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PutinomicsPower and Money in Resurgent Russia$
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Chris Miller

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469640662

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640662.001.0001

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Wages and Welfare

Wages and Welfare

Chapter:
(p.98) Chapter 6 Wages and Welfare
Source:
Putinomics
Author(s):

Chris Miller

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469640662.003.0006

As Russia’s firms got more productive, living standards shot up. For one thing, companies started offering far more variety. The consumer paradise that advocates of a market economy had promised long-suffering Russians finally arrived. At the same time, higher productivity meant higher wages. Real wages increased every year of Putin’s presidency until 2014, averaging 15% per year from 2000 to 2008. At the same time, higher tax collection let the government boost pension payouts, helping older Russians, almost all of whom relied on state pensions as their primary source of retirement income. Yet higher pensions did not augur the return of an extensive welfare state, as the government eliminated many benefits. At the same time, the government kept labor protections weak, and Russia’s labor market continues to be far more flexible than many other European countries. Encouraged by his liberal economic advisers, Putin has implemented economically orthodox welfare and labor market policies, earning solid marks from the IMF. The tremendous wage growth of the 2000s, however, meant that most Russians were happy to ignore weak social protections in exchange for an ever-expanding paycheck.

Keywords:   Living standards, Productivity, Wages, Welfare, Pensions, Tax, Labor market

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