Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Cameron Shelton

Reader 2

Larissa Rudova

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Rights Information

© 2017 Joshua W Rooney


A fundamental question to both historians and development economists is why countries today are able to reach and maintain such starkly different economic outcomes. Popular explanations include geographic and climatological features, short-term policy decisions, and economic institutions. This paper looks at the importance of violence and social pressure in the transformation and conservation of political and economic institutions in Russia. It finds that several major historical legacies including serfdom, Mongol dominance, Orthodoxy, and authoritarianism significantly influence both the past a present institutional setting. Furthermore, such legacies have proven to be major obstructions to the emergence of economic liberalism.