Economic disengagement in state-society relations in Russia: A regional perspective

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Abstract

This paper makes the first attempt to measure economic disengagement in state-society relations on a regional level, using the case of Russia. An original composite index was calculated based on a number of indicators measuring different spheres of contact between the state and society. The study examines regional diversity in intensity of economic disengagement in state-society relations in Russia. It also attempts to identify determinants of economic disengagement on a regional level. Seeking to identify regional level predictors of the intensity of disengagement, the study focuses on the specificity of the Russian space – its federal structure based on a combination of territorial and ethnic principles. The results show that economic disengagement is least intense in regions belonging to the Russian Far North, which points to the role of physical-geographical factors and path dependence. They also reveal that residents of ethnically-defined regions tend to be less economically disengaged than residents of oblasts and krays. Moreover, the share of ethnic Russians is positively related to economic disengagement in the former regions, while it is not significant in the latter. These findings potentially point to differences between ethnic Russians and members of titular groups in terms of their intensity of interaction with the state in the economic sphere.

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