In several countries economic transition was accompanied by the emergence of ‘oligarchs’ – businessmen who amassed fortunes and used them to influence economic policies. At their height in 2003, a few oligarchs controlled much of Russia’s economy, as did a similar elite in Ukraine. Oligarchs seem to run their empires more efficiently than other domestic owners. While the relative weight of their firms in the economy is huge, it is not excessive by the standards of the global economy where most of them are operating. Policymakers should therefore focus on ‘political antitrust’ to prevent state capture and subversion of institutions.
KeywordsArbitrage Berezovsky, B. Bribery Democracy Hold-up problem Khodorkovsky, M. Loans-for-shares auctions (Russia) Market power Oligarchs Ownership and control, separation of Ownership concentration Private property Privatization Putin, V. Rent seeking Tariffs Total factor productivity Transition and institutions Vertical integration World Trade Organization
This articledraws substantially on Guriev and Rachinsky (2005) and mostly refers to the situation in Russia prior to the renationalization campaign that started in 2004.
- Aslund, A. 2006. Revolution in orange: The origins of Ukraine’s democratic breakthrough. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.Google Scholar
- Boone, P., and D. Rodionov. 2002. Rent seeking in Russia and the CIS. Moscow: Brunswick UBS Warburg.Google Scholar
- Dynkin, A., and A. Sokolov. 2002. Integrated business groups in the Russian economy [in Russian]. Voprosy Ekonomiki 4: 78–95.Google Scholar
- Financial Times. 1996. Moscow’s Group of Seven. 1 November, p. 17.Google Scholar
- FOM (Fond Obschestvennogo Mnenia [Public Opinion Foundation]). 2000. Government and Large Business: A Poll of 1500 Russian Citizens Held on 5 August 2000 [in Russian]. Online. Available at http://bd.fom.ru/report/cat/societas/market_economy/economic_reform/private_enterprise/power_and_business/d001621. Accessed 16 June 2006.
- Forbes. 2002–6. The world’s billionaires. Online. Available at http://www.forbes. com/billionaires, consulted 16 June 2006.
- Freeland, C. 2000. Sale of the century: Russia’s wild ride from communism to capitalism. New York: Crown Business.Google Scholar
- Glaeser, E., J. Scheinkman, and A. Shleifer. 2003. Journal of Monetary Economics 50, 199–222.Google Scholar
- Gorodnichenko, Y., and Y. Grygorenko. 2005. Are oligarchs productive? Theory and evidence. Mimeo: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
- Hoffman, D. 2003. The oligarchs: Wealth and power in the new Russia. New York: Public Affairs.Google Scholar
- Khanna, T., and Y. Yafeh. 2005. Business groups in emerging markets: Paragons or parasites? Discussion Paper No. 5208. London: CEPR.Google Scholar
- Kommersant. 2003. Who owns Russia? [in Russian]. Moscow: Vagrius.Google Scholar
- London, J. 1908. The iron heel. London/New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Pappe, Y. 2000. The oligarchs. Moscow: Higher School of Economics.Google Scholar
- Rajan, R., and L. Zingales. 2003. Saving capitalism from the capitalists: Unleashing the power of financial markets to create wealth and spread opportunity. New York: Crown Business.Google Scholar
- Vedomosti. 2003. Take away and divide: People’s aspirations have not changed in 86 years [in Russian]. 18 July.Google Scholar
- World Bank. 2004. From transition to development: A country economic memorandum for the Russian Federation. Moscow: World Bank.Google Scholar