Monday, October 28, 2013

Whither Russia's immigration debate?

The title is Fred Weir entry in CSM (see, here), my speech here.
I had four wrong answers to their qiuz, one of them is CSM fault. It is Catherine input into Russian history.

I wrote more for the author ;)

1. Russian labor force of Russians will shrink in the near future due to two major reasons: (a) large cohorts born in 50s are leaving their working ages, and (b) smaller cohorts born in 90s are entering this age span (approximately -20-60+, i.e., years of birth around 1993 and 1953). This "substituting cohorts" are about a half of retiring ones. It was known long ago, and is absolutely not a surprise. Russian population is heavily affected by a number of catastrophes or population losses caused by social revolutions and main one was WW2.

For instance, subtracting 70 (modal age at death, age when major part of a cohort dies) from 2013 we obtain 1943, which is a peak of terrible war. It explains the recently reported decline of mortality, people who are due to die were not born 70 years ago. Because of very irregular age composition mortality will rise greatly in about 10 years.

Theoretically, a Russian woman could produce 2.1 babies on average, but they did not do it since mid 80s and mid 60s, most of the time fertility was below replacement level, and I see absolutely know reasons for fertility to jump by more than 1/3 from its current level.

2. Migration. The difference in fertility certainly does not affect migration, neither low in Russia, nor high elsewhere. Moreover nearby areas do not have really high fertility, e.g., Kirghiz women have highest fertility in the former SU, it is twice as high as of Russians, but numerically just 3 v 1.5 (number of children born by a woman). 3 is not high, 3 means it is dropping, and doing it quickly. Say, 20 yeas from now, and fertility will appear about similar. The reason to move en masse is very bad living conditions in areas of emigration, social unrest, even wars, high unemployment, etc., it is definitely not god living conditions in areas of arrival (Russia). + There is absolutely know job competition between local and arrived population. To tell about Birulevo, I have discussed it with a virtual friend, we both thanks Boris Yeltzin who terminated that practice of agricultural assistance from city dwellers to kolkhoz and овощным базам. I suspect no one of Birulevo pogrom-makers wishes to work at that place.

To cope with labor shortages Russian government definitely bets on migration and not on advances in technology and rising labor productivity, unlike Japan for instance. The bet was probably stimulated by the UN substitution migration project, which was very popular recently, and it had just the only opponent – Oxford Professor David Coleman [], but migration generates as many problems as it solves, or more. Interestingly, that dictator Putin in this case appears more liberal than liberal Navalny, who seems to follow more xenophobic and populist ideas.

3. Improvement in population indicators, reduced mortality and rising fertility. They are real. Any government in such a case would assign appeared good events to its own activities. But what we have with life expectancy requires in depth analyses, it might be a passing away of cohorts mostly affected by war with poor health status, might be something else. First we must observe it as a sustainable trend. Fertility started to grow before so called mother capital had been introduced, plus as Khloponin reported this year some of births in some regions may be registered but not occured. To understand this we also need time, demography is a long play subject, it is not fast at all. Introduction of mother capital did not affect the shape of growing fertility trend, thus government role is disputable and suspicious. What is really true, gov-t successfully stimulated in migration.

The questions were :
.... about the underlying pressures that are
causing mass migration into cities like Moscow from nearby areas that have
very high birth rates, such as the Caucasus and Central Asia.
So, if you could tell me -- in a few short and clear phrases -- what
is the long-term outlook for Russia's labor force of Russians? That is, the
trends with birth rates and female fertility, which is to say, why Russia
can't expect to find the labor it needs in future from Russian mothers
Also, I'm told there's been some progress in solving the demographic
problem during the Putin years? Putin created programs to encourage Russian
women to have more children. There have been campaigns against drinking and
smoking. How successful have these efforts been? Do the results of these
programs change the long-term prognosis for Russian demography?
That's it. Just as briefly as you can accurately state your
conclusions. You know how journalism differs from academic work: we don't
have to prove anything, just state the arguments clearly and concisely.
Anytime over the weekend would be fine for this; I'm writing the story on Monday.