Inequality in Post-Socialist Mongolia: A Case Study

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: 418
Oral Presentation
Dolgion ALDAR , Irim, Executive Director, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Bold TSEVEGDORJ , Irim, Board member, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia ‘de facto a sixteenth republic’ of the USSR (Murell 1999, 216) started its transition into market economy and democracy in parallel with other former communist countries. In contrast to the belief that ‘recession will be short and sharp before better times’, transition in most countries including Mongolia, have been a very ‘difficult, long and painful process’ (Luvsandorj and Nixson 2000). Today, Mongolia is worse off in terms of quality of life, unemployment, poverty etc. than it was in 1989 and despite the significant increase in per capita growth, the high level of human and social development achieved during the socialist era has been left to deteriorate.

Nonetheless, over the past two decades, the majority of studies on Mongolia's transition has focused on the country’s features of economic transition and political development rather than emerging social issues in general and inequality in particular. As there has been little discussion about the role of development policy choices Mongolia has adopted in lingering social inequality, this paper attempts to fill this gap by measuring, documenting and comparing the depth, forms and changes in social inequality in Mongolia since 1990.

The paper differs from other studies on Mongolia by employing different aspects of inequalityand by examining its interrelations with social mobility, historical and policy legacies and current economic growth.  It also uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. The paper finds that not only there is an increasing polarisation, but also there are various excluded groups and stratas emerging in the society within these polars.