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Institutional Design, Uncertainty, and Path Dependency during Transitions: Cases from Russia

Abstract

During transitional moments, new leaders must design political institutions. Some of these designs succeed in establishing lasting rules of the game. Others do not. This paper analyzes those factors which either facilitate or undermine institutional persistence during transitions, focusing particularly on the role that uncertainty and path dependency play in these processes. The empirical section of the paper examines three cases of institutional design in the Soviet/Russian transition—the creation of the Russian presidency, the emergence of electoral law for Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, and the evolution of institutional design regarding the formation of Russia's upper house, the Federal Council. This comparison shows why the first two cases of institutional design created lasting institutions—even though these new rules did not reflect precisely the interests of their creators—while the third case of institutional design did not.

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McFaul, M. Institutional Design, Uncertainty, and Path Dependency during Transitions: Cases from Russia. Constitutional Political Economy 10, 27–52 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009046431139

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Keywords

  • Political Institution
  • Path Dependency
  • Institutional Design
  • Lower House
  • Empirical Section