Speed of Reform, Initial Conditions, Political Orientation, or What? Explaining Russian Regions' Economic Performance
Using a panel of 77 Russian regions from 1990-1998 we investigate the reasons behind largely differing regional growth performance. We consider politico-institutional characteristics, indicators of regional economic reform, and initial conditions (including economic, geographic 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, and both its natural and human resource endowments had a large impact on its economic growth performance during the nineties.
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