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Regional inequality and regional polarization in Russia, 1990–99


Fedorov, Leonid Ilych (2002). Regional inequality and regional polarization in Russia, 1990–99. World Development, 30(3), 443-456.


This paper contributes to the growing debate on regional inequality and polarization in Russia. Using a consistent data series and applying a number of recently developed measures, it documents trends over the transition decade of 1990–99. It shows that while inequality and polarization increased rapidly during 1991–96, the increases leveled off and even reversed in the late 1990s. Using a polarization index based on inequality decomposition, it is shown that the main dimensions of increasing polarization are not so much the “West–East” or the “Ethnic Russian–National Republics” divides, but factors such as export shares of regions or the relative sizes of their capitals. This provides a different perspective on the causes of regional inequality and polarization, and suggests a research and policy agenda somewhat different from that, which is prominent in the current debate.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

World Development


Fedorov, Leonid Ilych