The Importance of a Good Diagnosis
On April 1-4, 2014 in Moscow, the HSE with support of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund organizes the XV April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. The Conference Programme Committee is chaired by Professor Evgeny Yasin.
|Professor Sebastian Galiani|
― Will this be your first lecture at the HSE-Moscow? How did you get involved in the April Conference?
― I once gave a lecture on property rights at a conference organized at the HSE by Professor Sonin. This time I was kindly invited by Professor Yasin.
― Are the problems of inequality and poverty the same all over the world? To what extent are these economic problems, and to what extent are they social?
― There are commonalities and differences across regions — and even within regions — in terms of both the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality. Just to give an obvious example, large differences exist between the rural and urban poor. Obvious economic reasons are at the root of the cause of both phenomenon, but important behavioral aspects also contribute to their perpetuation, ceteris paribus. Poverty, obviously, varies much across the development ladder of countries.
― How important is economic growth to reduce poverty?
― In the long run, economic growth is a powerful instrument for reducing absolute poverty. Since 1820, the world’s extreme poverty rate has decreased from 85% to below 20%. In Latin America, Chile is an impressive success story in terms of poverty reduction. However, growth is not always so effective in reducing poverty, at least in the short and medium terms. In the U.S., poverty plummeted during the early 60s, which was a period of rapid economic growth. It has remained relatively stable since then, even though the U.S. economy has continued to grow and has, in fact, expanded quite swiftly since the late 1980s. This change in trend is mainly accounted for by the increase in income inequality that has taken place during this latter period.
― Inequality affects the extent to which growth affects poverty. Does it also affect economic growth?
― Inequality, per se, may also be detrimental for economic growth. When markets are missing or imperfect, the distribution of wealth and power affects the allocation of investment opportunities and, thus, detracts from the economy’s efficiency. Additionally, high levels of economic and political inequality tend to give rise to economic and political institutions that systematically favor the interests of the most influential groups.
― From what you have learned working in Latin America, do you think there are solutions to the problems of poverty and inequality that can be applied to Russia?
― Certainly, there are important lessons that we can gather from recent research, especially experimental research. We are learning much about how to better affect incentives and also about policies that work and policies that do not work as well as expected. A large part of that research is conducted in Africa and South Asia, though.
Latin America is a highly unequal region. Poverty is concentrated among informal workers, which makes redistribution more difficult. Therefore, there, the efforts have been directed at finding cost-effective policies targeted to poor households. The aim was mainly that of building up the present and future income-generation capacity of the poor. Governments have relied heavily on Conditional Cash Transfers. These instruments are useful to alleviate poverty in the short-run, and have also shown some effectiveness at inducing human capital accumulation. However, other interventions are shown to be much more effective to achieve the second objective. It is important first to have a good diagnostic of what are the problems and constraints and then to evaluate the proposed solutions.
― Would you give us an example of an intervention that seems to work and that could be relevant in Russia.
― A large body of research, both experimental and quasi-experimental, now exists that shows that early childhood interventions are cost-effective. That seems an obvious area where some of the efforts in Russia could be focused, given its level of development.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE news service
Temporary or informally employed people are less satisfied with their lives than those with a permanent job. The most apparent differences can be seen in countries with strict labour laws. Tatiana Karabchuk and Natalia Soboleva investigated the legislative impact on the social well-being of employed populations in European countries and Russia.
Economists and Researchers Gather at International Conference on Wealth and Income in Eastern Europe and CIS Countries
On September 17-18, HSE University hosted a special conference with the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW) on the topic of Experiences and Challenges in Measuring Income and Wealth in Eastern Europe and CIS Countries. This was the first IARIW conference to be held in a CIS country. HSE News Service spoke with American economist Barbara Fraumeni about her work with economic accounting and human capital and her experience attending the conference in Moscow.
This year, a slowdown is expected in the Russian economy. According to some forecasts, the country will enter recession in 2021 or possibly even earlier. However, according to the HSE Centre for Business Tendencies Studies (CBTS), there are no noticeable signs of recession at the moment. This article looks at what keeps Russia's economy from picking up pace and why slowdowns are a possibility, according to the HSE CBTS.
It is believed that carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are mainly regulated by ‘direct’ economic instruments - the carbon tax and the Emissions Trading System (ETS). However, a comparative analysis has shown that ‘indirect’ instruments, such as excise taxes on motor fuel and other energy taxes, did not yield any lesser impact than their ‘direct’ counterparts, and, over time, were even more effective.
On July 31, the II International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students came to a close in Saint Petersburg. In the team competition, the Brazilian team won the gold medal, while teams from China won silver and bronze. One of Russian teams placed fifth.
On July 24, the second annual International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students kicked off at HSE University in St. Petersburg. The competition is organized by HSE University with the support of Sberbank. Students from 24 countries will compete over the course of a week. The winners will be able to enroll in any HSE Economics programme in 2020 with a full tuition scholarship.
On July 24-July 31, the second annual International Economics Olympiad (IEO) for high school students will be held in St. Petersburg. The IEO is organized and hosted by HSE University with the support of Sberbank.
It is believed that carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere are mainly regulated by ‘direct’ economic instruments - the carbon tax and the Emissions Trading System (ETS). However, a comparative analysis has shown that ‘indirect’ instruments, such as excise taxes on motor fuel and other energy taxes, did not yield any lesser impact than their ‘direct’ counterparts, and, over time, were even more effective. This is the conclusion drawn by HSE researcher Ilya Stepanov in his article, ‘Taxes in the Energy Sector and Their Role in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions’.
The HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards studied the dynamics of the middle class and its behaviour with regard to paid services. The study was based on data drawn from the HSE Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) for the years 2000 to 2017, and the results were presented at the 20th April International Academic Conference hosted by HSE.
Reproductive behavior is modernizing at different rates in post-Soviet countries. Things are changing faster in Russia, Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, where, over the last fifteen years, the average maternity age has increased and the contribution of women in their thirties to their countries’ birthrates has grown. Meanwhile, old reproductive patterns persist in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where firstborns are usually born to parents under 30, demographers Vladimir Kozlov and Konstantin Kazenin note in a paper delivered at HSE’s XX April International Academic Conference.