Excessive Income Inequality – Problems and Threats for Russia

Varshavsky A.E.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Prof., Head of laboratory CEMI RAS, Moscow, Russia varshav@cemi.rssi.ru

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250006136-2
ID of the Article: 7773

For citation:

Varshavsky A.E. Excessive Income Inequality – Problems and Threats for Russia. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 8. P. 52-61


The paper discusses issues related to excessive income inequality in Russia. Different estimates of the income inequality of the population are given and it is demonstrated that inequality has returned to the level that existed in the country before 1917. External and internal factors are discussed of the inequality sharp increase after the transition to market economy. Significant problems caused by excessive inequality and slowing down economic growth, hindering the innovative development of Russia and leading to increased social tension are characterized. It is shown that considerable spatial inequality threatens to territorial integrity of the country and, in general, national security. The necessity of reviewing the state policy of income redistribution, transition to a progressive taxation rate with the aim of eliminating excessive income inequality and the problems caused by it, are substantiated.

income inequality; inequality growth factors; income redistribution; progressive taxation rate


Ayvazian S. (1997) A Model of Formation of Distribution of the Population of Russia by the Size of the Average per Capita Income. Ekonomika i matematicheskie metody [Economics and Mathematical Methods]. Vol. 33. No. 4: 74–86. (In Russ.)

Frank R. (2007) Richistan: A Journey through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich. New York: Crown Publishers.

Galbraith J., Priest C., Purcell G. (2006) Economic Equality and Victory in War: An Empirical Investigation. UTIP Working Paper. No. 37. June, 13th.

Goncharenko I. (2006) The System of Taxes in the United States. In: Topical Issues of Administrative and Financial Law: collection of scientific papers. Moscow: MGIMO-Universitet MID Rossii: 41–66. (In Russ.)

Jaksch H. (1974) Income Distribution as an Objective in Development Planning. DE Economist. Vol. 122. No 1: 1–22.

Kolenikov S.A., Ayvazian S. (2001) The Poverty Level and Differentiation of Population of Russia Expenses (Research report No. 01/01). Moscow: RPEI. (In Russ.)

Koshkina A. (2018) To Help out with Food. Prophil [Profile]. No. 21. URL: https://profile.ru/society/ vyruchat-iz-edy-3448 (accessed 25.05.2019). (In Russ.)

Krugman P. (2009) The Conscience of a Liberal. Moscow: Evropa. (In Russ.)

Lenin V.I. (1971) Complete works. Edition 5-E. T. 3. Moscow: Izd-vo polit. lit-ry.

Mareeva S.V., Tixonova N.E. (2016) Public Perceptions of Poverty and Social Inequality in Russia. Mir Rossii [Universe of Russia]. Vol. 25. No. 2: 37–67. (In Russ.)

Matytsin M.S., Ershov E.B. (2012) Study of Differentiation of the Russian Population by Real Income. Ekonomicheskij zhurnal VShE [HSE Economic Journal]. Vol. 16. No. 3: 318–340. (In Russ.)

Milanovic B. (2017) Global Inequality. A New Approach to the Era of Globalization. Moscow: In-t Gajdara. (In Russ.)

Novokmet F., Piketty T., Zucman G. (2017) From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905–2016. NBER Working Paper. No. 23712. August.

Ovcharova L.N., Pishniak A.I., Popova D.O., Shepeleva E.V. (2013) Changes in Income and Consumption of Russian Households: from Poverty to the Middle Class. SPERO. No. 18: 7–36. (In Russ.)

Ovcharova L.N., Popova D.O., Rudberg M.A. (2016) Decomposition of the Factors of Income Inequality in Modern Russia. Zhurnal NEA [Journal of the NEA]. No. 3(31): 170–185. (In Russ.)

Piketty T. (2016) Capital in the Twenty-first Century. Moscow: Ad Marguinem Press. (In Russ.)

Pisarev I.Yu. (1966) Population and Labor in the USSR. Moscow: Ekonomika. (In Russ.)

Shcherbakova E. (2014) Monetary Incomes of the Population of the EU-28 Differ by 3.8 Times, Monetary Incomes of Households – 7.3 Times. Demoskop Weekly. 2014. 25.08–07.09. (In Russ.).

Shevyakov A.Yu. (2010) Social Inequality: Impediment to the Economic and Demographic Growth. Uroven' zhizni naseleniya regionov Rossii [Living Standards and Quality of Life]. No. 5: 38–52. (In Russ.)

Shevyakov A.Yu., Kiruta A.Ya. (2009) Inequality, Economic Growth and Demography: Unexplored Relationships. Moscow: M-Studio. (In Russ.)

Stiglitz J. (2015) The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future. Moscow: EKSMO. (In Russ.).

Suvorov A.V. (2001) Income and Consumption of the Population: Macroeconomic Analysis and Forecasting. Moscow: MAKS Press. (In Russ.)

The Wealth Report 2017. (2017) Knight Frank Research.

Trade and Development Report, 2012. (2012) Ch. III: Evolution of Income Inequality: Different Time Perspectives and Dimensions. UN.

Tikhonova N.E. (ed.) (2018) Model of Income Stratification of Russian Society: Dynamics, Factors, Crosscountry Comparisons. Moscow: Nestor-Istoriya. (In Russ.)

Tikhonova N.E. (2018) Stratification by Life Chances of Mass Strata of Modern Russian Society. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. No. 6: 53–65. (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E. (2016) Excessive Inequality: Threats, Directions of the Problem Solution. Conceptsii [Concepts]. No. 1: 83–93 (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E. (2017) Model of Inequality Described by a Finite Functional Sequence with a Characteristic Polynomial Whose Roots Lie on the Unit Circle. Concepcii [Concepts]. No. 1: 73–83. (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E. (2010) Problems of Mutual Changes of the Main Components of Social Stratifcation under the Shocks. Ekonomika i matematicheskie metody [Economics and Mathematical Methods]. Vol. 46. No. 2: 3–22. (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E. (2014) Questionable Innovations: Risks for Humankind. Economic, Social, Ethical Aspects. Moscow: LENAND. (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E. (2007) Significant Reduction of Income Inequality is the Most Important Condition for the Transition to an Innovative Economy Based on Knowledge. Ekonomika i matematicheskie metody [Economics and Mathematical Methods]. Vol. 43. No. 4: 35–55. (In Russ.)

Varshavsky A.E., Vinokurova N.A., Nikonova M.A. (2011) The Scientific Pedagogical Cadres of Russia. Russian Education & Society. Vol. 53. No. 12: 67–81.

World Health Organization. European Health Information Gateway. URL: https://gateway.euro.who. int/en/hfa-explorer/# (accessed 25.05.2019).

Content No 8, 2019