Working Papers



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PCS Brownbag

18 September 2012

Presenter: Nikki Butkovich Kraus

Title: "Admitting Diversity: Migrant Laborers and the Political Economy of Russian Cities"

This study examines the economic and social circumstances of migrant laborers in three major Russian cities. The demographic crisis in the Russian Federation has led to a variety of policies encouraging labor immigration, yet popular Russian identity remains homogenous. Geographic
location plays an important role in life quality; there is variation in city-level policies toward migrant labor. We test whether there are differences in migrant life-quality outcomes between three ideal-type urban centers in Russia. We use the lens of diversity capital, conceptualized as a productive force generated by and through diverse populations working together; the whole of these diverse human capitals is thus productively greater than the sum of the parts. This study presents evidence from approximately 600 non-Russian labor migrants in
three urban sites to evaluate whether differences in these cities' 'diversity capital' lead to differences in the work and life experiences of the migrants themselves. The three cities represent migration flows that are high, medium, and low, and respectively more to less anti-migrant politically. We find evidence that in Yekaterinburg, the city that is most welcoming and has a mid-level flow of migrants, there is the greatest diversity capital and evidence to
support a higher quality of life for migrant laborers.

Keywords: Migration, immigrant labor, urban development, diversity capital, demographic crisis, Russia