This article examines poverty dynamics in the Russian Federation from 1994 through the financial crisis in the late 1990s and into the more recent economic recovery. The severity of poverty in the Russian Federation is found to stem largely from transient, rather than chronic, spells of economic hardship. Exposure to transient poverty is strongly influenced by household levels of workforce participation, educational assets and physical assets, as well as by local economic conditions. Workforce participation and physical assets also mitigate exposure to chronic poverty. The importance of these determinants of transient and chronic poverty appears to change in the pre-crisis and post-crisis periods. But the severity of chronic poverty does not increase, suggesting that the combined movement towards a market economy and the financial crisis did not generate a new underclass of chronically poor households.
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