Numbers, trends and characteristics of Russia’s economically inactive people

Numbers, trends and characteristics of Russia’s economically inactive people

Varshavskaya E.Ya.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Prof., Department of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources Management, Graduate School of Business, HSE University, Moscow, Russia

Denisenko M.B.

Cand. Sci. (Econ.), Director, Vishnevsky Institute of Demography, National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moscow, Russia

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For citation:

Varshavskaya E.Ya., Denisenko M.B. Numbers, trends and characteristics of Russia’s economically inactive people. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2015. No 5. P. 42-51


Traditionally, research interest focuses on those employed and unemployed in the labor market while relatively little attention is paid to people classified as economically inactive. However, changes in inactivity rates are a key of labor supply due to large number of potential workers among this group. The article identifies trends in economic inactivity in Russia, characteristics of inactive people, and reasons for inactivity comparing inactivity rates in Russia and OECD countries. The text is based on the Russian Labor Force Survey data for 2013. Sickness and family responsibilities are the main difference in economic inactivity rates between men and women. Sickness and disability is a major reason for economic inactivity among men in working age while majority of women of the same age are inactive as a result of family/home responsibilities. Inactivity rates vary considerably by level of educational attainment. Employment potential of the Russian economically inactive people is low. Its increase suggests institutional and economic reformations aimed at increasing the employment rates of older workers and youth.

economic inactivity; economically inactive people; labor supply; Russian labor market
Content No 5, 2015