Andrei Shleifer

Andrei Shleifer is Professor of Economics at Harvard University and recipient of the 1999 John Bates Clark Medal. He is the author of Without a Map: Political Tactics and Economic Reform in Russia (MIT Press, 2000) and other books.

  • The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

    The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators

    Andrei Shleifer

    A noted economist argues that the ubiquity of regulation can be explained by its greater efficiency when compared to litigation.

    Government regulation is ubiquitous today in rich and middle-income countries—present in areas that range from workplace conditions to food processing to school curricula—although standard economic theories predict that it should be rather uncommon. In this book, Andrei Shleifer argues that the ubiquity of regulation can be explained not so much by the failure of markets as by the failure of courts to solve contract and tort disputes cheaply, predictably, and impartially. When courts are expensive, unpredictable, and biased, the public will seek alternatives to dispute resolution. The form this alternative has taken throughout the world is regulation.

    The Failure of Judges and the Rise of Regulators gathers Shleifer's influential writings on regulation and adds to them a substantial introductory essay in which Shleifer critiques the standard theories of economic regulation and proposes “the Enforcement Theory of Regulation,” which sees regulation as the more efficient strategy for social control of business. Subsequent chapters present the theoretical and empirical case against the efficiency of courts, make the historical and theoretical case for the comparative efficiency of regulation, and offer two empirical studies suggesting circumstances in which regulation might emerge as an efficient solution to social problems. Shleifer does not offer an unconditional endorsement of regulation and its expansion but rather argues that it is better than its alternatives, particularly litigation.

    Contributors Nicola Gennaioli, Anthony Niblett, Richard A. Posner, Simeon Djankov, Rafael La Porta, Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes, Edward L. Glaeser, Simon Johnson, Casey B. Mulligan

    • Hardcover $44.00 £36.00
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00
  • Without a Map

    Without a Map

    Political Tactics and Economic Reform in Russia

    Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman

    A balanced look at Russia's attempts to build capitalism on the ruins of Soviet central planning.

    Recent commentators on Russia's economic reforms have almost uniformly declared them a disappointing and avoidable—failure. In this book, two American scholars take a new and more balanced look at the country's attempts to build capitalism on the ruins of Soviet central planning. They show how and why the Russian reforms achieved remarkable breakthroughs in some areas but came undone in others. Unlike Eastern European countries such as Poland or the Czech Republic, to which it is often compared, Russia is a federal, ethnically diverse, industrial giant with an economy heavily oriented toward raw materials extraction. The political obstacles it faced in designing reforms were incomparably greater. Shleifer and Treisman tell how Russia's leaders, navigating in uncharted economic terrain, managed to find a path around some of these obstacles. In successful episodes, central reformers devised a strategy to win over some key opponents, while dividing and marginalizing others. Such political tactics made possible the rapid privatization of 14,000 state enterprises in 1992-1994 and the defeat of inflation in 1995. But failure to outmaneuver the new oligarchs and regional governors after 1996 undermined reformers' attempts to collect taxes and clean up the bureaucracy that has stifled business growth.Renewing a strain of analysis that runs from Machiavelli to Hirschman, the authors reach conclusions about political strategies that have important implications for other reformers. They draw on their extensive knowledge of the country and recent experience as advisors to Russian policymakers. Written in an accessible style, the book should appeal to economists, political scientists, policymakers, businesspeople, and all those interested in Russian politics or economics.

