August 1, 2017
Written by WID.world

New paper and inequality series on Russia

This new paper by F. Novokmet, T. Piketty and G. Zucman, “From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016”, WID.world Working Paper 2017/09 combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data  (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on inequality and property in Russia.

HIGHLIGHTS: We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimate the rise of inequality since 1990. According to our benchmark estimates, top income shares are now similar to (or higher than) the levels observed in the United States. We also find that inequality has increased substantially more in Russia than in China and other ex-communist countries in Eastern Europe. We relate this finding to the specific transition strategy followed in Russia. According to our benchmark estimates, the wealth held offshore by rich Russians is about three times larger than official net foreign reserves, and is comparable in magnitude to total household financial assets held in Russia. 

Appendix available here. Full data files and computer codes can be accessed here.