Wage arrears and economic voting in Russia

Type Journal Article - American Political Science Review
Title Wage arrears and economic voting in Russia
Volume 100
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 133-145
URL https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/wage-arrears-and-e​conomic-voting-in-russia/4CE1332755A04C08179B4C8234DDDED5
This paper revisits the issue of economic voting in the context of the 1996 Presidential Election in Russia. The election was branded as a fundamental choice between capitalism and communism, yet voters were also grappling with a large crisis of personal finances: about one in two workers experienced nonpayments of wages at the time of the elections. The analysis exploits a rich nationally representative household panel dataset to identify the impact of wage arrears on the second-round election outcome. Wage arrears reduced the vote for the incumbent President Yeltsin among workers from around 65% to 49%, which amounts to a drop of 4% in the Yeltsin vote in the second round. Support for Yeltsin vote declined with the amount of wage arrears at the time of the vote and with wage arrears in 1995. Wage arrears led more voters to believe the government to be noncaring and to favor income restrictions for the rich. Political attitudes of working men changed more than those of working women.

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