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Comparative Analysis of Societal Developments in Post-Socialist Countries

2009

In this research project we attempt to distinguish and explain some differences in the character of social and economic inequality between West and East-European societies with a special focus on Russia.

More exactly, analyzing the well-known data set of the European Social Survey 2006/2007 we show that there is a far stronger degree of matching between individual occupation, education and income in better developed European countries than is observed among the post-socialist states. To emphasize this finding we also look at the differences in patterns of intergenerational mobility, according to which the post-socialist societies are far less mobile and ‘meritocratic’ than their Western counterparts. The main theoretical argument behind this, we suggest, is the incompatibility of modern ‘capitalistic’ institutions, such as private property and market, with historical and cultural contexts of development in post-socialist countries. To test this argument we develop the corresponding scale and superpose it with my empirical findings. From this point of view Russia is regarded as one of the least successful cases of transformation, since the initial conditions of its social change were less consistent with the logic of Western modernization, which stood behind the radical reforms of the 1990s, than in any other post-socialist European country.