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­­­Sociological studies of modern Russian markets

Priority areas of development: sociology
Department: Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research: Development of economic-sociological approach to the study of modern Russian markets (for example, retailers, financial and educational services, alcohol products, freelance) and sectors (for example, light industry).

Methodology: Quantitative and qualitative research methods

Empirical base of research: Nationwide survey of the population, representing the adult (over 18) population of the Russian Federation on the gender, age, employment status and the type of settlement in which the respondent lives, as well as some federal districts of Russia. The scheme provides a sample of respondents with the following characteristics:

  • The total amount - 1,600 people.,
  • The number of subjects of the Russian Federation, in which the sample is realized - at least 40;
  • The number of settlements (administrative territorial units - ATE) - at least 150;
  • The number of respondents in one settlement (ATE) - at least five people.

sampling error - 3.4%

Time of the survey - October-November 2014

Results of research:

In the sphere of retail trade.

First: the expected mitigation of contract conditions for suppliers is not achieved.

Second: the size of suppliers, as usual, does not influence significantly on derived results.

Third: if just after the enactment of the ‘Trade act’ both – retailers and suppliers – were almost completely unanimous in assessments of requirements changes that applied for suppliers, after the three years the unanimity between them became less prominent.

Fourth: the difference between two sectors – food and nonfood products – does not influence significantly on assessments of rigidity of contract conditions and their changes.

Fifth: contrary to assurances and expectations, in the opinion of market participants, small business benefits visibly less than big business, the suppliers do not gain remarkable advantages compared to retail trade, and not the ultimate consumers who benefit more from the new conditions, but officialdoms.

In the sphere of credit behavior of population.

According to macroeconomic and banking reporting at the period of ‘retail boom’ in 2011-2012 among all segments of retail market the highest growth rate were registered in the portfolio of straight loans.

The portfolio of straight loans for population during the period 01.07.2011 to 01.07.2012 was increased by 65% and has become approximately 4,1 bln. Rubbles.

Retail banks gradually started to mitigate the conditions of crediting and came out into the more risky segments with higher nominal rates for increasing client base and supporting profitability of business.

In the sphere of saving behavior of population.

The propensity to save which was noticed at the period of economic crisis in 2008-2009, has been stabilized at the level of 10% of the total amount of population’s income.

In the sphere of bank cards and electronic money.

Among all cardholders 21 % owns 1 credit card while 4% has 2 or more cards.

Despite the wide variety of bank card applications, the payment of goods and services by card has not yet become a routine practice for cardholders.

The share of those who had to take a loan during the past three years is the highes among credit card holders – 79%, among debit card holders – 49% and among those who does not possess a bank card – 30%.

In general the credit card holders have used loans more often for purchasing furniture, automobiles, real estate, and housing repair.

In the sphere of pension strategies of population.

The pension strategies of Russians who have not yet retired have not been changed positively since 2005. The majority of people suppose that national pension will not be enough for normal life when they retire. However they do not realize any other strategies to form additional sources of income for the pension period.

The paid employment is still most popular strategy for maintaining consumption at the pension period.

In the sphere of legitimation of informal payments.

Some of legitimation methods of informal practices, in policemen’s eyes, could be managed and abolished, like, as an example, the logic of justification which is connected with policemen’s expenses of  material maintenances of the law enforcement system  - the logic of justification, which is lean on low salary rate as an a green signal for increasing personal income by informal payments.  

In the sphere of alcohol production market.

The differences in structure of alcohol drinks consumption is a significant symbolic characteristics of social groups in Russia, mainly gender, age, educational and income ones.  

The high dependence between different types of alcohol consumption and social classes is revealed in modern Russia.

In the sphere of freelance.

Social ties play important role in searching the job for freelancers. In general freelancers more often rely on their social channels while searching for a job, connected with permanent clients and recommendations from previous clients, colleagues, friends and  acquaintances (83%). The market methods, which are based on searching for clients through Internet, are used rarely (68%). At the same time, every third freelancer (32%) gets orders exclusively through social channels, i.e. not touching the anonymous market.




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Radaev V. V. The Re-emergence of Sociology in Russia, in: Routledge Handbook of European Sociology. L., NY : Routledge, 2014. P. 426-440.
Karabchuk T., Soboleva N. The Impact of Precarious Work on Subjective Well-Being across Europe: Does Labour Legislation Matter? // Social Forces. 2015
Kuzina O. E. The Financial capability of Russians: Measurement and Policy Implication / NRU HSE. Series WP9 "Серия WP9 «Исследования по экономике и финансам»". 2015.