Journal section "Social and economic development"

The Scale of Inequality and the Specifics of Its Perception in Modern Russia

Belekhova G.V.

Volume 16, Issue 1, 2023

Belekhova G.V. (2023). The scale of inequality and the specifics of its perception in modern Russia. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 16(1), 164–185. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.1.85.9

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.1.85.9

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
Inequality is a key socio-economic development challenge for the world as a whole and for individual countries. In Russia, the problem of inequality is particularly acute, since the scale and depth of differences in the population’s income greatly exceed the “conditional levels” of normal inequality. In this regard, it is important to prevent the development of negative socio-political processes and the deterioration of public sentiments. The article’s purpose is to determine the peculiarities of the Russian population’s perception of the existing inequality and its manifestations in the country. Using the data from Rosstat and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, we prove that inequality in Russia is large in scale and persists throughout the post-reform period of the country’s development without a clear focus on reducing the depth of polarization of the extreme income groups. We use the data of a cross-country representative study under the program ISSP, conducted in 2019, to examine the perception of inequality by the population of Russia and some foreign countries, specifically the subjective assessment of the depth of inequality, its fairness, the role of the state in reducing income disparities, the features of the redistribution system (role of taxes), accessibility of health and education services, the degree of conflict (dislike) between the poor and the rich. We show that the perception of inequality by Russians differs from the perception of other countries’ residents with a more expressed critical assessment of the depth, injustice, social conflict and ineffectiveness of government actions to reduce income disparities. We find that the population does not show tolerance to non-monetary dimensions of inequality, considering unfair the opportunity of rich people to purchase high quality medical and educational services. We reveal that there are no significant differences in the perception of inequality in different socio-demographic and socio-economic groups of the population. Attention is drawn to the fact that the subjective perception of inequality lies to a greater extent in the field of ideas about a fair social order than it is unambiguously determined by the level of income


social justice, gini coefficient, inequality, income inequality, Gini coefficient, subjective evaluation, public demand for redistribution

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