‘I Teach a Very Interesting Subject’
— Why do you think your students voted for you as an outstanding teacher?
— I think that this achievement is only partly down to me. I teach a very interesting subject, which is related to real life. Specifically, in the context of the recent financial crisis, the problems I talk about are more and more interesting and topical.
— Speaking about relevance, in your PhD thesis there are some conclusions which look temptingly topical: a compact formula describing models of interaction between some macroeconomic indicators, including such policy options where increasing state debt does not lead to growing inflation. It looks like it could be taken and used immediately. But would I be mistaken to say that no government in the world has adopted this method? Why do you think that is?
— My analysis was related to the connection between two processes: accumulation of state debt, and inflation. While inflation is traditionally considered as a monetary phenomenon and related to central bank policies, the problem of state debt sustainability is a problem of fiscal policy implemented by the government.
When I wrote my thesis, over 5 years ago, it did not seem as relevant as today, if we consider the debt situation in Greece and other European countries, as well as in the US and Japan. In my paper I tried to prove that the problems of state debt do not always and inevitably cause inflation problems. My thesis proposed a model which shows that there are some variants of fiscal and monetary policy which will be able to support a sustainable balance.
Many things depend on the form of interaction chosen by the government and the central bank. Interaction between the academic community and decision-making officials works in a way where central banks, including Russia’s, have good-quality research departments which develop their own working models on the basis of models suggested by the academic community. Fiscal policy is implemented in another way. Decision-making politicians depend on socio-political processes and do not always listed to academics.
In relation to this, Eric Leeper recently published a very interesting paper where he called this situation ‘monetary science and fiscal alchemy’.
— What is your first priority at the HSE, and what takes more time – research, teaching, or, more recently, administrative work?
— Unfortunately, of these three activities, administrative work takes up the most time, then teaching, and then research. Though, in terms of my personal preferences, the ranking is exactly the opposite.
— I see, so that must make your academic achievements even more valuable, then. Do you have any recent publications you’d like to mention?
— I published my paper in a well respected academic journal. (Budget deficits and inflation feedback, S.E. Pekarski // Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, 2011). One of my recent papers includes an article published in the HSE’s Economic Journal, about the Nobel laureates Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims. My academic work started after reading Sargent’s and Wallace’s article ‘Some Unpleasant Monetarist Arithmetic’. And when Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims became Nobel laureates in 2011, it was a huge event for me, and I was happy to agree, together with my colleague, Oxana Malakhovskaya, to write an article celebrating these two outstanding researchers.
Mikhail Blinkin is one of Russia’s leading experts in urbanism, city planning, and urban transport. He has headed the HSE Institute for Transport Economics and Transport Policy Studies since 2011 and has been HSE Tenured Professor since 2013. In 2017, Mikhail Blinkin was the recipient of an HSE Honour Award 1st Class, as well as the Golden HSE award for Best Expert.
On November 27, the HSE Academic Council held an awards ceremony dedicated to the university’s 25th anniversary. The meeting saw the participation of representatives of the Russian President, members of government, and members of the Russian Federal Assembly. Governmental awards were given to a number of HSE employees for their tremendous accomplishments.
The Best Teachers 2017 competition at HSE recently reached its completion. Although the overall procedure this year was the same as it was in 2016, the financial terms changed – the bonuses for the winners have been increased. Vadim Radaev, First Vice Rector of HSE, told us about the vote and some of the perks for all of the winners.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree for the commendation of prominent public and political figures. Andrey Zhulin, Vice Rector at HSE Perm, Galina Volodina, Director of HSE Perm, and Valeria Kasamara, HSE’s Senior Director for Government Relations, are among the figures mentioned in the decree.
From May 29 to June 18 students can vote for HSE’s best teachers of the academic year. This year there is no need to come to the university to vote. Students can submit their scores online via LMS.
Students and alumni of the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and St. Petersburg have determined the Best Teachers of 2015. HSE First Vice Rector Vadim Radaev discusses the results of the voting.
At the HSE Faculty of Economics Professor Marek Dabrowski teaches a Master’s course in Macroeconomic Policy in Transition and Emerging Economies. Global trends are changing and everything from consumer goods to life insurance is available online. Should education follow the trend of immediate online access or is there a special path for it? In December 2014 the course in Macroeconomic Policy in Transition and Emerging Economies was launched on Coursera. Could it help students from less developed countries achieve their career goals? HSE online student magazine Read Square has asked Professor Dabrowski to share his ideas.