Fixing Russia's Banks documents how Russia's financial system is built on what Michael S. Bernstam and Alvin Rabushka call ersatz banks. These inferior imitation banks have served largely as tools of the government to redistribute public funds to favored firms. The highly vaunted achievements of privatization, removal of price controls, and foreign trade liberalization have failed to produce growth because of a lack of private financing. National income has declined nearly 40 percent since 1992, with no recovery in sight.
Michael S. Bernstam, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is an economic demographer who studies economic systems in their relationship with income, population, financial development, natural resources, the environment, conflict, and other social change. Alvin Rabushka, the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, works in the public policy areas of taxation in the United States and abroad, economic development in the Pacific Rim countries, and the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe, notably Russia.