    • Hardcover $52.50 £45.00
    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99
  • Privatizing Russia

    Privatizing Russia

    Maxim Boycko, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert W. Vishny

    Privatizing Russia offers an inside look at one of the most remarkable reforms in recent history. Having started on the back burner of Russian politics in the fall of 1991, mass privatization was completed on July 1, 1994, with two thirds of the Russian industry privately owned, a rapidly rising stock market, and 40 million Russians owning company shares. The authors, all key participants in the reform effort, describe the events and the ideas driving privatization. They argue that successful reformers must recognize privatization as a process of depoliticizing firms in the face of massive opposition: making the firm responsive to market rather than political influences. The authors first review the economic theory of property rights, identifying the political influence on firms as the fundamental failure of property rights under socialism. They detail the process of coalition building and compromise that ultmately shaped privatization. The main elements of the Russian program—corporatization, voucher use, and voucher auctions—are described, as is the responsiveness of privatized firms to outside investors. Finally, the market values of privatized assets are assessed for indications of how much progress the country has made toward reforming its economy. In many respects, privatization has been a great success. Market concepts of property ownership and corporate management are shaking up Russian firms at a breathtaking pace, creating powerful economic and political stimuli for continuation of market reforms. At the same time, the authors caution, the political landscape remains treacherous as old-line politicians reluctantly cede their property rights and authority over firms.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £38.00
    • Paperback $25.00 £20.00
  • Post-Communist Reform

    Post-Communist Reform

    Pain and Progress

    Olivier Blanchard, Maxim Boycko, Marek Dabrowski, Rudiger Dornbusch, Richard Layard, and Andrei Shleifer

    In this new report, they take stock, returning to the original themes and assessing progress and prospects, particularly in Russia.

    In their earlier report, Reform in Eastern Europe, the WIDER group assessed the main building blocks of a successful transition in Eastern Europe: stabilization, price liberalization, privatization, and restructuring. For the last three years this group of leading economists has been heavily involved in the reform process. In this new report, they take stock, returning to the original themes and assessing progress and prospects, particularly in Russia.Stabilization in the major Central European countries was done very much by the book. Russia, in contrast, is following a path of restructuring without stabilization. The authors discuss how far this alternative strategy is likely to get. Turning to privatization, they note that initial plans started from the assumption that the state owned the assets. As slow progress of those plans has painfully shown, this was the wrong assumption. They point out that assets have in fact many de facto claimants, from managers to workers to local authorities to ministries, and discuss how the current Russian privatization program starts and builds up from this more realistic assessment.

    In the face of a collapse of trade in Eastern Europe, triggered by reform in Central Europe and a similar collapse between republics following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the authors show how simple measures such as a payments union can be used to increase trade and output. Post-Communist Reform concludes with a look at restructuring in Poland. The authors focus on the behavior of the state, the growth of the private sector, the role of financial systems, and the coherence of overall government policy, ending on a note of cautious optimism.

    • Hardcover $32.00 £26.00
    • Paperback $20.00 £15.99

Contributor

  • Financial Innovation

    Financial Innovation

    Too Much or Too Little?

    Michael Haliassos

    Prominent economists consider the role of financial innovation in economic crises.

    In assigning blame for the recent economic crisis, many have pointed to the proliferation of new, complex financial products—mortgage securitization in particular—as being at the heart of the meltdown. The prominent economists from academia, policy institutions, and financial practice who contribute to this book, however, take a more nuanced view of financial innovation. They argue that it was not too much innovation but too little innovation—and the lack of balance between debt-related products and asset-related products—that lies behind the crisis. Prevention of future financial crises, then, will be aided by a regulatory and legal framework that fosters the informed use of financial innovation and its positive effects on the economy rather than quashing innovation entirely.

    The book, which includes two contributions from 2013 Nobe Laureate Robert Shiller as well as a discussion of Shiller's “MacroMarkets” tool, considers the key ingredients of financial innovation from both academia and industry; and how future innovation-lined crises might be avoided.

    Contributors Josef Ackermann, Nicholas C. Barberis, John Y. Campbell, Karl E. Case, Robin Greenwood, Michael Haliassos, Otmar Issing, Alexander Popov, Robert J. Shiller, Andrei Shleifer, Frank R. Smets, Susan J. Smith, Maria Vassalou, Luis M. Viceira

    • Hardcover $19.75 £15.99
    • Paperback $9.75 £7.99