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

Fixing Russia’s Banks, Again: A Postscript

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, March 19, 2001

In our previous article, “Fixing Russia’s Banks, AGAIN,” we pointed out the failure of previous attempts by the IMF and international accounting firms to construct accurate, comprehensive balance sheets of Russia’s commercial banks and its financial system. Moreover, we have yet to see evidence that the IMF or international accounting firms have remedied their previous shortcomings.

Analysis and Commentary

Capital Flight?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, March 15, 2001

The presence of large capital flight is presumed to reflect a poor investment climate in Russia. It is also said to be a contributing factor of Russia’s long-run contraction

Analysis and Commentary

Is Financial Liberalization Good for Russia?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, March 8, 2001

Financial liberalization in the post-central planning world of the enterprise network is a recipe for socialism in a new guise.

Analysis and Commentary

Fixing Russia’s Banks, Again

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Monday, March 5, 2001

The same people, the IMF and its supportive foreign advisers, who repeatedly missed the boat all during the 1990s, are once again going to advise Russia on how to reform its banks. Is there reason to suppose that they will be any more successful this time?

Analysis and Commentary

Who's in Charge of Government Revenue: Russia's Oil Firms or the Government?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, February 22, 2001

The Russian government has been compelled to reduce the export tax in order to improve incentives for oil producers.

Analysis and Commentary

Too Many Dollars?

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Tuesday, February 20, 2001

Russia’s foreign currency and gold reserves have recently hit a new post-Soviet high, officially stated at $29.5 billion as of February 2, 2001. A rise in the domestic money supply has led some analysts to express concern that excess rouble liquidity may trigger inflation, which, in turn, could threaten both the internal and external competitiveness of Russia’s non-natural resource producers.

It’s the Dollar

by Michael S. Bernstam, Alvin Rabushka
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian ruble has had a bumpy ride. It has suffered periodic devaluations.

Analysis and Commentary

The 100% Repatriation Rule: An Option for Russia

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Thursday, January 25, 2001

All we need to establish as a policy matter is that the Central Bank's 75% repatriation and conversion rule appears to have been largely successful. What would be the consequences of a 100% rule?

Analysis and Commentary

To Default or Not Default, That Is the Question.

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia russianeconomy.org
Tuesday, January 16, 2001

There are more than sufficient foreign reserves among the assets of the Central Bank for the Russian government to meet its repayment schedule to the Paris Club, assuming that the government is willing to borrow from, or use some of its rubles to buy foreign currency from, the Bank. Thus far this year, the Russian government is resisting that step.

Is Russia on the Road to Recovery?

by Michael S. Bernstam, Alvin Rabushka
Thursday, January 11, 2001

Since 1991, living standards in Russia have fallen by 47 percent.

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