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Russia's 1999–2000 election cycle and the politics-banking interface

Listed author(s):
  • Schoors, Koen
  • Weill, Laurent

We investigate whether lending by the dominant Russian state bank, Sberbank, contributed to Vla-dimir Putin’s ascent to power during the presidential elections of March 2000. Our hypothesis is that Sberbank corporate loans could have been used as incentives for managers at private firms to mobilize employees to vote for the incumbent regime. In line with our proposed voter mobilization mechanism, we find that the regional growth of Sberbank corporate loans in the months before the presidential election is related to the regional increase in votes for Putin and to the regional increase in voter turnout between the Duma election of December 1999 and the presidential election of March 2000. The effect of Sberbank firm lending on Putin votes was most pronounced in regions where the governor was affiliated with the regime and in regions with extensive private employ-ment. The effect was less apparent in regions with many single-company towns, where voter intim-idation is sufficient to get the required result. Additional robustness checks and placebo regressions confirm the main findings. Our results support the view that additional Sberbank corporate loans granted prior to the March 2000 presidential election facilitated Putin’s early electoral success.

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Paper provided by Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition in its series BOFIT Discussion Papers with number 17/2017.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2017
Handle: RePEc:bof:bofitp:2017_017
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  1. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3253-3285, December.
  2. Dinc, I. Serdar, 2005. "Politicians and banks: Political influences on government-owned banks in emerging markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 453-479, August.
  3. 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.
  4. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Land and Power: Theory and Evidence from Chile," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1737-1765, December.
  5. Alexei Karas & Koen Schoors & Laurent Weill, 2010. "Are private banks more efficient than public banks?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 18(1), pages 209-244, January.
  6. Daniel Carvalho, 2014. "The Real Effects of Government-Owned Banks: Evidence from an Emerging Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 577-609, April.
  7. Berkowitz, Daniel & Hoekstra, Mark & Schoors, Koen, 2014. "Bank privatization, finance, and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 93-106.
  8. Coleman, Nicholas & Feler, Leo, 2015. "Bank ownership, lending, and local economic performance during the 2008–2009 financial crisis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 50-66.
  9. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:2:p:296-354. is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Shurchkov, Olga, 2012. "New elites and their influence on entrepreneurial activity in Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 240-255.
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