The Success and Failure of Russian SEZs: Some Policy Lessons
23 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020
Date Written: September 2, 2019
This paper examines the economic efficiency of Russian special economic zones (SEZs) established by federal authorities since 2005. The results are mixed: the payback of SEZs is low, but they continue to attract residents; SEZs have greater attractiveness for foreign investment, but their sectoral structure is fundamentally no better than the country-wide structure; SEZs’ enterprises have higher labour productivity than the country, but mainly owing to their recent creation. The common bottlenecks of SEZ development are the instability of legislation on SEZs, the low level of federal authorities’ activity in SEZ development before the economic crisis, competition with other preferential regimes for investors and the long period of searching for the optimal system of SEZ management. Differences in the efficiency of particular SEZs are explained by the peculiarities of the territories where SEZs are established. SEZs are successful if they are created on sites that enjoy a favourable geographic position and in regions that have advanced levels of industrial development.
Keywords: Special economic zones, SEZs, Russia, foreign residents of SEZs, efficiency of SEZs
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