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  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 01-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: All countries in transition experienced increases in inequality. They have also undertaken massive privatization of key asset housing, often on give-away terms. Are these two phenomena related? Has transfer of ownership rights to residents slowed down the inequality increases or it pushed it up? Surprisingly little is known in this area. This paper attempts to provide empirical evidence to start answering these questions. It shows how housing privatization affected the distribution of personal wealth and inequality in current consumption based on recent representative household surveys from three transition countries: Poland, Russia and Serbia. Survey data are compared with figures derived from national accounts and housing statistics. Contrary to common belief and some earlier evidence of strong equalizing effect of housing distribution in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the paper finds that the contribution of housing to the overall inequality levels is not strong, and is not universally progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia progressive. There is also a significant variation across countries. In Russia and Serbia features of privatization programmes resulted in better off households capturing more valuable housing assets on extremely beneficial terms, while in Poland privatization and housing reform led to more equitable outcomes. When owner occupied housing rents and durables are properly accounted for, the effects of housing ownership on inequality in current consumption are mildly progressive in Russia and Poland and regressive in Serbia. The paper argues that the information collected by regular household surveys provides only a starting point to study housing wealth distribution, and there are a number of gaps which should be addressed through improved data collection.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Poland, Serbia
  • Author: Hyun H. Son, Nanak Kakwani
  • Publication Date: 05-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper suggests how the targeting efficiency of government programmes may be better assessed. Using the 'pro-poor policy' (PPP) index developed by authors, the study investigates the pro-poorness of not only government programmes geared to the poorest segment of the population, but also basic service delivery in education, health and infrastructure. This paper also shows that the targeting efficiency for a particular socioeconomic group should be judged on the basis of a 'total-group PPP index', to capture the impact of operating a programme within the group. Using micro-unit data from household surveys, the paper presents a comparative analysis for Thailand, Russia, Vietnam and 15 African countries.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, Government, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, Vietnam, Thailand
  • Author: Oleksiy Ivaschenko
  • Publication Date: 06-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the impact of changes in poverty and public health spending on inter-temporal variations in longevity using a unique regional-level dataset that covers 77 regions of Russia over the period 1994-2000. The dynamic panel data model is used as a tool for the empirical analysis. The model is estimated using the Arellano-Bond dynamic panel data estimator. The changes in regional levels of poverty and real per capita public health expenditure are identified to be significant determinants of the variations observed in longevity over time. The empirical results indicate that while male life expectancy responds more strongly than female life expectancy to economic circumstances, the latter appears to be more predisposed to the influence of public health spending. The results support the idea that the (positive) effect of public health spending on life expectancy is larger for those regions that experience higher incidences of poverty. The paper also finds that the financial crisis which hit Russia at the end of 1998 had a significant negative effect on longevity independently of the factors directly related to poverty and public health spending.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Political Economy, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Anthony Shorrocks, Stanislav Kolenikov
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper applies a new decomposition technique to the study of variations in poverty across the regions of Russia. The procedure, which is based on the Shapley value in cooperative game theory, allows the deviation in regional poverty levels from the all- Russia average to be attributed to three proximate sources; mean income per capita, inequality, and local prices. Contrary to expectation, regional poverty variations turn out to be due more to differences in inequality across regions than to differences in real income per capita. However, when real income per capita is split into nominal income and price components, differences in nominal incomes emerge as more important than either inequality or price effects for the majority of regions.
  • Topic: Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Ruslan Yemtsov
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses regional data on inequality and poverty in Russia during 1994-2000 using published series from the regionally representative Household Budget Survey. The paper finds that the share of inequality in Russia coming from the between-regions component is large (close to a third of the total inequality), growing, and accounts for most of the increase in national inequality over 1994-2000. The paper demonstrates an absence of interregional convergence in incomes across Russian regions using various techniques. On the other hand, the paper finds evidence of convergence in inequality within regions, trended towards an internationally high level. Based on these two findings, the paper projects dynamics of inequality and poverty in Russia over a ten-year time horizon. The projections show that if the observed trend continues, by 2010 the absolute majority of Russia's poor will be concentrated in a few permanently impoverished regions, while relatively more affluent regions will become virtually free of poverty. Finally, the paper relates fluctuations in inequality within regions to a set of factors classified into four broad categories: endowments and initial conditions, preferences, policies, and shocks. Among these factors short-run fluctuations of the unemployment rate are revealed as significant and strong signals of inequality.
  • Topic: Demographics, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia
  • Author: Michael Förster, David Jesuit, Timothy Smeeding
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reports levels of income inequality and poverty in four Central and Eastern European countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Russia. Unlike many previous researchers who examine transition economies, we aggregate the detailed individual-level income surveys made available through the efforts of the Luxembourg Income Study at the regional level of analysis. Although national-level investigations have contributed much to our understanding of the income distribution dynamics, these studies mask intracountry variance in levels of income inequality and thus may not capture the true distribution of household income and accurately reflect individual wellbeing. Accordingly, we compute summary measures of inequality and relative poverty rates, using both local and national relative poverty lines, for the most recent waves of data available. We offer comparisons between regional and national median incomes and assess levels of inter- and intraregional income inequality. In addition, we make comparisons to regions within Western European countries and find that, contrary to what is often asserted, interregional disparities in Central and Eastern Europe countries are not as large as those found in some Western European countries.
  • Topic: Development, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Luxembourg
  • Author: Svetlana Glinkina, Dorothy Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We argue that the conflicts in the Caucasus are the result of the abrogation by the elite of the earlier, Soviet era, social contract. This process was accompanied by the collapse of the formal economy; evidenced by huge national income compression, falling public goods provision, and growing inequality and poverty. In the absence of state provision of basic amenities and governance, ordinary people are compelled to fall back on kinship ties. Declining standards of governance facilitate state-sponsored corruption and criminality in a setting where the shadow economic activity is increasingly important to individual survival strategies. Oil pipelines and the right to control the transit of goods both legal and illegal also underlie conflict in the region. Criminality has replaced ethnicity as the major motivation for conflict and conflict per se has become a lucrative source of income.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Asia, Soviet Union