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Abstract: For over a decade, Russian officials have a championed a model of economic growth that draws inspiration from East Asian developmental states. The state’s role in economic decision making has been accentuated, setting in motion ambitious industrial and stimulus policies, import substitution, and as international sanctions have mounted, fierce protectionism. This memo explains how this shift in doctrine has contributed to economic stagnation and falling consumer welfare. Weak institutions have enabled a bureaucratic system that privileges loyalty over merit and consequently unproductive, corruption-riddled spending. Politically motivated concerns about keeping wealth and power concentrated among a small group of elites threaten to generate widespread discontent over economic exclusion.
Speaker's Biography: David Szakonyi is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, an Academy Scholar at Harvard University, and a Research Fellow at Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. His research looks at political economy and corruption, with projects underway in Russia and the United States. His book Politics for Profit: Business, Elections, and Policymaking in Russia is forthcoming at Cambridge University Press, with other work published in the American Political Science Review, World Politics, and Journal of Politics, as well as popular publications such as Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post, and Newsweek. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University and his BA from the University of Virginia