Mirrors of the Economy

Mirrors of the Economy

National Accounts and International Norms in Russia and Beyond
  • Honorable Mention, 2011 Ed A. Hewett Book Prize (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies)

As international institutions multiply and more governments sign on to standardized ways of organizing economies and societies, resistance to globalization persists. In Mirrors of the Economy, Yoshiko M. Herrera explores the variance in implementation of international institutions through an examination of the international System of National Accounts (SNA), and, in particular, the success of post-Soviet Russia and other formerly communist countries in implementing the SNA. The SNA is the basis for all national economic indicators, including Gross Domestic Product, and is therefore a critical institution for economic policy and development.

Herrera tests existing theories of implementation of international institutions and proposes a novel theoretical concept, "conditional norms," to suggest that the conditions attached to norms may result in institutional change. On the basis of content analysis of statistical publications and more than seventy-five interviews throughout Russia—particularly in Moscow—and in Washington she forms a clear picture of the implementation of SNA in Russia in the early 1990s. In Soviet times a stable conditional norm delineated the appropriateness of statistical institutions based on the structure of the economy. The transformation of the economic system triggered a shift in support among Russian and Eastern European statisticians in favor of the SNA. Herrera's argument increases our understanding of the role of norms, structural conditions, and professional communities in institutional implementation.