in: New Political Economy, Volume 20, Issue 4, 2015, S. 518-544.


An intense discussion is taking place in international political economy on the influence of economic ideas on institutional change. Case studies so far have, however, mainly focused on the Western industrialised countries and research seems to be biased towards cases in which new ideas caused lasting institutional change. The present paper addresses these two shortcomings by analysing the case of the Russian Stabilisation Fund (SF). This case is an example both of the impact of global ideas on a non-Western emerging country and of a ‘near miss’ in the sense that imported neoliberal ideas failed to assert themselves enduringly. Paradoxically, it can be shown how the neoliberally based idea of the SF even contributed to the return to Soviet patterns of industrial policy. The main reason for this, we argue, is that the Fund’s implementation was not preceded by economic and political debates. Accordingly, the imported institution of the SF had to be filled with ideational content after its implementation.

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