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The interaction of grassroots communities and local authorities in Russia

Shagalov, Igor (2015): The interaction of grassroots communities and local authorities in Russia. Published in: Working papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series EC "Economics" , Vol. 97, (28. July 2015): pp. 1-28.

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Abstract

Taking into consideration the underdevelopment of the Russian civil community it is of essential interest to touch upon local communities (known as TOS). Local governments and TOS communities could provide similar services and as such cooperate or compete with each other. Community initiatives could supplant poorly performing government services, or governments could outsource to communities some of its functions. Based on empirical Russian data, collected in the city of Kirov this research shows that the prevailing initial incentive to establish TOS is driven by the prospect of obtaining seed money from the government. We detected sources of TOS advantages over municipal authorities: ratio of costs and benefits, sensitivity to the demands of consumers, social capital, and voluntary nature of TOS. TOS are more likely to emerge in communities where people are sceptical about the efficacy of conventional mechanisms of democratic accountability, and prefer to collaborate with municipal governments on specific projects

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