‘There is No Middle Class in this Oblast. There are Rich and Poor’: Economic and Social Policy Trade-Offs in the Russian Regions

57 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2012 Last revised: 23 Jul 2014

Thomas F. Remington

Emory University; ICSID-Higher School of Economics

Irina V. Soboleva

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Anton Sobolev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Mark Y. Urnov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: January 27, 2012

Abstract

On the basis of in-depth case studies of four Russian regions, Kirov and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnoyarsk and Perm' krais, the trade-offs among social and economic policy at the regional level in Russia are examined. All four regional governments seek to develop entrepreneurship while preserving social welfare obligations and improving compensation in the public sector. Richer regions have a greater ability to reconcile social commitments with the promotion of business. Regions differ in their development strategies, some placing greater emphasis on indigenous business development and others seeking to attract federal or foreign investment. Governors have considerable discretion in choosing their strategy so long as they meet basic performance demands set by the federal government such as ensuring good results for the United Russia party. In all four regions, governments consult actively with local business associations whereas organized labor is weak. However, the absence of effective institutions to enforce commitments undertaken by government and its social partners undermines regional capacity to use social policy as a basis for long-term economic development.

Keywords: governors, Russian regions, social policy, economic policy, hybrid regimes

JEL Classification: D78, H72, R58

Suggested Citation

Remington, Thomas F. and Soboleva, Irina V. and Sobolev, Anton and Urnov, Mark Y., ‘There is No Middle Class in this Oblast. There are Rich and Poor’: Economic and Social Policy Trade-Offs in the Russian Regions (January 27, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1993013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1993013

Thomas F. Remington (Contact Author)

Emory University ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6566 (Phone)
404-727-4586 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://polisci.emory.edu/home/people/remington.html

ICSID-Higher School of Economics ( email )

Slavyanskaya ploschyad' 4/2
Moscow, 103074
Russia

HOME PAGE: http://polisci.emory.edu/home/people/remington.html

Irina V. Soboleva

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Anton Sobolev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/antsobolev/

Mark Y. Urnov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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