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The Politics of Inflation and the Distribution of Income in Early 1990s Russia

ICSID and NES Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions held another joint Research Seminar on Diversity and Development on May 23, 2018.

Chris Miller, Assistant Professor in the Fletcher School at the Tufts University, USA, was invited to give a talk on "The Politics of Inflation and the Distribution of Income in Early 1990s Russia".

Abstract: This paper will reexamine the failure to stabilize prices, making use of newly collected sources from the State Archive of the Russian Federation as well as Yegor Gaidar’s personal archive. First, the paper will examine the Gaidar team’s views of inflation in 1991 and their expectations and preferences for 1992 and 1993. Then, the paper will reconstruct debates about inflation and monetary policy during the crucial years of 1992 and 1993, illustrating the extent to which Russia’s legislature, the Verkhovny Sovet, demanded policies that made price stabilization impossible. Finally, the paper will explore the distributional effects of the inflation, concluding by noting that the inflation’s reduction of household well-being is consistent with the thesis that firms and their representatives in the Verkhovny Sovet pushed the policies that made inflation inevitable.

The event was held jointly with the seminar “Political Economy”.