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Regular version of the site

‘The Main Topic of the April Conference is Human Capital’

One of the university’s most important annual gatherings for discussion and debate, HSE’s Academic advisor, Evgeniy Yasin told us about the main themes and participants coming up at the XIV April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Modernization.  

— Professor Yasin, what are the main topics for discussion going to be at the April Conference?

In the last few years, a tradition has emerged at our conference to conduct two plenary sessions to talk exclusively about the key issues. We invite leading foreign experts to join top Russian academics and representatives of the presidential administration. This year is no exception. The topics for the plenary session resonate with the main issues from last year’s conference: at the first session we’ll discuss the situation developing in the Russian economy in the context of the global crisis, and at the second, human capital as one of the essential components of economic development. These topics are directly interconnected - in today’s conditions the Russian economy needs new stimuli and this is where the human factor comes to the fore. Creating an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual trust between government, business and society is increasingly important. Unfortunately, at the moment the level of this trust is low.  

What in your view can raise it?

I think there are a number of mechanisms we can use. First of all, we need to replace the personal relationships which are so characteristic of our society with legal ones. Secondly, we need to develop competition. The third, and no less significant factor, is freedom.

Why does the HSE set problems in the social sphere apart as the most pressing and demanding of urgent attention?

All institutions in the social sphere in Russia require transformation. It’s very important to start talking about it now. The country is on the threshold of making important decisions. One of them is a partial or total rejection of the saving system in pension provision. At the moment, workers have to make contributions, not only for their own future but for current pensioners too. With today’s average workers incomes this doesn’t make sense as an investment. In the past pensions, housing, education and health care were entirely provided by the state but in making the transition from a planned to a market economy, new stimuli must arise to reform the whole system. These are not working enough at the moment: we managed to get goods back into the shops but we still have a long way to go to have a decent level of health care, education and housing. HSE specialists have devised a concept for changing social and financial institutions but the concept needs to be developed. That’s why we are inviting colleagues to join this discussion and we are prepared to consider the issues from all different points of view.  

Which of the papers due to be read at the conference have aroused your interest most?

This year we have a really packed programme, and it’s hard to single something out for particular attention. The whole section on Macroeconomics promises to be interesting. It’ll be conducted by the head of the economics expert group Yevsei Gurvich. Well-known foreign and Russian specialists in the field are invited to give lectures at the conference. I expect there will be a heated discussion at the round table on pension reform. All kinds of different views will be represented and it should be a fruitful debate. 

In the afternoon on the second day there will be a section devoted to problems of education. Yaroslav Kuzminov will represent the HSE’s position and we have invited many people who have quite different approaches.

Which famous international experts are coming to the conference?

This year we have about 150 foreign specialists coming. Sadly we won’t have any Nobel Laureates this year. But among the leading experts is the vice-president and chief economist of the World Bank, Kaushik Basu, and representatives of the OECD and the WTO will be there. All of our guests are top specialists in their field, so the work at the conference promises to be tense and fascinating.

Interview by Viktoria Nosik, second year student at the faculty of media communications, intern at the HSE news service portal


See also:

Russia’s Middle Class: Who Are Its Members and How Do They Spend Their Money?

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 Evolution: How Birth Rates Are Changing in Post-Soviet Countries

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.

Live Long There and Prosper: How Internal Migration from Small Towns Works

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.

What Drives Innovation in Russian Companies

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.

‘In a Digital Environment, the Role of Human Teachers Only Becomes More Important’

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.

‘Statistics Should Be Available and Comprehensible to Everyone’

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.

Can Youth Bullying Ever Be Eradicated?

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.

‘To Achieve Our Goals, We Need to Involve a Wide Range of Universities in National Projects’

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.

How to Boost Russian Food Exports

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.

‘The President is Focused on Increasing the Birth Rate and Reducing Poverty by Half’

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.