CitationNissanov, Zoya & Grazia Pittau, Maria (2016). Measuring Changes in the Russian Middle Class between 1992 and 2008: a Nonparametric Distributional Analysis. Empirical Economics, 50(2), 503-530.
AbstractSince the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, Russia is generally acknowledged to be one of the most complicated countries in the world, from a sociological perspective. In particular, the evolution of the Russian middle class is an interesting but highly complex phenomenon. Most works dealing with this issue are based on summary statistics, which do not fully convey all the information on income distribution. In the present paper, we analyze the evolution of the middle class in Russia from 1992 to 2008, by applying a nonparametric tool, the “relative distribution,” to Russian household incomes. The relative density function is a proper density function which compares two distributions observed in different years, in order to describe patterns of differences on the entire income scale. Despite a stable pattern of high inequality, we found that after a period of income convergence characterized by a rise of the middle class, in 1998 Russian households income started to polarize and in 2008 one can observe a very high degree of polarization and a marked decrease in the middle class. This shrinking of the middle class affected particularly incomes below the median. Our results can be related to the social reforms and can be partially explained by the characteristics of the Russian labor market.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleEmpirical Economics
Grazia Pittau, Maria