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The Role of Lawyers in Social Changes in Developing Countries: Evidence from Russia


  • Andrei Yakovlev

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Anton Kazun

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Daniil Sitkevich

    (National Research University Higher School of Economics)


This paper reviews the activity of professional legal organizations as factors in the transfer from limited access order (LAO) to open access order (OAO) according to the theory of North, Wallis and Weingast. By analyzing the experience of lawyers’ collective action in developing countries, this paper proposes a decision tree explaining the process of the mobilization of the legal community to counter violations of the law by the ruling elite. It shows that this collective action plays a significant role in implementing the rule of law. However, the efficiency of such collective action in a particular country depends on the institutional capacity of its legal association and on the position of the professional elite leading it. The history of the development of Russian legal advocacy shows that exogenous shocks actually stimulate the collective action of lawyers, which in turn compels the government to respond

Suggested Citation

  • Andrei Yakovlev & Anton Kazun & Daniil Sitkevich, 2016. "The Role of Lawyers in Social Changes in Developing Countries: Evidence from Russia," HSE Working papers WP BRP 70/LAW/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:70/law/2016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Robin Naylor, 1989. "Strikes, Free Riders, and Social Customs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 771-785.
    2. Andrei Yakovlev & Anton Sobolev & Anton Kazun, 2014. "Means of production versus means of coercion: can Russian business limit the violence of a predatory state?," Post-Soviet Affairs, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(2-3), pages 171-194, May.
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    More about this item


    lawyer; professional elite; collective action; limited access orders; open access orders; professional mobilization.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K49 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Other
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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