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Costs of Living and Real Incomes in the Russian Regions

Gluschenko, Konstantin (2022): Costs of Living and Real Incomes in the Russian Regions.

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Abstract

Comparisons of well-being indicators in monetary terms across regions of a country do not provide insights into actual differences in well-being. The reason is variability of price levels across regions, especially in large countries like Russia. Thus, the indicators should be adjusted to the regional price levels, which, in turn, poses a problem of estimating such levels. In Russia, official data on price levels (termed cost-of-living indices) are available; however, they are by city/town rather than by region, so being unsuitable for regional studies. This paper describes the methodology of aggregating the city cost-of-living indices to the regional ones and presents the results obtained for 2016–2020. These results serve as a mean for estimation of price-adjusted regional incomes per capita (regional real incomes). As can be expected, taking account of regional costs of living smooths to some extent the pattern of regional inequality. A comparison of the European and Asian parts of Russia suggests that real income per capita in the latter permanently remains lower than in the former.

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