Mark Harrison, 07 November 2017

Russia’s Soviet era was distinguished not by economic growth or human development, but by the use of the economy to build national power. On the centenary of the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, this column shows that while the education of women and better survival rates of children improved opportunities for many citizens, Soviet Russia was a tough and unequal environment in which to be born, live and grow old. The Soviet economy was designed for the age of mass production and mass armies. That age has gone, but the idea of the Soviet economy lives on, fed by nostalgia and nationalism.

Melissa Dell, Pablo Querubin, 16 August 2016

The nature of US military interventions has become relevant in the face of new growing threats, particularly from so-called Islamic State. While top-down strategies that rely on overwhelming firepower are sometimes favoured by politicians, longer-term strategies use a bottom-up approach, gaining citizens’ support through civic engagement. This column introduces evidence from US actions during the Vietnam War to show that bottom-up approaches are more successful in countering insurgencies than violent, top-down interventions.

Andrei Shleifer, 05 February 2012

Twenty years ago, communist countries began their shift towards capitalism. What do we know now that we didn’t know then? Harvard's Andrei Shleifer, the Russian-born, American-trained economist, provides his answers and their relevance for contemporary policymakers.

László Bruszt, Jan Fidrmuc, Nauro Campos, Gérard Roland, 07 May 2010

Do political protests make a difference? This column examines a new dataset focusing on political protests before the fall of communism. Countries that had a strong civil society, and a lenient communist government, have embarked on a path towards sound political institutions, economic reforms and democratisation. Those that had a weak civil society and repressive governments have not.