Fall 2023 - 61130 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy


REE 387 (61130) Informal Institutions in Eastern Europe and Russia 

Instructor: Dr. Volodymyr Kulikov | Email: v.kulikov@utexas.edu 

Fall 2023

Informal institutions exist all over the world, but in most Eastern European countries, they dominate the formal rules and create obstacles to the rule of law. Why do informal institutions are so persistent at different levels, from individual transactions to corporate governance and state policies? How do they shape politics, business, law, media, networks, and organizations? We will look at the practices of tax evasion and “alternative” techniques of contracts, clandestine payments, clientelism, corruption, nepotism, and violent entrepreneurship. We will analyze a variety of sources: worker’s memoirs, Soviet comedy films, and the investigation films made by the Russian NGO “Anti-Corruption Foundation.” By the end of the course, students will understand the role of informal institutions in shaping the past and present of Eastern European societies and learn how to mitigate the negative consequences of informality.

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