Economic Crises Affect People’s Attitudes to Inequality
Inequality based on income, geography, gender, age, class and religion widens social gaps both within and between countries. During the XXIII Yasin (April) International Conference, experts discussed which dimensions of inequality have become especially important in the wake of the pandemic and the evolving economic crisis, and also examined how much more women work than men.
The round table ‘Social and Economic Inequality: Current Research Agenda’ was held as part of the XXIII Yasin (April) International Academic Conference. The event was organised by the Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Centre.
Vasiliy Anikin, Assistant Professor of the Faculty of Economic Sciences and Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of Social Policy, HSE University, spoke about studies dedicated to job quality, particularly in terms of the criteria and tools for evaluating jobs and the key attributes of good and bad jobs.
Good jobs are those with high salaries, particularly in sectors demonstrating economic growth. They offer high levels of mobility, good prospects, extra generous remuneration and allow employees to manage their careers. Stability is a key marker of a good job.
Bad jobs are low-paid, have little to no bonuses or promotion opportunities, and come with a high risk of redundancy. More often than not, such jobs are dangerous, laborious, and provide only unstable employment and occasional earnings.
Tatyana Maleva, Director of the Institute for Social Analysis and Forecasting, RANEPA, spoke about income inequality. Russia demonstrates high levels of income inequality compared with other countries. Moreover, Russia is characterised by large variations in this metric across different regions. However, absolute figures are not as significant as people's assessment and perception of inequality. People usually do not accurately assess the level of inequality in their country, Tatyana Maleva said.
For example, sociological studies show that US residents significantly exaggerate the growth of inequality since 1960. Only 14% of Spanish citizens correctly assess their place on the income distribution scale. People are also more likely to overestimate the share of wealth held by the top 1%. In particular, people in the UK believe that the top 1% own 59% of the country's wealth, when in fact this percentage is as low as 23%.
It is the perception of inequality, rather than its actual depth, that correlates more strongly with citizens' requests for governments to reduce inequality in many countries. People with low incomes, as well as those in older age cohorts, are more likely to expect the government to take action in this area. Moreover, people's attitudes towards income inequality differ depending on the current stage of economic crisis and growth.
‘When the main task is to overcome the crisis and the associated deprivations, inequality ceases to be as much of an irritant as during time of economic growth, as the mission to survive becomes more important, overshadowing issues of social justice. It is quite clear that the Russian Federation is going to face a new crisis. Therefore, I think we should go back to studying this issue to understand how different social groups will deal with this crisis and what their attitudes will be to the fact that other groups will be dealing with this crisis differently.’
Maria Nagernyak, Director of the Head Office of the Human Capital Multidisciplinary Research Center, HSE University, spoke about gender inequality in the sphere of domestic labour. According to her, researchers often rely on time budget data when analysing this issue.
Researchers notice large gaps in the amount of time spent by men and women on all kinds of housework. The size of the gap varies greatly from country to country. For example, in some OECD countries, women spend five to six times more time than men on household chores, while in Russia they spend twice as much.
On average, women in Russia spend 16.5 hours more than men on daily chores per week. At the same time, men spend more time on paid work. If adjusted, these figures show that women usually work 8.5 hours longer.
The lion's share of housework is shouldered by women. The most common and time-consuming task is cooking. While women usually combine quite a few types of housework, men tend to take on only one chore.
‘Longer-term studies show a decrease in this gender gap, especially in terms of looking after children. Men are getting more and more involved in this activity, and this is a worldwide trend.’
Professor Louis Chauvel (University of Luxembourg) noted that this agenda is important and necessary for the development of social and economic policies both nationally and internationally. In recent years, there has been a notable decrease in a number of parameters, but regrettably, there is also cause for pessimism.
‘Gender inequality has been decreasing, but now it is starting to grow again. This is true of Russia and Europe, in particular, France and China, which 30 years ago was quite balanced in this sense. Over the past 20 years, the situation in many countries has changed dramatically, and our analysis will be very helpful in understanding the global dynamics of inequality in the world,' Prof. Chauvel explained.
Academic Council: HSE University’s Contribution to Achieving National Goals and Development Priorities to Increase
HSE University’s Development Programme until 2030 will be improved in order to increase the university’s contribution to achieving national goals and implementing the priorities of the country’s scientific and technological development. This decision was made by the university’s Academic Council on April 26. The meeting also addressed the principles for the development of HSE University’s external communications, one of which is the creation of a high-quality information field around the university.
Classical economic theory assumes that economic agents are entirely self-interested and rational in their pursuit of material well-being, and that they are not affected by external factors. As a result, externalities are not considered in any way when constructing economic models. Nevertheless, some sociologists argue for a revision of modern economic theory to incorporate the ethical dimensions of economic agents' behaviour. Kirill Borissov, Professor of the Faculty of Economics at the European University in St Petersburg, spoke at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference and shared his observations from creating his own economic model incorporating the factor of envy.
Structural Transformation and Drivers of Sustainable Growth in Russian Economy Discussed at HSE University
The Russian economy has demonstrated high resilience to unprecedented external pressure and has managed to largely adapt to new conditions. As early as this year, it can go from recession to growth. The issue of where to find drivers and resources for this was discussed at a plenary session titled ‘Russian Economy under Sanctions: From Adaptation to Sustainable Growth’ at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference held at HSE University as part of the Decade of Science and Technology. Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Maksim Reshetnikov took part in the discussion.
Experts say that interest in news has sharply increased among the Russian audience. At the same time, part of the audience deliberately avoids it. What kind of content is in demand and will people continue to watch TV? These and other issues were discussed at the plenary session ‘ Info-hygiene and Information Elitism: How to Consume Media Properly’ at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.
Africa has the potential to become a new economic giant. Today, African countries are interested in comprehensive cooperation and strengthening their positions in the global arena, and they look forward to receiving assistance from Russia and China in developing their technology, economy, and social sphere. Effective engagement with Africa requires training a greater number of professional African studies specialists. The XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference at HSE University featured a plenary session on 'Africa in a Changing World'.
Dementia, a debilitating form of cognitive impairment, can be preventable. According to Professor Jubin Abutalebi of the University Vita Salute San Raffaele, Italy, and the Arctic University of Tromsoe, Norway, the easiest way to prevent cognitive decline after the age of 60 is to learn and practice foreign languages – the more languages, the better, suggests Professor Abutalebi in his presentation 'Preventing dementia through bilingualism' at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.
Today, BRICS has become an influential factor in modern international relations and is perceived as one of the pillars of a more just world order. This association is not based on one party’s dominance, but instead, is built on a sound balance of interests. The role of the association was discussed by the participants of the plenary session ‘BRICS Development Strategy: Equal Opportunities in an Unequal World’at the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.
Like any crisis, the sanctions of 2022, besides problems, have created new opportunities for Russian companies. This is the conclusion that HSE University’s experts have come to. Their study results are presented in the report ‘Adaptation of Russian Industrial Companies to Sanctions: First Steps and Expectations’, prepared by HSE University for the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference.
Experts have calculated that the number of international students in Russia has grown six times over the last decade, and researchers say that many of those who are studying today would like to stay in the country. This, alongside issues such as why Google Trends are worth looking into, were covered at the HSE XXIV Yasin International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development section on demography and labour markets.
HSE University is hosting the XXIV Yasin (April) International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development in Moscow from April 4–14. The conference has attracted over 3,000 leading researchers, experts, business representatives and government officials from over 30 countries. The leaders of HSE University—Rector Nikita Anisimov, Academic Supervisor Yaroslav Kuzminov, and President Alexander Shokhin—addressed the conference participants.