nep-cis New Economics Papers
on Confederation of Independent States
Issue of 2021‒10‒11
three papers chosen by

  1. Russia in Africa: Is great power competition returning to the continent? By Paczyńska, Agnieszka
  2. Oil Prices, Exchange Rates and Sectoral Stock Returns in the BRICS-T Countries: A Time-Varying Approach By Guglielmo Maria Caporale; Abdurrahman Nazif Catik; Gül Serife Huyugüzel Kisla; Mohamad Husam Helmi; Coskun Akdeniz
  3. Who Profits from Windfalls in Oil Tax Revenue? Inequality, Protests, and the Role of Corruption By Michael Alexeev; Nikita Zakharov

  1. By: Paczyńska, Agnieszka
    Abstract: Since 2014, Russian involvement in Africa has grown significantly. African leaders have been receptive to these overtures as a result of increasing concerns about growing Chinese dominance, retrenchment of the United States (US) and their interest in diversifying trading and security partners. Russia cultivates these relationships by relying on the legacy of the Soviet Union's support for anti-colonial and liberation movements, and focuses on strengthening diplomatic, military and economic collaborations. This analysis shows that: * Overall, Russia's strategy in Africa appears to involve a mix of arms sales, political support to authoritarian leaders and security collaborations - in exchange for mining rights, business opportunities and diplomatic support for Russia's foreign policy preferences. The offers of military assistance and political support, especially for authoritarian leaders, have opened doors to Russian firms and strengthened diplomatic relationships. The support of African allies has been especially important to Russia at the United Nations (UN), where African countries account for a quarter of all votes in the General Assembly. * Russian trade and investment in Africa has grown significantly, particularly in north Africa. Yet, Russia remains a minor economic player on the continent in comparison to China, India or the US. Russia's support for smaller states, especially those that have been internationally shunned, gives Moscow significant influence in those countries. * As of autumn 2019, Russia had concluded military cooperation agreements with 21 African countries and is negotiating the establishment of military bases in a number of states. It is also providing counter-terrorism training. Russia is currently the largest supplier of arms to the continent. * Russia is increasing efforts to influence elections. Its strategy focuses on shoring up authoritarian strongmen in unstable yet resource-rich states thus bolstering these regimes' ability to persist. These priorities are in stark contrast to popular opinion on the continent, which favours democracy. * Russia remains a relatively minor economic and political player on the continent, and European Union (EU) and US concerns that Russian expansion in Africa draws the continent into a broader geopolitical struggle between great powers are overstated. * Germany and the EU should counter Russian assistance to authoritarian leaders by bolstering support for good governance and civil society strengthening initiatives.
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Guglielmo Maria Caporale; Abdurrahman Nazif Catik; Gül Serife Huyugüzel Kisla; Mohamad Husam Helmi; Coskun Akdeniz
    Abstract: This paper analyses the effects of oil prices and exchange rates on sectoral stock returns in the BRICS-T countries over the period from 2 January 2001 to 22 March 2021. After estimating a benchmark linear model, the possible presence of structural breaks is investigated using the Bai and Perron (2003) tests, and a state-space model with time-varying parameters is then estimated. The main findings can be summarised as follows. Both the sub-samples and the time-varying estimates indicate a greater role for exchange rate returns. Oil prices have a positive and significant impact on the energy sector in all countries except India; a negative and significant one on the financial sector of Brazil, Russia, India, and South Africa; no effect on the transportation sector of Brazil, China, and South Africa, a negative one on those of India and Turkey, and a positive one in the case of Russia. The vulnerability of energy-dependent sectors to global fluctuations implies that appropriate energy policies should be adopted to reduce risk.
    Keywords: oil prices, exchange rates, sectoral stock returns, structural breaks, time-varying parameters
    JEL: G12 C50 C58
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Michael Alexeev (Indiana University); Nikita Zakharov (University of Freiburg - Department of Economics)
    Abstract: We investigate the relationship between oil windfalls and income inequality using the subnational data of one of the resource-richest and most unequal countries in the world – Russia. While previous literature has produced contradictory findings due to the use of an aggregate measure of oil rents in mainly cross-national settings, we focus exclusively on the oil rents that accrue to the subnational governments across one country. Our estimation strategy takes advantage of the two unique features of Russian oil taxation: 1) the change in oil-tax policy when sharing oil-extraction taxes with local budgets was discontinued; 2) the oil-tax formula tied directly to the international oil prices allowing to use the oil price shocks as an exogenous change in oil rents. When we look at the period with oil-tax revenues shared with the regional governments, we find that oil windfalls had increased income inequality and benefited the wealthiest quintile of the population in regions with more intense rent-seeking. Further, the positive oil price shocks combined with increased rent-seeking reduced the share of labor income but increased the income share from unidentified sources traditionally attributed to corruption. These effects of oil windfalls disappear after the Russian government discontinued oil-tax revenue sharing with regional governments. Finally, we examine the potential political implications of the rising inequality due to the appropriation of the oil windfalls. We find its positive effect on the frequency of protests associated with grievances among the poor and disadvantaged social groups; this effect, however, exists only in relatively democratic regions.
    Keywords: Oil, Decentralized Revenues, Income Inequality, Corruption, Protest, Russia
    Date: 2021–09

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