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Without a Map: Political Tactics and Economic Reform in Russia

Author

Listed:
  • Andrei Shleifer

    () (Harvard University)

  • Daniel Treisman

    () (University of California, Los Angeles)

Abstract

Recent commentators on Russia's economic reforms have almost uniformly declared them a disappointing and avoidable failure. In this book, two American scholars take a new and more balanced look at the country's attempts to build capitalism on the ruins of Soviet central planning. They show how and why the Russian reforms achieved remarkable breakthroughs in some areas but came undone in others. Unlike Eastern European countries such as Poland or the Czech Republic, to which it is often compared, Russia is a federal, ethnically diverse, industrial giant with an economy heavily oriented toward raw materials extraction. The political obstacles it faced in designing reforms were incomparably greater. Shleifer and Treisman tell how Russia's leaders, navigating in uncharted economic terrain, managed to find a path around some of these obstacles. In successful episodes, central reformers devised a strategy to win over some key opponents, while dividing and marginalizing others. Such political tactics made possible the rapid privatization of 14,000 state enterprises in 1992-1994 and the defeat of inflation in 1995. But failure to outmaneuver the new oligarchs and regional governors after 1996 undermined reformers' attempts to collect taxes and clean up the bureaucracy that has stifled business growth. Renewing a strain of analysis that runs from Machiavelli to Hirschman, the authors reach conclusions about political strategies that have important implications for other reformers. They draw on their extensive knowledge of the country and recent experience as advisors to Russian policymakers. Written in an accessible style, the book should appeal to economists, political scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, and all those interested in Russian politics or economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrei Shleifer & Daniel Treisman, 2001. "Without a Map: Political Tactics and Economic Reform in Russia," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262692694, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262692694
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kapeliushnikov, Rostislav & Kuznetsov, Andrei & Demina, Natalia & Kuznetsova, Olga, 2013. "Threats to security of property rights in a transition economy: An empirical perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 245-264.
    2. Berkowitz, Daniel & DeJong, David N., 2011. "Growth in post-Soviet Russia: A tale of two transitions," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 133-143, June.
    3. Nenovsky, Nikolay, 2015. "The Soviets monetary experience (1917 – 1924) through the perspective of the discussion on unity and diversity of money," MPRA Paper 79864, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Berkowitz, Daniel & Hoekstra, Mark & Schoors, Koen, 2014. "Bank privatization, finance, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 93-106.
    5. Nikolay Nenovsky & Yorgos Rizopoulos, 2004. "Measuring the Institutional Change of the Monetary Regime in a Political Economy Perspective (Groups of interest and monetary variables during the Currency Board introduction in Bulgaria)," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series wp732, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Alexeev, Michael & Weber, Shlomo (ed.), 2013. "The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199759927.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Russian economic reform; political tactics;

    JEL classification:

    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy
    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects
    • O5 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies

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