DOI: 10.1177/000312240206700501 ISSN:

Structural Change and Post-Socialist Stratification: Labor Market Transitions in Contemporary Russia

Theodore P. Gerber
  • Sociology and Political Science

In Russia, market transition has led to sweeping structural changes: a long recession, growth of the private sector, expansion of certain branches of the economy and contraction of others, a decrease in average firm size, and regional differentiation in economic performance. These structural changes had important consequences for stratification through their effects on individual labor market outcomes. Analyses of nine types of individual labor market transitions in Russia using 1991–1997 work-history data show that structural location has strong effects. Human capital and membership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union also influence labor market prospects, but not in ways consistent with general theories about how market transition affects stratification processes. Structural change plays a key role in determining the impact of market reforms on stratification. But market transition produces variable patterns of structural change in different countries and in different regions within a single country. The structural perspective demonstrates why market transition has variable consequences for stratification: Different prior conditions and reform policies produce different patterns of structural change.

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