What Should Regional Inequality in Living Standards Be?
The high inequality in the living standards of Russians is a widely known issue. The specialists, who study this problem, have long since attracted attention to its scale. Neither it is a surprise for the authorities, who have declared the high level of regional differentiation one of the major challenges on the course of implementing the Concept of Long-Term Development until 2020. But here is the paradox: the official estimations of government executives’ efficiency (central as well as municipal) do not reveal a great number of indicators which describe the living standards of the population. We are going to focus on this problem one more time.
For 15 years now All-Russian Welfare Centre has been conducting the monitoring of incomes and living standards in Russian Federation and all of its regions. It is based on the primary data from budget studies of households, which then get analyzed by the experts according to methods and indicators developed by ARWC. Of course, the quality of primary information leads to some deviations, most likely in Southern federal district and a number of regions-megapolises. Although it can be claimed that major tendencies are estimated as correct and do not distort the actual processes. They are, what we think, that very macroeconomic carcass which enhances the specification of characteristics by extending the factors under consideration with particular data from sociological research.
Keywords: social inequality, living standards, welfare indicators, Russian regions