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Economic Inequality in Imperial and Modern Russia in the Context of Political Instability

Lukkari, Valeria LU (2017) EKHS11 20171
Department of Economic History
Abstract
Contemporary Russia is among some of the most unequal countries. After the fall of the Soviet Union, economic inequality has rapidly increased, and social discontent is rising as demonstrated by the continuous protests that culminated in opposition rallies during March 2017. Despite these events, political stability characterizes the current conditions of the Russian regime. What are the forces maintaining the stability of the government in an environment of rising economic inequality and social unrest? In order to answer this question, the current thesis studies the Imperial period that saw a regime change through the Revolution of 1917. By comparing these periods and applying the theory of inequality and political instability on both... (More)
Contemporary Russia is among some of the most unequal countries. After the fall of the Soviet Union, economic inequality has rapidly increased, and social discontent is rising as demonstrated by the continuous protests that culminated in opposition rallies during March 2017. Despite these events, political stability characterizes the current conditions of the Russian regime. What are the forces maintaining the stability of the government in an environment of rising economic inequality and social unrest? In order to answer this question, the current thesis studies the Imperial period that saw a regime change through the Revolution of 1917. By comparing these periods and applying the theory of inequality and political instability on both periods, this thesis hopes to shed light on the issue at hand. Since there is an abundance of research on economic inequality in modern Russia, but very scarce information on this aspect in the Tsarist era, an additional measure of inequality is constructed in the form of factory workers’ labor income shares of the total national income.

Contrary to the conventional knowledge, this thesis identifies that inequality between the working class and the elites might have been at a slightly higher level in the Imperial period compared to the present as measured by labor income shares of factory workers in total national income. Despite this, economic inequality in contemporary Russia is extraordinary and inspires the question of what differs the current conditions from the conditions in the Tsarist era. This study looks at state capacity, the stabilizing effect of the middle class, and the ostensible equality of opportunity as potential explanations of this matter. Additionally, it aims at extending our understanding of the interplay between the forces of economic inequality and political instability and elucidating the factors affecting political instability in different times. (Less)
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author
Lukkari, Valeria LU
supervisor
organization
course
EKHS11 20171
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Economic inequality, political instability, Russia, labor income share
language
English
id
8916028
date added to LUP
2017-06-21 08:46:20
date last changed
2017-06-21 08:46:20
@misc{8916028,
  abstract     = {Contemporary Russia is among some of the most unequal countries. After the fall of the Soviet Union, economic inequality has rapidly increased, and social discontent is rising as demonstrated by the continuous protests that culminated in opposition rallies during March 2017. Despite these events, political stability characterizes the current conditions of the Russian regime. What are the forces maintaining the stability of the government in an environment of rising economic inequality and social unrest? In order to answer this question, the current thesis studies the Imperial period that saw a regime change through the Revolution of 1917. By comparing these periods and applying the theory of inequality and political instability on both periods, this thesis hopes to shed light on the issue at hand. Since there is an abundance of research on economic inequality in modern Russia, but very scarce information on this aspect in the Tsarist era, an additional measure of inequality is constructed in the form of factory workers’ labor income shares of the total national income. 

Contrary to the conventional knowledge, this thesis identifies that inequality between the working class and the elites might have been at a slightly higher level in the Imperial period compared to the present as measured by labor income shares of factory workers in total national income. Despite this, economic inequality in contemporary Russia is extraordinary and inspires the question of what differs the current conditions from the conditions in the Tsarist era. This study looks at state capacity, the stabilizing effect of the middle class, and the ostensible equality of opportunity as potential explanations of this matter. Additionally, it aims at extending our understanding of the interplay between the forces of economic inequality and political instability and elucidating the factors affecting political instability in different times.},
  author       = {Lukkari, Valeria},
  keyword      = {Economic inequality,political instability,Russia,labor income share},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Economic Inequality in Imperial and Modern Russia in the Context of Political Instability},
  year         = {2017},
}