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Russian Federation - The myth of monopoly : a new view of industrial structure in Russia


  • Brown, Annette N.
  • Ickes, Barry W.
  • Ryterman, Randi


Discussion of economic reform in the Russian Federation is colored by the conventional view of Russia's industrial structure. Both in Russia and in the West, Russian industry is characterized as very large enterprises operating in highly concentrated industries. The authors challenge the conventional view. They assess Russian industrial concentration by comparing the Russian industrial structure (as revealed in the 1989 Soviet Census of Industry) with that in the United States and other countries. They find that very large firms are more prevalent in the United States than in Russia. This empirical fact suggests that planners economized on the costs of central economic coordination not by building unusually large enterprises, but by not building very small enterprises. Their most important finding: that there is little aggregate or industry concentration at the national level in Russia. Monopolies and oligopolies actually account for only a small share of national employment and production. Instead, barriers to competition in Russia arise as a result of highly segmented product markets. In large part, this segmentation can be viewed as a legacy of central planning. Under the prior regime, enterprises were highly isolated, divided alone both ministerial and geographical lines. Presently, these barriers are reinforced by some features of the transitional environment that continue to undermine the efficient distribution of goods. The authors conclude that the traditional policy remedies appropriate for problems of concentration (such as antitrust policy and import competition) may be ill-advised or inadequate for addressing problems of imperfect competition in the Russian economy. They argue instead that improving the distribution system and other market infrastructure that supports trade and facilitating the entry of new firms should be the most critical elements of competition policy in Russia.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Annette N. & Ickes, Barry W. & Ryterman, Randi, 1994. "Russian Federation - The myth of monopoly : a new view of industrial structure in Russia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1331, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1331

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ickes, B.W. & Ryterman, R., 1993. "Entry Without Exit: Economic Selection Under Socialism," Papers 10-93-4a, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    2. Dearden, James & Ickes, Barry W & Samuelson, Larry, 1990. "To Innovate or Not to Innovate: Incentives and Innovation in Hierarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(5), pages 1105-1124, December.
    3. Ehrlich, Eva, 1985. "The size structure of manufacturing establishments and enterprises: An international comparison," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 267-295, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Annette N Brown, 1993. "A Note on Industrial Adjustment and Regional Labor Markets in Russia," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 35(4), pages 147-157, December.
    2. Guriev, Sergei & Kvassov, Dmitri, 2004. "Barter for price discrimination," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 329-350, March.
    3. Sergei Guriev & Barry W. Ickes, 2000. "Microeconomic Aspects of Economic Growth in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, 1950-2000," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 348, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    4. Nigel Harris & David Lockwood, 1997. "The war-making state and privatisation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 597-634.


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