Promoting Property Rights in Russia: The Value of Private Solutions PDF Print E-mail

Timothy Frye, Columbia University


Most strategies of strengthening property rights focus on public institutions, such as courts and bailiffs. However, private institutions, networks of reputation, and social organizations also play a key role in shaping the quality of property rights. This essay explores the interplay of public and private institutions in promoting trade between firms in Russia. Survey-based experiments of 500 businesspeople conducted in Russia in 2008 find that a good reputation provides a more potent stimulus to trade than does a 15 percent discount in price; that reputation and state-run courts each promote trade; and that reputation and courts are complements rather than substitutes, that is, reputation provides a stronger boost to trade when courts work well and vice versa. Rather than undermining public institutions, private institutions in this case underpin them. The paper concludes by drawing policy implications from the findings.


Contact Information

National Council for Eurasian and East European Research

DC Office
  • 1828 L Street NW Suite 1200
  • Washington, DC 20036
  • Tel: 202-572-9095
  • Fax: 866-937-9872
  • E-mail:

ac_logo_small carnegielogo_small sd_logo_small NEH



National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER) is a non-profit organization created in 1978 to develop and sustain long-term, high-quality programs for post-doctoral research on the social, political, economic, environmental, and historical development of Eurasia and Central and Eastern Europe.   More

Latest NCEEER Working Papers








Doctors' and Parents' Perspectives on Communication Regarding HPV Vaccination in Bulgaria

Elitsa Dimitrova, Yulia Panayotova, Anna Alexandrova-Karamanova, and Irina Todorova

Contextual Constitution of Behavior: Introducing the HPV Vaccine in Eastern Europe

Irina Todorova and Adrian Baban

The Readers of Novyi Mir, 1948-1969: A Social Portrait

Denis Kozlov