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Are Uzbeks Better Off? Economic Welfare and Ethnicity in Kyrgyzstan

  • Steiner, Susan
  • Esenaliev, Damir

In the light of violent clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 we investigate the association between economic welfare and ethnicity in this country. We intend to answer two questions. First, are Uzbek households better off than Kyrgyz households, as is often claimed in the media and also by some academics? Second, what are the correlates of household welfare in recent years, and how have these changed in comparison with the 1990s? We use data from two cross-sections of the Kyrgyz Integrated Household Survey (2003 and 2005) and run OLS regressions using three measures of welfare, i.e. per capita consumption, per capita income, and an asset index. We find some evidence for higher welfare of Uzbek headed households compared with their Kyrgyz counterparts, but mainly in rural areas. In the south of the country, where most Uzbeks live and where the violence took place, there appears to be no substantial difference in welfare. This is clearly in contrast to what was commonly propagated in the media and what most Kyrgyz tend to think. In terms of the other correlates of welfare, we find that household size, educational attainment of adults, and residence outside the capital and the neighbouring Chui oblast are most importantly connected with welfare. This coincides with findings from earlier studies using data from a decade earlier.

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics in its series Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 with number 75.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec11:75
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  1. Deaton, A. & Zaidi, S., 1999. "Guidelines for Constructing Consumption Aggregates for Welfare Analysis," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  2. Anderson, Kathryn H. & Pomfret, Richard, 2002. "Relative Living Standards in New Market Economies: Evidence from Central Asian Household Surveys," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 683-708, December.
  3. Filmer, Deon & Pritchett, Lant, 1998. "Estimating wealth effects without expenditure data - or tears : with an application to educational enrollments in states of India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1994, The World Bank.
  4. Richard Pomfret & Kathryn H. Anderson, 1999. "Living Standards During Transition to a Market Economy: The Kyrgyz Republic in 1993 and 1996," School of Economics Working Papers 1999-03, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  5. Frances Stewart, 2000. "Crisis Prevention: Tackling Horizontal Inequalities," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(3), pages 245-262.
  6. World Bank, 2003. "Kyrgyz Republic : Enhancing Pro-poor Growth," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14641, The World Bank.
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