Michael S. Bernstam

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Michael S. Bernstam, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is an economic demographer who studies the centrality of income redistribution for the taxonomy and evolution of economic systems, long-run economic growth, demographic transition, social revolutions, conflict, and other social changes.

The focus of his work in the past ten years has been on the causes of economic growth and contraction in former central plan economies, with special emphasis on Russia, China, and the former East Germany, and how to reconcile them with earlier global experience. To this end, he is at work on the book From Predation to Prosperity: How to Move from Socialism to Markets (with Alvin Rabushka). Several chapters of this book, as well as numerous articles and commentaries on the subject, are posted at www.russiaeconomy.org, a web site created jointly by Bernstam and Rabushka.

Bernstam's previous books include Fixing Russia's Banks: A Proposal for Growth, with Alvin Rabushka (Hoover Institution Press, 1998); Inter-Enterprise Debt and the Russian Coal Sector, with Thomas E. MaCurdy (Partners in Economic Reform for the USAID, 1996); and Reform without Shock, with Vladimir Leksin (Supreme Economic Council of Russia, 1992).

Bernstam's other major publications include Resources, Environment, and Population: Present Knowledge, Future Options, with Kingsley Davis (Oxford University Press, 1991); The Wealth of Nations and the Environment (Institute of Economic Affairs, 1991); Malthus and the Evolution of the Welfare State, with Peter L. Swan (University of New South Wales, 1989); and Below-Replacement Fertility in Industrial Societies: Causes and Consequences, with Kingsley Davis and Rita Ricardo-Campbell (Cambridge University Press, 1986). He has also authored numerous articles, papers, and book chapters.

Bernstam served as visiting professor of economics at Monash University, Victoria, Australia, in 1989 and as an adjunct professor in Stanford University's Overseas Studies Program in 1997–99.

During 1991–95, Bernstam served as economic adviser to the Russian Parliament, the Central Bank of Russia, and the Russian government on several policy projects. He is a regular commentator on the Russian economy and finance for Radio Liberty, Voice of America, and the BBC.

His research papers are available at the Hoover Institution Archives.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

Will the Central Bank of Russia Remain Independent?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, January 10, 2001

In late December 2000 and early January 2001, a spate of stories appeared in the Western and Russian press that President Vladimir Putin was determined to overhaul Russia’s banking system.

Analysis and Commentary

Can Russia Grow Faster than 4 Percent? Yes, if....

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, January 4, 2001

It’s important to understand why Russia grew 7.6% in 2000. The answer is an interaction of two factors.

Analysis and Commentary

Germany and Russia Discuss Debt for Equity Swaps

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, December 4, 2000

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany and Prime Minister Mikhail M. Kasyanov of Russia agreed to set up a working group to explore the proposal of a debt-for-equity swap.

Analysis and Commentary

Fact and Fancy about Post-Communist Economic Reforms

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Apart from a sharp decline in living standards, the greatest loser in Russia’s economic reforms has been plain facts.

Analysis and Commentary

Russia’s Banks Are Corrupt and Unreformed

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, October 2, 2000

The failure to reform Russia’s banks, wrote the The Moscow correspondent of The Economist, is hampering the development of a vital source of financing for restructuring Russian enterprises.

Analysis and Commentary

Russia Has No Real Banks

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, September 21, 2000

Russia’s banks are ersatz banks, not real banks; their main activity is to transmit subsidies from the government to enterprises.

Analysis and Commentary

How Big Are Russia's Foreign Exchange Reserves?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, September 11, 2000

To find an answer, we need to examine monthly balance sheets of the Central Bank, the debt records of the Ministry of Finance, and the collective balance sheets of the monetary authority, which comprises jointly the Central Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance.

Analysis and Commentary

Russia Adopts 13% Flat Tax

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, July 26, 2000

The Russian government, under its new president, Vladimir Putin, has made tax reform its number one economic policy priority. It

Analysis and Commentary

How to Reverse the Upcoming Russian Bust

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Saturday, July 1, 2000

A real banking system, a crucial leg in the triad of the financial system (fiscal, monetary, and banking), would effectively separate management of the monetary system from private finance, beget private productive incentives, mobilize private savings, and finance private investment.

Analysis and Commentary

It’s the Dollar

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Sunday, January 30, 2000

With the U.S. dollar as legal tender in Russia, the issue of an overvalued ruble disappears.

Pages

From Predation to Prosperity: How to Move from Socialism to Markets

From Predation to Prosperity

This book starts with the experience of Russia since the end of central planning. It covers the great contraction of 1992-98 and the subsequent recovery in 1999-2006. It offers and empirically supports a uniform explanation of both the contraction and the recovery.

The Russian Economy