• AEA in the news
  • May 19, 2016

Pity Russia's billionaires

Tourists in Moscow's Red Square, December 6, 2015.


The Economist highlighted a new paper about billionaires in Russia published in the Papers and Proceedings issue of the American Economic Review. In Russia's Billionaires, author Daniel Treisman uses data from the Forbes annual ranking of billionaires and finds that Russia’s billionaire class expanded and diversified across sectors during the 2000s, leaving Russia with 87 billionaires in 2008 (about twice as many as would be expected based on Russia’s population, income, tax structure, and other factors). Unfortunately for them, billionaire status has been more fleeting in Russia than elsewhere: less than half of the people who became billionaires between 2011 and 2014 remained on the list in 2015.