By Raising the Salaries of Civil Servants, the Government Will Further Undermine their Perceived Trustworthiness

On 27 November, Rosstat released official data on remuneration of the staff of federal bodies of state authority over the first 9 months of 2013.

From this information it follows that, over the period under consideration, the average salary of civil servants employed by federal bodies of state authority increased by 34.7% on the corresponding period of last year, that of the staff of the Presidential Executive Office – by 67.7%, in the government apparatus – by 72.6%, and in the upper and lower chambers of Russian parliament – approximately by 36.2%. At the same time, in January-September 2013, the average monthly salary in the Russian Federation increased by only 14.8% on January–September 2012.

We have already pointed out elsewhere that increasing the salaries of civil servants per se is by no means a bad thing, as by doing do the government creates one of the necessary incentives for their better performance.  Meanwhile, as demonstrated by the experience of civil service reforms in the OECD countries, this measure should only be applied as part of a comprehensive package designed to boost the performance index, including the optimization of staff numbers. Besides, from the point of view of economics, expenditures on government administration are considered to be counterproductive in terms of economic growth.

However, no relevant steps in civil service reform in Russia have been noted so far. So, in our opinion, given the current situation in the Russian economy – which at best can be described as stagnating – the published statistics on the upward movement of civil servants’ salaries, coupled with their planned further increase towards 2016, can have only a negative effect on the population’s trust in the government’s promises concerning future reforms aimed at preventing the looming recession and pushing Russia’s economy onto a better long-term economic growth trajectory.

M.V. Kazakova – Candidate of Economic Sciences, Head of the Economic Development Department