Conference e-mail

The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

aleksanteri [at]

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Professor Thomas Remington, Emory University (USA)

Russian Economic Inequality in Comparative Perspective

This paper considers Russian income inequality in relation to the trend toward rising inequality in the US and in most parts of the world.  Income and wealth inequality in Russia has been rising except in periods when the economy is in recession, and wealth inequality in Russia is now highest in the world.  The analysis shows that inequality trends in Russia share some common sources with other developed and developing economies, including technological change, increased integration in the global economy, and the capitalization of rent streams.  Financialization and dependence on natural resource extraction contribute strongly to both cross-sectional and cross-regional inequality in Russia.  The absence of representative political institutions, whether corporatist or partisan, limits the capacity of the political system to achieve consensus over the distribution of the burdens and benefits of economic growth. As in other political systems, both democratic and authoritarian, high inequality undermines the state's ability to provide public goods that would contribute both to inclusive economic growth and a growing middle class.