Authors: Zenonas Norkus
Abstract: Mikhail Gorbachev's reform promised to accelerate the growth of the Soviet economy, leading it out of the trap of stagnation. Boris Yeltsin's circle of reformers also believed that shedding the status of empire would encourage Russia's process of “catching up.” Nationalists from Soviet republics believed that the independence of their homelands would prompt similar economic effects. Did these hopes and promises materialize? Two measures are used to assess the economic effects of the dissolution of the USSR. (1) Acceleration performance: did the GDP per capita of the former Soviet (fSU) republics grow more rapidly during post-communist independence than in the late Soviet “stagnation era”? (2) Catching up performance: did fSU republics decrease the GDP per capita gap, separating them from the U.S. (fulfilling the promise to catch up and overtake U.S. which legitimated Communist rule in the USSR since 1961)? After dividing the fSU republics into two subsets (“success” and “failure” cases), multi-value qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is applied to explore the explanatory power of differences in the models of post-communist capitalism, involvement in wars, and natural resource endowments.