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Speed of Reform, Initial Conditions or Political Orientation? Explaining Russian Regions' Economic Performance

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  • Rudiger Ahrend

Abstract

Using a panel of 77 Russian regions we investigate the reasons behind large differences in regional growth performance for the period from the start of transition to the 1998 crisis. We consider politico-institutional characteristics, indicators of regional economic reform and initial conditions (including economic, geographical and structural features). Surprisingly, differences in institutional characteristics or economic reform explain relatively little of the observed difference in regional growth performance. For example, we find no evidence that a region's economic performance has been influenced by the political orientation of its leaders, or the political preferences of the population. In contrast, a region's initial industrial structure, as well as its natural and human resource endowments, had a large impact on its economic growth performance during the 1990s. It is important to note that our findings should not be interpreted as saying that reform in transition countries is generally less important than initial conditions, nor that reform in Russia was not or is not needed. Our focus on Russian regions captures only the aspects of reform that have (or have not) been initiated in the regions, and thus does not take into account the large—and arguably more important — part of the changes that have been undertaken at the national level. However, our study shows that regional differences in reform played a minor role in determining the relative economic performance of Russian regions in the 1990s, especially when compared with the impact of the initial conditions in which regions found themselves at the beginning of the transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudiger Ahrend, 2005. "Speed of Reform, Initial Conditions or Political Orientation? Explaining Russian Regions' Economic Performance," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(3), pages 289-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:pocoec:v:17:y:2005:i:3:p:289-317
    DOI: 10.1080/14631370500204198
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Evgeniya Kolomak, 2013. "Spatial inequalities in Russia: dynamic and sectorial analysis," International Journal of Economic Policy in Emerging Economies, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(4), pages 375-402.
    2. Gluschenko, Konstantin, 2010. "Methodologies of Analyzing Inter-Regional Income Inequality and Their Applications to Russia," MPRA Paper 66824, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Ichiro Iwasaki & Taku Suzuki, 2016. "Radicalism Versus Gradualism: An Analytical Survey Of The Transition Strategy Debate," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 807-834, September.
    4. Evgeniya Kolomak, 2014. "Spatial evolution of economic activity in Russia: New economic geography perspective," ERSA conference papers ersa14p95, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Brigitte Evelyne Granville & Carol Scott Leonard, 2006. "Do institutions matter for technological change in transition economies? The case of the Russia's 89 regions and republics," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 70, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    6. repec:spr:anresc:v:61:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00168-017-0855-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Gvozdeva, Margarita & Kazakova, Maria, 2017. "Review of Theory and Practice of Analysis of Interregional Inequality," Working Papers 041702, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    8. Alexander Libman & Lars P. Feld, 2013. "Strategic Tax Collection and Fiscal Decentralization: The Case of Russia," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(4), pages 449-482, November.
    9. Ichiro Iwasaki & Keiko Suganuma, 2015. "Foreign direct investment and regional economic development in Russia: an econometric assessment," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 48(3), pages 209-255, November.
    10. Laura Solanko, 2008. "Unequal fortunes: a note on income convergence across Russian regions," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 287-301.
    11. K.P. Gluschenko (glu@nsu.ru ), 2010. "Income inequality in Russian regions: comparative analysis," Journal "Region: Economics and Sociology", Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering of Siberian Branch of RAS, vol. 4.
    12. Vera Ivanova, 2015. "How Space Channels Wage Convergence: The Case of Russian Cities," HSE Working papers WP BRP 120/EC/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    13. Irina N. Ilina & Carol S. Leonard & Evgenij E. Plisetskij, 2014. "Russian Regional Resilience: Finance, Cooperation And Resource Abundance (A Case Study Of Khanty-Mansiysk)," HSE Working papers WP BRP 15/PA/2014, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    14. repec:hrs:journl:v:ix:y:2017:i:2:p:147-158 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Alexander Libman, 2012. "Democracy, size of bureaucracy, and economic growth: evidence from Russian regions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1321-1352, December.
    16. Vera Ivanova, 2015. "The well-being of Russian cities: does location matter?," ERSA conference papers ersa15p956, European Regional Science Association.

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