Modern clientelist exchange is typically carried out by intermediaries—party activists, employers, local strongmen, traditional leaders, and the like. Politicians use such brokers to mobilize voters, yet we know little about their relative effectiveness. We argue that broker effectiveness depends on their (1) leverage over clients and (2) ability to monitor voters. We apply our theoretical framework to compare two of the most common brokers worldwide, party activists and employers, arguing the latter enjoy numerous advantages along both dimensions. Using survey-based framing experiments in Venezuela and Russia, we find voters respond more strongly to turnout appeals from employers than from party activists. To demonstrate mechanisms, we show that vulnerability to job loss and embeddedness in workplace social networks make voters more responsive to clientelist mobilization by their bosses. Our results shed light on the conditions most conducive to effective clientelism and highlight broker type as important for understanding why clientelism is prevalent in some countries, but not others.
Do economic sanctions turn the public against the target government or cause it to rally around the flag? How do sanctions affect attitudes toward the sanctioner? How does bad economic performance under sanctions shape support for the target government? Despite their importance, these questions have rarely been explored with survey data. Results from two surveys in Russia find that exposure to information about economic sanctions does not generate a rally around the flag, leads some groups to withdraw support from the target government, and reduces support for the sanctioner. Respondents also react more strongly to the reasons why sanctions were put in place—the annexation of Crimea—than to the sanctions themselves. These results suggest the need to reevaluate theories of the impact of economic sanctions and blame-shifting under autocracy.
How do elections and post-election protest shape political trust in a competitive autocracy? Taking advantage of largely exogenous variation in the timing of a survey conducted in Moscow in 2011, we find that an election had little systematic effect on political trust, perhaps because vote improprieties were not new information. In contrast, the unexpected protest that followed increased trust in government. We argue that when autocrats permit protest unexpectedly, citizens may update their beliefs about the trustworthiness of the government. In this case, heightened trust arises largely from opposition voters - those most likely to be surprised by permission to hold the protest - who update their beliefs. Our results suggest that citizens may cue not off the content of a protest, but off the government's decision to permit it. In addition, autocrats can increase trust in government by allowing protest when it is unexpected.
Based on the synthesis of a large empirical and theoretical literature on centre-region relations in China and Russia, Federalism in China and Russia is one of the first attempts to integrate this literature from different disciplines into a coherent common framework. Libman and Rochlitz argue that the divergence in growth performance between Russia and China can be at least partially explained by a number of features of the Chinese system of centre-regional relations.The authors offer a comparative analysis of the development of centre-region relations in Russia and in China and explore several dimensions of these relations: fiscal ties and incentives; bureaucratic practices; flows of information; and local government practices, while addressing the determinants of divergence between both countries. They also examine how the Chinese system has recently started to change, by adopting several features of the Russian model, which might be one of the reasons for Chinas declining growth performance in recent years.Federalism in China and Russia should be read by scholars in public economics, political economy and comparative politics, as well as by students and policy analysts. For scholars, the book serves as a point of reference in studying the comparative evolution of the two countries. It will enrich the discussion on fiscal federalism, centre-region relations and sub-national political regimes, and could potentially become an important part of syllabi in political economy, public economics and comparative politics courses. For policy analysts, the book offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of centre-periphery relations of the two countries and the differences between them, which is important to better understand the overall development of Russia and China.
Egalitarianism is one of the key elements of the communist ideology, yet some of the former communist countries are among the most unequal in the world in terms of income distribution. How does the communist legacy affect income inequality in the long run? The goal of this article is to investigate this question by looking at a sample of subnational regions of Russia. To be able to single out the mechanisms of the communist legacy effects more carefully, we look at a particular aspect of the communist legacy – the legacy of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). We demonstrate that the sub-national regions of Russia, which had higher CPSU membership rates in the past, are characterised by lower income inequality. This, however, appears to be unrelated to the governmental redistribution policies; we link lower inequality to the prevalence of informal networks.
We contribute to the debate on the optimal structure of Competition Authorities (CAs), a debate of particular relevance in younger developing country jurisdictions. We propose a model of a reputation-maximizing CA in which reputation is increasing with enforcement success. This predicts that generalist CAs will focus on decisions in activities with low probability of annulment and low investigation and litigation costs and that this could be detrimental to welfare (relative to the more balanced activity portfolio of specialist CAs). We use a data set of appealed decisions of the Russian CA to provide an empirical support for the model’s assumptions and predictions.
Available evidence indicates that there is considerable variation among autocracies in the extent to which subnational officials are rewarded for economic growth. Why is economic performance used as a criterion for appointment in some autocracies but not in others? We argue that in more competitive—though still autocratic—regimes, the political imperatives of maintaining an electoral machine that can win semi-competitive elections leads regime leaders to abandon cadre policies that promote economic development. Using data on turnover among high-level economic bureaucrats in Russia’s 89 regions between 2001 and 2012, we find that performance-based appointments are more frequent in less competitive regions. These findings demonstrate one way that semi-competitive elections can actually undermine economic development under autocracy
This article attempts to open up the black box of the Russian Presidential Administration (‘the Kremlin’). Borrowing from literature on ‘institutional presidencies’ and institutional approaches to authoritarianism, I argue that the administration institutionalised over the years. More stable and predictable procedures enhanced administrative presidential powers, but personalism and non-compliance with presidential orders remained. Original data on budget, staff, units, organisational structure, and presidential assignments demonstrates that presidential power should be conceptualised as a polymorphous phenomenon that varies depending on the level of analysis. Researchers should aim to depersonalise their analyses and focus on ‘institutional presidencies’ and ‘centres of government’ instead.
What is the value of a family tie? Nepotism is a common feature of democratic and non-democratic systems, but our understanding of how and why family members of government officials receive preferential treatment is limited. Using administrative data on the universe of Moscow citizens to identify family links, I adopt a difference-in-differences design to estimate the labor market returns of having a relative enter the Russian government from 1999-2004. Employment rates and annual wages increase for individuals related to federal bureaucrats. Surprisingly, these relatives just as often find work in the private sector, over which the government has no formal control. To explain this, I demonstrate that companies strategically hire officials’ family members in order to receive state contracts and preferential regulatory treatment. Governments may be willing to overlook this type of favoritism in the allocation of jobs, since even if they do not benefit directly, nepotism creates a class of individuals invested in the current power structure.
This article provides evidence about the influence of performance measurement criteria on the choice of enforcement targets by law enforcement authorities, utilizing a rich dataset of decisions by the Russian competition authority in the period 2008–2015. The authors provide a comparative analysis of performance measurement by several competition authorities throughout the world. Then a hypothesis is tested suggesting that a competition authority, motivated by the criterion of “enforcement success,” tends to select relatively easy implemented enforcement targets, which lead to decisions with relatively low probability of being annulled if appealed. This is so, even though other enforcement targets would generate superior welfare effects. Thus, our analysis indicates that putting undue emphasis on “enforcement success” as a performance criterion may not lead to desirable welfare outcomes.