An Excellent Platform for Academic Debate and Public Education
|Dr. Marek Dabrowski|
― How would you characterize Russia’s progress in terms of its socio-economic development during this transition from planned to market economy? What progress has Russia made? What obstacles remain to be overcome?
― Russia made great progress during its transition from centrally planned to market economy in the 1990s and early 2000s, in spite of all the policy zigzags and the societal pain that accompanied the transformation. However, since the mid-2000s, market-oriented reforms halted and even regressed in some areas (for example, the state increased its share of ownership in several important sectors, eg the oil industry and banking. This is well illustrated by the subsequent EBRD Transition Reports. In my opinion, Russia’s biggest obstacles to economic reform and economic development stem from the authoritarian tendencies in the political system.
― Would the Russian economy benefit from closer integration with the European Union?
― Obviously, yes — the EU is Russia’s biggest trade and investment partner and a key source of industrial technology and know-how. Various feasibility studies conducted in the last 10 years confirm that the Russian economy could greatly benefit from a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, the same kind as those concluded/negotiated by the EU with the Republic of Korea, Ukraine, Canada, the US, and India. And the EU was ready to negotiate such an agreement with Russia on several occasions. This would open the door for a true free trade corridor from Lisbon to Vladivostok—something previously touted by the Russian government. Unfortunately, the latter wrongly chose geopolitical confrontation with the EU over its free trade agreements with Ukraine and other CIS countries, instead of following the same route.
― You have been a policy advisor in many countries that were once in the Soviet Union’s sphere of influence. Have you detected any patterns in the way they are developing now? Is the Soviet socialist legacy an important factor for all of them, or is each case different?
― In the early years of the transition (the 1990s), the post-Soviet institutional and mental legacy was an important obstacle to reforms in countries of the former USSR, with some noticeable exceptions (Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia). Now it plays a less important role; there exist other kinds of anti-reform obstacles resulting from political authoritarianism, corruption, a deficit of rule of law, a lack of transparency, etc. Also, when one looks at countries of the former USSR, they are becoming increasingly heterogeneous in political, economic, and social terms.
― How significant are cultural differences in economic development?
― That depends on what we mean by cultural differences. If we speak about religious, historical, and societal backgrounds, they play a certain role in economic development, but I would not overestimate their importance. Too often they serve as a good excuse for politicians to avoid painful but necessary reforms that can make their countries economically successful.
Actually, among the countries that have succeeded economically in the last 30-50 years, there are ones representing different continents, ethnic compositions, histories, religions, and legal systems; they vary in size, etc. In my opinion, the quality of economic policy and economic, political, and legal institutions are the most important determinants, and—as empirical examples demonstrate—various nations can succeed (or fail) in this respect.
― How important are conferences like this one and the academic research projects going on at the HSE and other Russian universities in terms of sustaining the economic and social development of Russia and other FSU countries?
― The Annual HSE April Conference is probably the largest academic gathering of this type in Eastern Europe and provides an excellent platform for academic debate, professional contacts, and public education. The HSE belongs to the rather limited and elite group of academic centres in Russia and Eastern Europe that are able to teach modern economics and conduct research on an acceptable international level. This is a huge intellectual asset that should be protected and further developed.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE news service
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.
More than half of school graduates in medium-sized Russian cities will change their place of residence either forever or at least for a long time. According a report on internal migration presented by HSE demographers at the XX April International Academic Conference, these people are lost to their cities.
As part of the Management session of the XX April International Conference, Carl F. Fey from Aalto University School of Business, Finland, presented his paper on Facilitating Innovation in Companies in Russia: The Role of Organizational Culture. In his talk, Professor Fey spoke about the results of three studies he has been conducting with his team.
How does digital technology affect the behavior and health of schoolchildren? What opportunities does it proved teachers and school administrators? These and other issues were discussed by participants in the plenary session ‘Children’s Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ at the XX April International Scientific Conference of HSE.
Implementing a digital analytical platform, opportunities for Big Data, and other prospects for the development of Russian statistics were discussed by participants at a plenary session of the XX April International Academic Conference.
Dr. Dorothy Espelage (University of Florida) presented a comprehensive account of her research into youth bullying spanning more than two decades in an invited paper ‘Prevention & Intervention of Youth Bullying and other Forms of Youth Aggression: Research Informed Strategies’ at the XX April International Academic Conference.
The role of regional and industrial institutions of higher education in achieving national development goals must increase, and leading universities will help them. This was the conclusion reached by participants of the plenary session on Russian higher education that took place as part of the XX April International Academic Conference.
The plenary session ‘Strategy of Russian Presence at Global Food Markets’ took place as part of HSE University’s XX April International Academic Conference, where participants discussed the prospects for Russian agricultural exports to Asia, as well as the use of nonconventional investment models, such as Islamic financial tools.
National objectives for social development, as well as existing risks and opportunities in implementing these objectives were discussed by participants of HSE International April Conference.