Russiaâ€™s impressive growth record since 2000 is driven largely by high world oil prices (Desai, 2006). This rapid growth, however, may be a â€œflash in the panâ€ because high oil prices enable the Russian government to engage in rent-seeking and to postpone deep restructuring (BerglÃ¶f, et al, 2003). We use detailed crude oil shipping export data in 2003 and 2005 to test for whether the Russian federal government has used its control over exports primarily to extract rents or to promote efficiency. If the government is engaged in rent seeking, this is suggestive that growth since 2000 is a â€œflash in the panâ€. But, if the government has restructured its regulation of crude oil exports, then there is reason to be more optimistic. We find that by 2005 the Russian federal government promotes efficient oil exporting. Moreover, in 2005 economic criteria including transport cost, production costs and productivity are more important determinants of export access than at the beginning of the Putin administration in 1999.
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