Research Interests

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy research interests have over time moved across the board. My early interest in the prospects for Soviet economic reform tilted me in the direction of systems theory, and subsequent ambitions to understand the problems of post-Soviet reform have caused me to develop a profound interest in institutional theory, modern as well as classical.

Inspired by Douglass North, I have become convinced that the increasingly narrow specialization of the various sub-disciplines of modern social science have left large empty spaces where theory no longer is up to the task. I have in consequence aimed to branch out from economics into a variety of other disciplines. I have tried to absorb the teachings of sociology, political science and law – and I have developed a devouring interest in Russian history.

My interest in the role of history, and in the causes of institutional reproduction over time, inspired me to write a book titled Russian Path Dependence (Routledge, 2005, in paperback 2012) that combines a millennium sweep of Russian history with a neo-institutional analytical approach.

My interest in the role of social science in understanding profound institutional change inspired a more recent work, titled Invisible Hands, Russian Experience and Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 2011, in paperback 2013), that investigates the causes of systemic failure.

More recently published, is a book on Russian energy policy that grapples with questions of resource nationalism and with the role of competing agendas in formulating Russian foreign and energy policy.

My current research interest is focused on the phenomenon of “Color Revolutions,” suggesting that such events have one important feature in common. They have fallen short of achieving sustainable change, and are mainly of interest as illustrations of the complexities involved in promoting systemic change by direct agency.