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Consumption smoothing in Russia: evidence from the RLMS


Skoufias, Emmanuel (2003). Consumption smoothing in Russia: evidence from the RLMS. Economics of Transition, 11(1), 67-91.


This paper uses panel data from rounds V-IX of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS) to examine the extent to which households are able to protect their consumption from fluctuations in their income. It is found that consumption is only partially protected from idiosyncratic shocks to income with food consumption being better protected than non-food consumption expenditures. This suggests that adjustments in non-food expenditures may be an important component of the risk management tools of Russian households. The analysis also provides evidence on the extent and nature of the coping strategies adopted by households. It is demonstrated that households complement their self-insurance strategies, of borrowing, adjusting their labour supply, and selling assets, with informal risk sharing arrangements with households within their community. An examination of the role of sample selection confirmed that these findings are quite robust to this potential source of bias. Furthermore, accounting for the role of measurement and imputation errors in the measure of household income revealed that OLS estimates may yield a misleading picture about the extent to which urban and rural households are insured from idiosyncratic income shocks.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economics of Transition


Skoufias, Emmanuel