54th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regional development & globalisation: Best practices", 26-29 August 2014, St. Petersburg, Russia
Social disparities in Russia were increasing since transition started in the 1990s on the background of decline of all social indicators. In the first decade of 2000-th growth of economy contributed to improvement of wellbeing of population. Policy of budgetary alignment and state social policy carried out in the first 10 years of 2000-th at the expense of redistribution of a resource rent was aimed at mitigation of social disparities. This empirical paper attempts to add evidence on the issue of disparities and convergence in levels of living within regions and cities of the Russian Federation (the RF) in the period 2000-2011. Combination of regional and urban aspects of analysis allows making assessment and examination of inequalities in level of living more adequate. The study covers 79 regions and 193 cities of the RF with population over 100,000. The paper considers various components of level of living: income, poverty rate, employment, quality and affordability of housing, health care and education and analyzes their differences between regions and between cities and their evolution in time. Quantitative analysis was complemented by analysis of qualitative characteristics of health services, education, housing in regions and cities. Further quantitative assessment of level of living in regions and cities is made on the base of synthetic indicator of level of living. Introduced indicator comprises information of different indicators and allows classification of RF regions and cities and evaluation of disparities and convergence tendencies of levels of living. The analysis of dynamics of the synthetic indicators of level of living provides evidence for regional convergence of levels of living and a slight mitigation of inter-city inequality of levels of living. But within the considered set of cities we can observe groups of cities that characterized by different dynamics of levels of living. Analyzing these groups we made an attempt to identify the main factors that determine the spatial trends in inequality in levels of living.
Regional Disparities Level of living inequality cities regional capitals convergence divergence Russian Federation