Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Support for Reform in Russia Has Withered

In 1994, 2000, and 2004, surveys of Russian households were administered to determine economic conditions and support for reform among the citizenry. The data collected from 2000 and 1994 showed that there was an increase in support for reform that was statistically significant. However, data show that between 2000 and 2004, there was a substantial decline in support for reform. Why is this and who is in favor of reform?

In 1992 Yeltsin’s reform program went into effect and the 2004 data showed that there was a difference between men and women’s support of reform. In 1994 only 30.0 percent of women supported reform compared to 40.1 percent of men. The difference between the sexes is statistically significant, and was attributed to a breakdown in social support programs characterizing the old Communist system. It was hypothesized and sometimes demonstrated that women benefited more from this system than men.

However 2000 data show a statistically significant increase in support for reform for both sexes with support for reform growing to 47.7 percent for men and 35 percent for women. In December of 1999 Yeltsin left office and was replaced by Acting President Vladimir Putin. Putin was elected in popular elections in May 2000. During Yeltsin’s presidency there were several scandals as well as a poor market economy with weak GDP growth each year. Since 1999 when Putin finished Yeltsin’s term and then was elected and re-elected in 2004, there has been strong growth in GDP each year, as well as positive projections for the future. Soaring oil prices since 1999 were primarily responsible for the economic strengthening.

Despite growth in the Russian economy, data from the 2004 survey show that there has been a small decrease in both men's and women’s support for reform since 2000. Disaggregating the data show that despite the widespread belief that women are less supportive of market reform, high income women are more supportive of market reform than men with the same income. In other words, women who have been economically successful are very supportive of the economic reforms begun in 1994. By ignoring income, past research has understated women’s positive support for Russian economic reform.

Guest Blogger:
Brittney Maloley
Creighton GRA, College of Business

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