Ed A Hewett Book Prize

2017 Citation Recipient

Juliet Johnson

The Ed A Hewett Book Prize, established in 1994 and sponsored by the University of Michigan Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, is awarded annually for an outstanding monograph on the political economy of Russia, Eurasia and/or Eastern Europe, published in the previous year.

Co-Winner: Juliet Johnson
Title: Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World (Cornell University Press)

Priests of Prosperity is motivated by a puzzle from the post-communist experience with empirical and theoretical implications for regions around the world: in countries with reform trajectories otherwise so different, why did central banks converge so quickly on a single ideational and institutional model? Drawing on documents and interviews gathered over 14 years from five countries spanning the former Soviet empire, Juliet Johnson shows how a transnational community of central bankers was able to spread a gospel of central bank independence and tight monetary policy, even as the IMF and others were unable to produce similar homogeneity in industrial privatization, agrarian reform, pension restructuring, or any other policy area. Johnson also demonstrates that the failure of this externally- advocated reform to be embedded in local political structures left it open to attack in later years. The book thus shines a light on a crucial but understudied aspect of post-communist political economies and makes a major advance in our understanding of institutional change.

Co-Winner: Sergei Antonov