Unemployment, Labour Supply Variations and Precarious Work
On April 7-10, the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at HSE will hold the Fifth LCSR International Workshop ‘Social and Cultural changes in cross-national perspective: Subjective Well-being, Trust, Social capital and Values’ which will take place as part of the XVI April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development.
Attending this year’s conference is Arne L. Kalleberg, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an international expert on labour force issues related to work and inequality. He recently spoke with the HSE news service about the challenges facing labour force research, the situation with unemployment in Russia, and his interest in developing collaboration with researchers at HSE.
— What is the main challenge today for researchers who study the labour force, which is your area of expertise?
— I study mainly issues related to work and inequality. I believe the main challenge in this field is to study the growing causes and consequences of diversity in both forms of work and the experiences of labour force members. Types of employment relations are becoming increasingly varied, including open-ended as opposed to closed-ended temporary contracts, different sorts of contracting relations, work that is mediated by the internet, and so on. In addition, labour force participants are more diverse than ever and differ in their needs, motivations and skills, and so it is necessary to understand differences produced by gender, race and ethnicity, immigration status and age.
— The economic crisis in Russia has provided quite a bit of data on the staff reductions and unemployment that have unfortunately taken place since last fall. What lessons have been learned already and what could be next?
— Unemployment in Russia has recently begun to increase after decreasing for several years since the spike in unemployment associated with the financial crisis of 2009. Fluctuations in unemployment reflect both demand for workers that is produced by shifting business conditions and variations in the supply of labour, which in Russia’s case is caused by a decline in the working age population. Studying the ebbs and flows of unemployment thus provides great insights into the dynamic interrelations among the labour force, work and the economy.
— How did your cooperation with HSE begin?
— My first visit to Russia was to attend a conference on economic sociology at HSE in Moscow in October 2012. There I met Tatiana Karabchuk, and we became aware of our mutual interests in the comparative study of the nature and consequences of precarious work (i.e., work that is uncertain, insecure, generally low paying and has little opportunity for advancement). I was then invited to attend a conference of HSE’s Laboratory on Comparative Social Research in St. Petersburg in November 2014. Tatiana and I are now collaborating on a paper that examines the consequences of economic transformation in Russia and Germany on perceptions of insecurity and subjective wellbeing.
— Why are you interested in developing working relations with HSE researchers?
— The continuing economic transformations taking place in Russia and other former Communist countries provide an important context for assessing how institutions and cultural characteristics affect the nature of work and employment relations, as well as the reactions of individuals to job and economic insecurity and subjective wellbeing. In addition, I would like to learn more about and start using the World Values Survey to examine these topics for a wide range of both developed and developing countries.
— Apart the conference itself is there anything special you would like to see in Moscow?
— I have only been to Moscow once. Then, I was very happy to visit Red Square and see St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin, and to experience the wonderful artistry of the Metro stations. I hope to revisit these places again and explore them further. I would also like to see some of Moscow’s museums, parks and well-known streets and squares.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for the HSE English Language 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.