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

Beijing Consensus for Russia?

by Michael S. Bernstam, Alvin Rabushkavia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Hong Kong's economic writers believe that Russia is beginning to adopt the Beijing consensus, China's pragmatic approach to economic policy.

Fixing China's Banks, Not Russia's

by Michael S. Bernstam, Alvin Rabushka
Tuesday, May 25, 2004

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what about two pictures?

Analysis and Commentary

Shorting Russia's Banks

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, January 22, 2004

Like all business decisions, the wisdom or miscalculation of the purchase of Bank One by J.P. Morgan Chase will be evaluated by future returns and share prices. How does this story compare with Russia?

Analysis and Commentary

Goldilocks and the Three [Russian] Bears

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Goldilocks has entered the Russian bears' house. High oil prices will harm growth. Low oil prices will harm growth. Only the right oil prices will foster growth.

Analysis and Commentary

Financial Sector Reform in Russia: DÉjÀ Vu All Over Again

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

To this day, neither the IMF or other transition scholars have yet proposed any real reform of Russia's banks. Rather, they, as exemplified in this most recent IMF paper, choose to reiterate shopworn cliches, and then wonder why Russia's banks, and its economy in general, remain in need of reform.

Analysis and Commentary

Russia on Auto-Pilot

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, January 6, 2003

Since last summer, the Russian economy has been largely on auto-pilot. Economic policy discussion has virtually ground to a halt.

Analysis and Commentary

A Tale of Two Countries

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, November 18, 2002

China grows at 8% a year, while the IMF tells Russia, which cannot even recover from the Great Contraction of the 1990s, to reduce inflation by a few percentage points.

Analysis and Commentary

Market, Shmarket, WTO

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, November 13, 2002

In 2002, Western governments unleashed an inconceivable attack on the idea of the market economy.

Analysis and Commentary

What Real Appreciation of the Ruble? A Postscript: Is Real Depreciation Setting in?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, August 12, 2002

Data published by the Central Bank of Russia showed that the real effective exchange rate (the real trade-weighted exchange rate) of the ruble had only modestly increased 4.9% during the first half (H1) of 2002 compared with H1 of 2001 and a smaller 1.2% compared with H2 of 2001. The data are suggestive of a possible shift in direction, from real appreciation of the ruble to real depreciation of the ruble.

Analysis and Commentary

Getting the Macroeconomic Balances Right? Or Achieving High Growth? Are the Two Compatible in Russia?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Increasing the share of private income in GDP is the quickest path to higher growth. So long as the network of enterprise socialism enjoys its subsidy and self-subsidy powers, Russia will be hard pressed to turn in sustained high growth.

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