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Russian Summer School on Institutional Analysis 2012 – an Afterword

The 6th Russian Summer School on Institutional Analysis (RSSIA 2012) took place in Moscow region from July 5th – 11th 2012. Here, some of the participants share their impressions of the event.

RSSIA 2012 began on a hot day, July, 5th, when a comfortable bus drove all the participants from the HSE to hotel “Klyazma”, not far from Moscow. The Summer School brought together participants, distinguished experts from all over the world and, of course, the organizers of the event.

For some people this year was the first time they had participated in such an event. And the first time they had been to Russia. So for some, the fun began even earlier, with learning how to travel by the Moscow underground. But there were also some participants who were taking part in the Summer School for the third or fourth time. What makes them participate in such an event? Some participants said that RSSIA doesn’t have any Russian competitors in that field.

It is worth saying that the RSSIA has changed a lot since the first time it was held in 2007. Then it was just a “local” event for Russian researchers – now it is a truly international Summer School. For example, this year some participants came from Belgium, Spain, the USA, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Romania and Indonesia.

All the researchers believed that the Summer School was a great chance for everyone to discuss their projects with well-known experts as well as with the other participants. Many of them said that they had gathered plenty of new ideas that will help a great deal in their future research.

On the first day, researchers only had a couple of minutes to present the basic gist of their work. According to their comments, this way of organization gave all the members a general understanding of what all the projects were about. Thereafter they could more easily contact each other and exchange opinions and insights.

Almost every day after lectures RSSIA participants had several hours to discuss their projects with the experts (John Nye, Russel Pittman, Ricardo Perez Truglia, Mikhail Drugov, Sergey Popov, Francisco Martinez Mora and Maria Yudkevich). This meant that young researchers could not only get support but constructive ideas and comments on their projects as well.

For RSSIA seminars, participants were divided into 3 groups according to the topics of their research, in order to organize closer communication between presenters and discussants. Many of the participants said they had changed their projects a lot since the beginning of the Summer School. For example, Irina Kirysheva more or less created and proved a new theorem!

The program of RSSIA was overflowing with lectures on various subjects including competition and antitrust laws, bureaucrats and corruption, peer-group effects, econometrics etc.

Several participants, when discussing lectures, remarked on a particularly useful one by John Nye, Professor of Economics from George Mason University and Academic Supervisor of the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis in HSE. During that lecture he told the young researchers how to deliver presentations in order to keep the audience interested and, of course, to be heard and understood correctly.

It is worth saying that Summer School didn’t just include formal events. The game “Mafia” took an important place among the evenings’ entertainment: the cards with the characters − citizens, policemen, doctor and, of course, mafiozi − were randomly distributed to the players so that each player knew only his/her card for sure. The aim of the game was for innocent citizens to uncover all the mafiozi before the latter kill all of the former.

Evenings were also dedicated to sporting activities − for example, badminton or volleyball outside the hotel − and conversations afterwards while eating biscuits and rich-flavored chocolate candies from Kazakhstan (thanks to Marina Lukmanova).

The final ceremony took place on the last day before departure. Participants received certificates and those who were selected as “the best presenter” or “the best discussant” were awarded some nice prizes.

All the participants had a great time and enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the RSSIA 2012, and many of them are keen to participate in the Summer School again.

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