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Wage arrears and economic voting in Russia


Richter, Kaspar (2006). Wage arrears and economic voting in Russia. American Political Science Review, 100(1), 133-145.


This paper revisits the issue of economic voting in the context of the 1996 Presidential Election in Russia. The election was branded as a fundamental choice between capitalism and communism, yet voters were also grappling with a large crisis of personal finances: about one in two workers experienced nonpayments of wages at the time of the elections. The analysis exploits a rich nationally representative household panel dataset to identify the impact of wage arrears on the second-round election outcome. Wage arrears reduced the vote for the incumbent President Yeltsin among workers from around 65% to 49%, which amounts to a drop of 4% in the Yeltsin vote in the second round. Support for Yeltsin vote declined with the amount of wage arrears at the time of the vote and with wage arrears in 1995. Wage arrears led more voters to believe the government to be noncaring and to favor income restrictions for the rich. Political attitudes of working men changed more than those of working women.


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Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Political Science Review


Richter, Kaspar