Forschungslabor: „Geschichte und Sozialanthropologie Südost‐ und Osteuropas“
Zeit: Donnerstag, 14–16 Uhr (Lehrstuhl) oder 16–18 Uhr (Graduiertenschule und Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus)
Ort: WiOS, Landshuter Str. 4 (Raum 017)
Who Profits from Oil Windfalls in Russian Regions? Inequality, Decentralized Tax Revenues, and Corruption
We investigate the relationship between oil windfalls and income inequality using the 2005-2018 panel on the Russian regions. Previous literature has studied this issue in a cross-country setting and used an aggregate measure of oil rents, producing contradictory findings. We contribute to the literature by examining income inequality within Russia – one of the resource-richest and most unequal countries in the world – focusing exclusively on the oil rents that accrue to the regional governments. We first look at the 2005-2012 period when oil tax revenues were shared with the regional governments. We find that in the regions with more intense rent-seeking as measured by registered cases of bribery and embezzlement, the plausibly exogenous increase in tax revenue due to an increase in international oil prices disproportionately benefited the richest quintile of the population and increased income inequality. We also find that positive oil price shocks combined with increased rent-seeking reduced the share of labor income in the region but increased the income share from unidentified sources, which are traditionally associated with corruption. However, after the Russian government discontinued oil tax revenue sharing with regional governments, oil price shocks ceased to affect regional income inequality. Our main findings suggest that rent-seeking plays a crucial mediating role in the interaction between oil windfalls and income inequality with important implications for policies on taxing natural resources and redistribution.