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Economic governance and state formation: Russia's Early Capitalism in comparative perspective


The major objective of this interdisciplinary and comparative project is to investigate how countries make a transition from anarchic competition and a weak state to regulated markets, the rule of law and a regular state. It focuses on the situation in Russia between 1991 and 2004 - comparing the developments there with the early capitalist economic history of the USA, between the 1870s and the 1930s. The outcome will be a book that puts contemporary Russia in the context of early-capitalist transformations and analyses its state formation scenario as emerging out of concrete episodes and state policies vis-à-vis competitors.

The project focuses on institutions and markets as social-political formations, on the power struggles and the use of coercive capacity in shaping national economic models, as well as on the "process aspect" and comparable historical experience, thus blending economic sociology with political economy and history. A critical approach will allow it to make appropriate use of the selected sources for the purpose of the project even though the sources are obviously very different.

The comparative approach with the USA will lead to an improved exploration of the conflicts and institutional solutions of the large-scale early capitalist Russian economy in its process of rapid growth and transformation and improve our understanding of possible outcomes. The interdependence between economic development and state formation is a sensitive problem for many countries in Europe (e.g. Moldova, Albania) as well as in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Africa.

The project makes the Russian experience relevant for European policy-makers, because it will yield generalizations potentially applicable to present-day problems of other countries in transition. The research project will benefit Russia as well as the European Union and their respective research. Its use value consists in the ability to inform policies of development

Call for proposal

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