New Chapter in Cooperation Begins Between the HSE and the Halle Institute for Economic Research
On March 26, 2013, in Moscow, the HSE and Germany’s Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The HSE Institute for Industrial and Market Studies is now IWH’s main partner for a series of projects. Dr. Jutta Gunther, IWH Interim Director and Head of Department Structural Change, gave a special interview for the HSE news service.
— When and how did the cooperation between the HSE and IWH get under way?
— The HSE started collaborating with the IWH when Andrei Yakovlev, Director of the Institute for Industrial and Market Studies, visited Halle in the summer of 2011. We realized that we have much in common in terms of our research interests and our passion for the field of institutional and innovation economics. We share the same approach when comparing different countries. For example, we compare East Germany, Central European countries, and Russia using firm level data. We are interested in the long-term effects of the transition process, such as structural weaknesses of the economy and how to overcome them.
After that first meeting in Halle, we worked with Andrei Yakovlev and Ksenia Gonchar to put together a joint proposal for funding on the issue: ‘Foreign direct investment in transition economies’. The proposal was supported by a German Research Foundation (DFG). The first seminar we arranged together in Moscow took place in April 2012. We also published a paper on locational choice of foreign investors in Russia. The paper was presented by Philipp Marek (IWH) at the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies.
— Does the main joint issue for cooperation concern structural changes and innovations?
— It’s the core issue we can share and support each other on. We will focus on transition economics. What are the long term effects of transition processes? How was the transition from a planned economy to a market economy achieved? How different are these processes in Russia and Central Europe? The process of privatization and restructuring in East Germany, how far we have come, the differences between East Germany and West Germany, the difficulties in the convergence process, and what problems still exist – these are topics the HSE and IWH is interested in. We will also gain from the exchange of micro data and discussion of suitable microeconometric approaches, which is very valuable for both sides.
— What do you foresee to be the next milestones for this joint collaboration?
— We will continue with research on the role of foreign investors in transition economies and try to get further joint funding for this. Of course, the cooperation is based on research visits in both directions, also including PhD students and young researcher. The cooperation will also be extended to further topics, such as regional and urban economics as well as science and technology studies. This also involves the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge as well as the HSE in St. Petersburg. For next year, we plan a joint conference on transition economics.
We have discussed possibilities to collaborate with regard to teaching. The HSE is an outstanding university with excellent people and colleagues; post doctoral students from my department may be invited to teach at the HSE.
— Do you have any similar agreements with other universities in Central Europe?— No contracts, but intensive contacts. We maintain contact especially with colleagues in Poland, Estonia, Slovenia, Ukraine, and Hungary; it is only with the HSE that we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding so far. I am impressed that the HSE is such a strong international university. It’s very appealing and interesting, and has very high scientific standards, which I greatly appreciate.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE news portal.