The "Other" Russian Economy: How Everyday Firms View the Rules of the Game in Russia
Social Research. 2009. Vol. 76. No. 1. P. 29-54.
We report results from two original surveys of 500 firms conducted in 2000 and 2007 in eight regions in Russia that explore the business environment for manufacturing and service sector firms. We find that the formal and informal rules of the game for everyday firms in Russia have changed dramatically in the Putin years. Most importantly, while the informal and formal rules of the game in 2000 were quite similar for firms that were investing and those that were not, in 2007 regional governments had come to favor the former through a variety of informal and formal means. This shift in the rules of the game in favor of firms that invest suggests that a core group of firms in the regions under study have managed to cooperate with the regional government to temper the weak institutional environment in Russia, but also that the playing field for businesses in Russia is not level.