The Soviet Household under the Old Regime: Economic Conditions and Behaviour in the 1970s

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This book provides the most detailed analysis to date of the economics of the Soviet urban household sector during the 1970s. It contains nine studies covering the size distribution of incomes and wealth, the incidence and causes of poverty, the labor supply of women, division of labor among household members and saving behavior. All these studies are based on a unique source of information: the returns of retrospective income surveys of Jewish immigrants to Israel and the United States and in each study Gur Ofer and Aaron Vinokur employ a cross-sectional econometric analysis of the data on individual households.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Everyone interested in the comparative behavior of households as they react to their economic environment will find these studies highly informative." Journal of Economic Literature

"This volume illustrates the best of the old Sovietology as practiced by 'pros.' Its usefulness will grow over time—mainly for historians, as the title suggests. The title echoes many books that appeared after 1917 describing an earlier 'old regime.'" Slavic Review

"...will be of interest to microeconomists generally, as a study of behavior in a different economic environment, to labor economists and economic demographers, to those interested in the role of women in the economy, and of course to Soviet and post-Soviet specialists." Joseph M. Nowakowski, Southern Economic Journal

'Ofer and Vinokur's studies show the power of carefully drawn and analyzed samples. Working with a far-from-ideal sample — Soviet emigrants to Israel — they were able to reweight the sample with the result that their sample came remarkably close to replicating the basic published characteristics of the Soviet population such as average wages....Ofer and Vinokur show that major progress in social-science research is not made cheaply or overnight. These results show what a decade or more of careful research can yield. Unfortunately, there are too few such research projects that combine such patience, perseverance, and theoretical and methodological competence." Paul Gregory, Journal of Economic History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521383981
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Introduction: economics of the Soviet urban household in the 1970s 1
1 Introduction 1
2 Western theory and Soviet reality 4
3 The sample, the data, and biases 7
4 A framework of analysis in the Soviet environment 16
5 The main findings 17
6 Conclusion 40
Ch. 2 Private sources of income of the Soviet urban household 44
1 Introduction 44
2 Private sector earnings and incomes 47
3 Buying in private markets and from private people 85
4 Conclusion 100
Ch. 3 Soviet household saving 111
1 Introduction 111
2 Variables influencing Soviet household saving 112
3 The data and variables 119
5 Conclusion 133
Ch. 4 Inequality of earnings, household income and wealth in the Soviet Union in the 1970s 136
1 Introduction 136
2 Inequality of wages 140
3 The level, structure, and size distribution of household income 148
4 A note on the concentration of wealth 161
5 Conclusion 163
Ch. 5 The distributive effects of the Social Consumption Fund in the Soviet Union 168
1 Introduction 168
2 The SCF in 1973 official data and immigrant samples 171
3 Distribution of SCF allowances by work status and income groups 176
4 The effect of SCF on poverty and income distribution 184
5 Comparisons and conclusion 189
Ch. 6 The size and the structure of population in poverty in the Soviet Union 194
1 Introduction 194
2 Concepts of income and poverty and definitions of poverty lines 196
3 The extent of poverty and its characteristics 201
4 The effect of SCF, taxes and private income on poverty 214
5 The causes of poverty 219
6 Some international comparisons 222
7 Conclusion 225
Ch. 7 Earning differentials by sex in the Soviet Union: a first look 229
1 Introduction 229
2 The theory of earning differentials by sex 230
3 Equations, variables, and data 239
4 Results and interpretation 243
5 Conclusion: observations in a comparative context 262
Ch. 8 Work and family roles of Soviet women: historical trends and cross-section analysis 271
1 Introduction 271
2 A survey of historical trends 275
3 Short-term cross-sectional analysis of participation and hours worked 285
4 The cycle participation, fertility, and education 303
5 Conclusion 310
Appendix: Demographic and economic characteristics of the sample and of the Soviet urban population 319
1 Introduction 319
2 The demographic, social, and economic composition of the sample 319
3 Income and wages 344
4 Level and structure of expenditures and consumption 353
5 Consumer durables and housing conditions 360
6 Conclusion 364
References 371
Index 389
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