Empirical Economics

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 1321–1352 | Cite as

Democracy, size of bureaucracy, and economic growth: evidence from Russian regions

  • Alexander LibmanEmail author


This article considers the impact of sub-national political systems on economic growth by applying the case of Russian regions from 2000 to 2004. It investigates two dimensions of the sub-national systems. First, it studies the influence of democracy on economic performance, providing evidence of a non-linear relationship between democracy and economic growth. Regions with high levels of democracy, as well as strong autocracies, perform better than hybrid regimes. Second, this article considers the influence of the size of the bureaucracy on economic outcomes and confirms the “grabbing hand” view on bureaucracy rather than the Weberian idea. Increasing the size of the bureaucracy is associated with a decline in economic performance. In addition, this article analyzes the potential interaction between these two characteristics of sub-national politics as factors of economic growth, but does not establish any robust results.


Democracy Bureaucracy Sub-national political systems Economic growth Russian regions 

JEL Classification

D72 D73 O18 O43 P26 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Frankfurt School of Finance & ManagementsFrankfurtGermany

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