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Russia’s Legal Transitions: Marxist Theory, Neoclassical Economics and the Rule of Law

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Hamilton, J 


We review the role of economic theory in shaping the process of legal change in Russia during the two transitions it experienced during the course of the twentieth century: the transition to a socialist economy organised along the lines of state ownership of the means of production in the 1920s, and the transition to a market economy which occurred after the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Despite differences in methodology and in policy implications, Marxist theory, dominant in the 1920s, and neoclassical economics, dominant in the 1990s, offered a similarly reductive account of law as subservient to wider economic forces. In both cases, the subordinate place accorded to law undermined the transition process. Although path dependence and history are frequently invoked to explain the limited development of the rule of law in Russia during the 1990s, policy choices driven by a deterministic conception of law and economics also played a role.



Russia, Transition, Rule of law, Economic theory

Journal Title

Hague Journal on the Rule of Law

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Economic and Social Research Council (ES/J012491/1)