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Institutions and Incentives: The Prospects for Russian Democracy

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ordeshook, Peter C.
Date: 1994
Agency: Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California
Series: Social Science Working Paper, no. 893
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5776
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Former Soviet Union
Subject(s): democracy
Abstract: "The lament that Russia is at the mercy of powerful personalities contesting for the reigns of power may be accurate. But here we want to find a way out of this condition. We begin by noting that more than mere lip-service needs to be paid to the idea that the two dimensions of reform -economic and political- are fused and that one cannot be attacked without attacking the other. Just as economic policies are manipulated in accordance with the principle that socially desirable outcomes cannot be willed or wished into existence - they derive, if at all, from the ways in which government action and the structure of economic institutions channel individual self-interest - the same must be true of political reform. Tracing the interests established by Russia's current constitutional order with respect to representative and elections, though, we conclude that the order and those interests almost certainly preordain executive-legislative conflict. Focusing, then, on those things that can be changed without constitutional amendment, we suggest a set of electoral reforms that promise to aleviate at least this problem and that allow for presidential leadership rather than the mere administration of authority and power."

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