Local Heroes: The Political Economy of Russian Regional Governance

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Overview

In Local Heroes, Kathryn Stoner-Weiss analyzes a crucial aspect of one of the great dramas of modern times--the reconstitution of the Russian polity and economy after more than seventy years of communist rule. This is the first book to look comprehensively and systematically at Russia's democratic transition at the local level. Its goal is to explain why some of the new political institutions in the Russian provinces weathered the monumental changes of the early 1990s better than others. Using newly available economic, political, and sociological data to test various theories of democratization and institutional performance, Stoner-Weiss finds that traditional theories are unable to explain variations in regional government performance in Russia.

Local Heroes argues that the legacy of the former economic system influenced the operation of new political institutions in important and often unexpected ways. Past institutional structures, specifically the concentration of the regional economy, promoted the formation of political and economic coalitions within a new proto-democratic institutional framework. These coalitions have had positive effects on governmental performance. For democratic theorists, this may be a surprising conclusion. However, it is possible, as Stoner-Weiss suggests, that the needs of democratic development may be different in the short run than in the long run. The "local heroes" of today may be impediments to the further development of democracy tomorrow. This provocative work, solidly grounded in research and theory, will interest anyone concerned with issues of economic and political transition.

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Editorial Reviews

American Political Science Review
An important contribution to an understanding of the transition away from Soviet rule in Russia . . . and to theories of elite politics and governmental performance. . . . [It] will stimulate readers from a wide range of backgrounds.
— William M. Reisinger
Choice
An excellent study. . . . Interesting and provocative.
Russian Review
Local Heroes . . . makes a substantial empirical contribution to our knowledge of . . . four Russian regions. It is an important book for scholars of Russia and also offers many insights to scholars of other countries as well.
— Sue Davis
American Political Science Review - William M. Reisinger
An important contribution to an understanding of the transition away from Soviet rule in Russia . . . and to theories of elite politics and governmental performance. . . . [It] will stimulate readers from a wide range of backgrounds.
Russian Review - Sue Davis
Local Heroes . . . makes a substantial empirical contribution to our knowledge of . . . four Russian regions. It is an important book for scholars of Russia and also offers many insights to scholars of other countries as well.
From the Publisher

"An important contribution to an understanding of the transition away from Soviet rule in Russia . . . and to theories of elite politics and governmental performance. . . . [It] will stimulate readers from a wide range of backgrounds."--William M. Reisinger, American Political Science Review

"An excellent study. . . . Interesting and provocative."--Choice

"Local Heroes . . . makes a substantial empirical contribution to our knowledge of . . . four Russian regions. It is an important book for scholars of Russia and also offers many insights to scholars of other countries as well."--Sue Davis, Russian Review

Russian Review
Local Heroes . . . makes a substantial empirical contribution to our knowledge of . . . four Russian regions. It is an important book for scholars of Russia and also offers many insights to scholars of other countries as well.
— Sue Davis
Edward E. Ericson Jr.
Stoner-Weiss comes to the "potentially unsettling prediction" that over the long haul decentralization may be better than the company-town model. That would clear the way, of course, for true heroes truly local. —Books & Culture: A Christian Review
Edward E. Ericson, Jr.
Stoner-Weiss comes to the "potentially unsettling prediction" that over the long haul decentralization may be better than the company-town model. That would clear the way, of course, for true heroes truly local.
Books & Culture: A Christian Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691092812
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Preface
Note on Transliteration
Ch. 1 Introduction 3
Ch. 2 The Political Economy of Government Performance 27
Ch. 3 Decentralization and Democratization: The Development of Regional Government Institutions 56
Ch. 4 Who Governs Russia Well? Measuring Institutional Performance 90
Ch. 5 Testing Theories of Performance Variation: Economic, Social-Structural, and Cultural Hypotheses 131
Ch. 6 The Political Economy of Government Performance: Testing the Theory 164
Ch. 7 Democracy and the Market at Risk? 192
App. A Regional Government Structures 205
App. B Cross-Tabulations of Constituent Satisfaction with Regional Government by Urban and Rural Dwellers and by Levels of Education 208
Bibliography 221
Index 235
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