The Political Economy of Russian Gubernatorial Election and Appointment

32 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2012 Last revised: 14 Feb 2014

Noah Buckley

Columbia University - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Timothy Frye

Columbia University - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Guzel Garifullina

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: December 30, 2011

Abstract

Political and economic outcomes depend, in part, on the quality of the officials making policy. Many scholars argue that the free and fair elections are the best method for selecting competent officials. Others, however, argue that elections can lead to the selection of amateurs, demagogues, and political sycophants. Under this view, sub-national officials should be appointed by centralized planners who are insulated from local popular pressures. In this paper, we use original data on the biographies of Russian regional governors to determine whether the backgrounds of governors elected between 1992 and 2004 differ from the backgrounds of appointed governors post-2004. We find that the two groups are surprisingly similar on many dimensions. Elected and appointed governors have similar career backgrounds, ages, educational profiles, and ethnicities. But there are some important differences as well. Elected governors, are more likely to have held elected office and be from the region where they serve. Appointed governors are also more likely to be federal bureaucrats, hold a graduate degree, and have education in economics. Finding that the selection mechanism explains only a small portion of the variance in governor backgrounds, we conclude the paper by speculating on other possible explanations for variation in governor background.

Keywords: gubernatorial elections, gubernatorial appointments, regional elites, elite selection, Russia

JEL Classification: R59

Suggested Citation

Buckley, Noah and Frye, Timothy and Garifullina, Guzel and Reuter, Ora John, The Political Economy of Russian Gubernatorial Election and Appointment (December 30, 2011). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 01/PS/2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2005704 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2005704

Noah Buckley

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Timothy Frye (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3646 (Phone)

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Guzel Garifullina

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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