By Paul Krugman
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Extra info for A Country Is Not a Company
Recently, a number of researchers pointed to institutional performance as an explanation for diﬀerences in growth rates among transition economies. Popov (2000) suggests that one of the main explanations of stronger output decline in Russia was the bad performance of government institutions. He shows that countries which were able to keep the level of budget expenditure close to pre-transition levels performed better during the tran32 Paradoxes of Russian economic growth 33 sition than countries where budget ﬁnance collapsed.
The chapter is organized as follows. Section 2 discusses the politicaleconomic aspects of Russian transition. In particular, it seeks explanations for the collapse of the government in Russia, and how the poor functioning of the government and natural resource abundance could explain such peculiarities of Russian performance as barter and export of capital. Section 3 shows how macroeconomic policies and structural reforms can explain diﬀerences in inter-regional performance. Section 4 concludes.
Russia started its economic and political transition with a very weak federal government. Yeltsin was very popular among the general public, which allowed him to appoint a reform-oriented government, but he was not supported by the communist-dominated Parliament. The Russian budget was in deep deﬁcit, and the bureaucrats at middle and lower levels often sabotaged the newly appointed top level of the federal government. In order to prevent the breaking down of Russia into smaller states, and to get the political support of the regions, Yeltsin granted generous independence to the regions, which further weakened the position of the federal government.
A Country Is Not a Company by Paul Krugman