Support for reducing inequality in the new Russia

Does social mobility matter?

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v8i2.782
Abstract Views: 18 PDF Downloads: 36

Keywords:

social mobility, income inequality, inequality perceptions, POUM hypothesis, Russia

Abstract

This paper addresses the issue of the interrelation between different types of social mobility and support for reducing income inequality in contemporary Russia. Drawing from the Russian subsets of the International Social Survey Programme’s (ISSP) surveys, we estimate how this support is differentiated across experienced and expected subjective mobility. Official statistics and empirical survey data widely confirm that the large-scale socioeconomic changes that took place in Russia during the 2000s brought an increase in living standards for most population groups and a more-than-twofold reduction in poverty. However, according to the ISSP data, demand for the government to reduce income differences is at its highest level since 1992. More than 90 per cent of Russians unequivocally perceive income gaps in the country as too high (the same as in the late 1990s) and unfair. We test the effects of actual and expected mobility, showing that, in contrast to the literature, including earlier studies on Russia, past mobility and expected medium-term mobility do not have any significant effect on levels of support for reducing income differences, and only the effect of short-term expectations can be seen. We argue that the effect of social mobility in Russia is limited by a widespread consensus across the population that preexisting inequalities in Russia are too high and unfair – a viewpoint based mostly not on the specifics of individual situations, including experienced or expected mobility, but on shared subjective norms and beliefs about inequality and their contrast with existing reality.

Author Biographies

Svetlana Mareeva, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Svetlana Mareeva is Candidate of Sciences in Sociology (2009), Head of Center for Stratification Studies at National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). Research interests: inequality, perceptions of social inequality, social structure, social stratification. Author of over 100 publications, incl. papers in international and Russian peer reviewed journals (Social Indicators Research, Demokratizatsiya, Studies of Transition States and Societies); monographs Middle Class: Theory and Reality (2009, co-authored, in Russian) and Income Stratification Model of Russian Society. Dynamics. Factors. International Comparisons (2018, co-authored, in Russian); chapters in monographs on the results of international projects (Handbook on Social Stratification in the BRIC Countries. Change and Perspective (2013), Handbook of the Sociology of Youth in BRICS Countries (2018)); chapters in Russian monographs. Head and member of several research projects, including international, on social structure and social processes in Russian society.

Ekaterina Slobodenyuk, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia)

Ekaterina Slobodenyuk is Candidate of Sciences in Sociology (2014), Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Center for Stratification Studies at National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). Research interests: poverty, social structure, social stratification. Author of 25 publications, incl. papers in international and Russian peer reviewed journals and chapters in Russian monographs; monograph Income stratification model of Russian Society. Dynamics. Factors. International Comparisons (2018, co-authored, in Russian). Member of several research projects on social structure of Russian society.

Vasiliy Anikin, National Research University Higher School of Economics

Vasiliy Anikin is Candidate of Science in Population Economics (2011), Ph.D. in Sociology (University of Essex, 2018), Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Center for Stratification Studies at National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). Research interests: inequality, occupational structure, social mobility, human capital, development, post-transition. Author of over 90 publications, incl. papers in international and Russian peer reviewed journals and chapters in Russian monographs; monograph Income stratification model of Russian Society. Dynamics. Factors. International Comparisons (2018, co-authored, in Russian). Member of several research projects on social structure of Russian society.

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Published

2022-07-30

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Section

Social mobility