Oligarchs and social capital in Russian regions: a quantitative assessment

After the collapse of the Soviet Union a new class of entrepreneurs, the so called "oligarchs", have emerged in Russia. Using individual survey data for Russia in combination with unique regional data on oligarchic dominance, we try to illuminate the relationship of oligarchs and levels of social capital in Russian regions. We further examine the interplay of oligarchs and public governance. The analysis reveals that social capital in terms of informal network strength and trust is significantly higher in regions with stronger oligarchic dominance. While the quality of all levels of public governance is perceived to be worse in oligarchic regions, this effect is especially pronounced for the local government.