Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science

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Anna Michels-Boger, M.A.

Research Assistant and Doctoral Student

Research Project 

Bricolage of institutional transfers in Russia: The city manager in the local self- government

The qualitative research project examines the translation, implementation and modification of an institutional transfer during the reform of local self-government in Russia between 2003 and 2015.

Inspired by U.S. best-practice, the so-called city manager was transferred to make local administration in districts more effective and professional. However, the city manager was used as mean to abolish mayors’ public elections in regional capital cities despite numerous protests of local citizens.

My thesis claims that institutional transfers are remodeled in a contingent trial and error process whose outcomes are not rationally planned or intended by federal policy actors. Short timescale planning and ad hoc policy adjustments due to low implementation costs characterizes institutional experimentation in Russia. On various levels of Russian governance, institutional outcomes are produced collectively by serving contextual power interests.

This qualitative study analyses the law making process in the arena of Russian local self-government in multiple levels of governance (federal, regional, local). It is a careful description of how policy actors select, combine and reshuffle various resources at hand that are available in their institutional context to meet their ends. The Ph.D. thesis aims to explain institutional change through bricolage of institutional transfers in hybrid and authoritative regimes.