of analyzing inter-regional income inequalities," Journal "Region: Economics and Sociology", Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of Siberian Branch of RAS, vol. 1.
    6. Rosés, Joan Ramón & Martínez-Galarraga, Julio & Tirado, Daniel A., 2010. "The upswing of regional income inequality in Spain (1860-1930)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 244-257, April.
    7. Berkowitz, Daniel & DeJong, David N., 2002. "Accounting for growth in post-Soviet Russia," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 221-239, March.
    8. Daniel Berkowitz & David N. DeJong, 2005. "Entrepreneurship and Post-socialist Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(1), pages 25-46, February.
    9. Quah, Danny T, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ekaterina Aleksandrova & Kristian Behrens & Maria Kuznetsova, 2018. "Manufacturing (Co)Agglomeration in a Transition Country: Evidence from Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 186/EC/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    2. Elena Vakulenko, 2016. "Does migration lead to regional convergence in Russia?," International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 9(1), pages 1-25.


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