Explanations for the sharp difference in the economic growth performance of Russia and China under economic reform vary widely. Some observers emphasize the differences in the choice of initial reform strategy, others the inherited institutional environment for economic activity. There is a debate over which institutional characteristics are conducive to good growth performance: decentralization and competition among local governments or centralization of control over performance targets. Yet there has been little systematic empirical effort of the Russian and Chinese cases to test the implications of these theories for the behavior of firms. This paper uses data from surveys of firms conducted by the World Bank in 2012 to analyze differences in business-government relations in Russia and China. The findings support theories that differences in levels of administrative decentralization and local government competition help account for differences in business-government relations in the two countries and the more dynamic business environment overall in China.
Russia’s government initiated pension reform in 2013 to resolve a crisis: the prolonged recession had created a huge Pension Fund deficit that required unsustainable subsidies from the state budget. The article analyzes four sets of influences on that reform: those from above (high-level policy makers), inside (government ministries, legislators), below (civil society, public opinion), and outside (international actors, policy learning). We find that the strongest influences come from above and inside, and analyze the conflicting policy preferences of key actors on reversal of pension privatization, indexation of payments, and age of eligibility. The policy process is protracted and fails to resolve major issues. Irresolution results from the leadership’s effort to avoid blame for pension benefit cuts despite the weakness of civil society’s influence. The current reform effort has been tentative, halting, and indecisive, indicating a government with a diminished capacity to resolve this major social policy problem.
Russian membership in the Council of Europe is a function of two threats: isolation internationally and too much democratization/liberalization domestically. These concerns conditioned Russia’s halcyon first decade of membership. Looking forward, however, the obligations of membership challenge Vladimir Putin’s limited interest in further domestic reforms at a time when international isolation bothers him less. The authors argue that understanding these varying domestic and international pressures is a good predictor of Russia’s membership interests. The authors explore general hypotheses from this case study about the conditions under which illiberal regimes willingly cede sovereignty in order to join more liberal and democratic international organizations.
В статье дается анализ деятельности Организации Договора о коллективной безопасности, применяются различные теоретические подходы для выявления критериев оценки эффективности деятельности организации.