Regional Political Cycles in Russia

Paper will be presented at the Annual Conference on Transition Economics

Posted: 3 May 2002

See all articles by Akhmed Akhmedov

Akhmed Akhmedov

Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR)

Alexei Ravichev

Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR); Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Abstract

The paper analyzes political business cycles in Russian regions, their magnitude, duration, focus on specific policy instruments and groups of voters, effectiveness in increasing chances for reelection, and dependence on voters' rationality and access to information. Using the comprehensive list of Russia's regional elections and regional monthly panel data between 1992 and 2002, we find strong evidence of rational opportunistic political cycles. Russia's governors increase regional spending on social programs, healthcare, education, and industrial subsidies and reduce budgetary wage arrears before elections. Right after the elections, public expenditures fall dramatically and a yearlong recession occurs. Cycles in the real policy instruments are accompanied by very intensive mass media support. The poorest stratum of population is targeted by the cyclical policies. These policies increase political popularity of incumbent governors. Our results do not show any evidence of relationship between the amplitude of the cycles and the rationality of voters and their access to information.

Keywords: Political business cycles, Russia, regions, budgets, fiscal policy

JEL Classification: H72, P35, P16, E32

Suggested Citation

Akhmedov, Akhmed and Ravichev, Alexei and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Regional Political Cycles in Russia. Paper will be presented at the Annual Conference on Transition Economics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=310022

Akhmed Akhmedov

Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) ( email )

47 Nakhimovsky Prospect, Office #720
117418 Moscow
Russia
+7 09 5332 4083 (Phone)

Alexei Ravichev

Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) ( email )

47 Nakhimovsky Prospect, Office #720
117418 Moscow
Russia
+7 09 5005 5002 (Phone)
+7 09 5005 5003 (Fax)

Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) ( email )

1309 E. 10th St.
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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