Wednesday, June 14, 2006

On Russia

A student emails me a question about Russia:

Dear Professor Mankiw,

I am one of the many students that has been introduced to your blog by a Pomona Professor and have ever since enjoyed it greatly!

I am currently in Moscow.... I know that you do not specialize on the Russian Economy, but what is your personal opinion on the way Russia is developing and its short and long term perspectives?...

Thank you very much for your time and keep up the GREAT work (the blog is indeed addictive)!

[name withheld]

p.s.I forgot to mention that your Intermediate Macro textbook was EXTREMELY helpful. Thanks a lot!

The student is right: I am not an expert on the Russian economy. Recognizing the principle of comparative advantage, I will outsource this question to someone who is.

I recommend that you read A Normal Country: Russia After Communism by Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman from the Winter 2005 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Their bottom line:
although Russia’s transition has been painful in many ways, and its economic and political systems remain far from perfect, the country has made remarkable economic and social progress. Russia’s remaining defects are typical of countries at its level of economic development.
By the way, Shleifer is my colleague at Harvard and is one of the best economists I know.