Drawing Lessons for Russia from the Global Financial Crisis
An expert in the economics of transition, corporate finance, organizational economics as well as law and economics, Dr. Ichiro Iwasaki, Professor of Economics at the Institute of Economic Research (Hitotsubashi University, Japan), will present a lecture entitled ‘What we learnt from the Russian experience during the global financial crisis: A corporate governance perspective’ at the upcoming XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. He recently agreed to speak with the HSE news service about his research, his long interest in Russian economics, and his view on how to achieve successful international academic collaboration.
— You have been studying post-Communist transition economies for the last two decades. What trends have you found? What can we expect for Russia’s economy taking into consideration its current economic crisis?
— In the last 20 years, most former socialist countries, including Russia, have established a market economy. These countries are now at the stage of polishing their capitalist-based institutions and business organizations and making them more sophisticated. These tasks are as important as the initial transition policies (e.g., liberalization, privatization) when it comes to improving the productivity and efficiency of the national economy; researchers are now paying great attention to them.
It is unfortunate that the 2008 financial shock and subsequent political economic crises continue to damage the Russian economy. But with every bad thing there is a good side: these external crises may accelerate movement of institutions and organizations towards a better economic system. In my lecture, I will touch on this issue by focusing on corporate governance in Russia and argue how the Russian corporate sector may evolve in the current period of hard times.
— What do you find challenging when researching transition economies?
— Unlike what orthodox neoclassical economics assumes, the market economy never reaches equilibrium: it is a dynamic system that evolves endlessly. The experiences in transition economies provide us with valuable opportunities to investigate human society from this viewpoint and, actually, the study of Eastern European and former Soviet economies has directed economists’ eyes to this aspect. Although it is not easy to describe and analyze the evolution of economic systems and organizations, those of us who are researchers of transition economies should tackle this issue seriously.
— How did your cooperation with HSE build up? Where do things stand now?
— My relationship with HSE was initiated and developed thanks to kind cooperation by the staff at the Institute for Industrial and Market Studies directed by Professor Andrei A. Yakovlev. Professor Tatiana G. Dolgopyatova – a pioneer of Russian corporate governance study – is also a good partner of mine.
In 2005, we carried out a large-scale enterprise survey all over the Russian Federation and, based on a firm-level dataset obtained from the survey, we published a series of empirical papers on the organization and management activities of Russian companies. It was a great experience for me to increase my knowledge and insights into Russia. I have stayed friends with these two distinguished professors and other HSE staff members and am working to produce joint research works in the near future!
— Your publications have been published in leading Russian journals. How did you find the process? What was challenging for you?
Generally, the peer review and publication process at top Russian journals is similar to that of international ones. One of the great challenges for me was to prepare manuscripts taking into account the particular interests of Russian readers. The manner of publishing a paper on Russia in a Russian journal is largely different from that of producing a paper for international audiences. Moreover, it is desirable to discuss the policy implications after giving due consideration to the specific problems and/or circumstances in Russia. It’s tough work.
— What advice would you give young researchers who are interested in international cooperation?
— My past experiences tell me that honesty and altruism are key factors for successful academic collaboration on a global basis. Seeking only for one’s own interests is rather unproductive. Moreover, researchers tend to be moved by passion. An honest and win-win research proposal that is backed up by strong passion is the best way to achieve a constructive international partnership. Needless to say, a clear research objective, careful project strategy and sustainable financial planning are also very important factors for involving foreign counterparts in the long run.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
Representatives of More than 30 Countries Took Part in the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference
The XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development has come to a close at HSE University. In 2022, more than 3,000 participants took part in the event, including 250 registered foreign representatives—almost 10% more than last year.
‘There Is a Big Question as to What Extent a Human Is Still a Human and a Machine Is Still a Machine’
Will new technologies divide or unite people and society? What mechanisms should be used to balance society’s interests and progress so that innovation does not dehumanize humans? How should interaction between humans and AI be structured? Is all technology good for people? TheXXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference of HSE University discusses these questions and more.
As part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference, HSE University held a meeting between HSE scholars and Anton Kotyakov, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Russian Federation. The title of the meeting was ‘The Future of Social Security: Trends and Forecasts.’ The experts and the Minister discussed the experience and lessons learned from population support initiatives during the pandemic, social protection efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, measures to counter sanctions, and the situation in the labour market.
The number of older persons and their life expectancy are on the rise in many countries worldwide. As they age, some people need assistance with daily living activities, something their family is not always capable of providing. This creates a demand for professional long-term care that integrates medical and social services. How Russia can benefit from other countries' experience of providing public long-term care is discussed in a report* presented by the HSE Centre for Social Policy Studies at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development hosted by the HSE University.
In Mexico, a pilot project applying artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms enabled the Tax Administration Service to detect 1200 tax-evading companies and 3500 fraudulent transactions within three months – a task that would have taken 18 months using conventional methods. Despite some obvious benefits, the use of AI-based solutions to counter corruption also entails several challenges, according to experts of the HSE Laboratory for Anti-Corruption Policy (LAP) and the HSE Faculty of Law who have examined the relevant experience of several countries. A report based on the study’s* findings was presented at the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference hosted by the Higher School of Economics.
HSE University academics held a discussion with Maxim Oreshkin, presidential aide and graduate of the HSE University, as part of theXXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference. They talked about the current socioeconomic situation and the future of Russia's development. The discussion was moderated by HSE Academic SupervisorYaroslav Kuzminov.
What risks is the Russian financial system facing today? What is the Central Bank of Russia going to do to mitigate them? Why do we need a high key rate? Has the regulator changed its approach to the building of forex reserves? Will the regulator remain hawkish on cryptocurrencies? Ksenia Yudaeva, First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia, answered these and other questions during a round table entitled ‘Russia’s Financial Sector under New Global Conditions’. The event was held as part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.
‘The Northern Sea Route Is an Efficient Transport Communication Channel to Deliver Goods Sold on Trade Platforms’
The Northern Sea Route has a key role to play in developing Russia's export potential in the Asia-Pacific region. As the current situation requires a reorientation of export flows from Europe to Asia, this route is taking on a new significance in the search for effective transport communication with Indian and Chinese markets. An Arctic Research session was held at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference.
In recent years, advanced technologies for creating deepfake images have made it almost impossible to distinguish them from real photos and videos. Researchers discussed the future development of deepfakes and how to protect yourself from new types of fraud during the round-table discussion ‘Fake News: An Interdisciplinary Approach’ as part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development.
Demand for higher education increases with the development of technologies that replace routine labour, and there is already increased demand for specialists in the IT industry today. At the same time, some university graduates neither study nor work, while about one third of this ‘free’ youth cohort lives in poverty (as do their parents). This topic was discussed at the XXIII Yasin International Academic Conference session on human capital and salaries.