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Wage inequality, wellbeing and the labour market: Russia 1994–2000


Gerry, Christopher J. (2004). Wage inequality, wellbeing and the labour market: Russia 1994–2000. Master's thesis / Doctoral dissertation.


Using household panel survey data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey between 1994 and 2000, this thesis examines wage inequality, economic wellbeing and the labour market in the Russian Federation. We pay particular heed to the labour market institutions giving rise to what has become known as the ‘Russian way of adjustment’. Principally, we endeavour to reconcile the spread of such institutions with the aggregate trends often perplexing to Russian observers. We find evidence of a labour market typified by occupational flux, regional imbalance and divergent outcomes across socio-economic sub-groups as well as the distribution. Above all however, we reveal a labour market most appropriately characterised by its duality. That is, while a large proportion of labour market participants respond dynamically to market signals, there is a substantial core of the labour market characterised by stagnation, uncertainty and paternalism. For example, there is evidence that Russian enterprise managers, otherwise responding to market forces, allocated wage arrears across gender in a manner that narrowed the gender wage differential between the poorest paid men and women. It seems that, aside from efficiency incentives, equity concerns mattered to Russian enterprise managers. The distinction between the ‘excluded’ and the ‘included’ garners further support through our analysis of the 1998 financial crisis. We find that there are certain socio-economic groups detached from the economic cycle. Thus, while they may not have been the most vulnerable to the actual crisis they are, in fact, amongst the most economically vulnerable individuals. Part one of the thesis provides the necessary contextual background for our research. Part two, focusing on the role of wage arrears and the evolving occupational structure, investigates the drivers of wage inequality. Part three explicitly examines the relationship between wage arrears, occupation and the gender pay gap and, finally, part four, focuses on a generalised measure of economic vulnerability in the context of the 1998 Russian financial crisis and subsequent recovery. Part five concludes.


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Gerry, Christopher J.