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SPP 215

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP & Ian McAllister, U. of New South Wales
Description: Whereas officially recorded income is the accepted measure of welfare in a modern market economy, Sovietologists have never accepted that official statistics of money income are sufficient in a stressful command economy. The first section sets out alternative models of the role of money, including a "stressful" model that takes into account production in the unofficial money economy, household production and political power. The second section presents evidence from a nationwide Russian sample survey in January, 1992, the moment when the transition from the command to a market economy commenced. It shows a wide distribution of money income. The relative importance of "modern" as against "stressful" influences upon money incomes is tested in section three; both are statistically significant. Notwithstanding wide variations in income, there is no relationship between money income and a minimum and meaningful measure of welfare, the capacity of a household to get by, that is, to sustain itself indefinitely with a portfolio of economic activities, non-monetized as well as monetized.

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