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Housing demand in Russia: rationing and reform


Buckley, Robert M. & Gurenko, Eugene N. (1998). Housing demand in Russia: rationing and reform. Economics of Transition, 6(1), 197-209.


In a number of articles Alexeev (1988a) and (1988b) shows that in the former Soviet Union the administrative rationing of housing was partially replaced by market forces acting through the second economy. This paper uses a much richer dataset to update his analysis for Russia to consider housing demand in 1992, the last year of the administrative allocation system. Almost immediately after the survey used for this analysis Russia began to privatize the housing stock as part of its movement towards a market economy. The questions we ask are: Were households really able to beat the system, as argued by Alexeev and, if so, were they still able to do so in 1992? Our answer to the second question is that in 1992 households were not able to beat the system. Income had no observable effect on housing demand. Furthermore, we do not think that the difference in our empirical results and Alexeev's is due only to the broader economic changes that occurred since his estimation or the richer dataset available to us. Indeed, our answer to the first question is that there are good reasons for arguing that Alexeev's estimates of the income elasticity of housing demand are biased upwards.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Economics of Transition


Buckley, Robert M.
Gurenko, Eugene N.