Encouraging entrepreneurship, providing social support services and helping people find jobs are all part of a new ‘social contract’ programme introduced across Russia to assist poor families in becoming financially self-sufficient. Using formal contracts to encourage low-income people to engage in economic activity is proving to be more effective than welfare handouts, according to researchers of the HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards.
The processes of globalization should have contributed to reduced inequality in the world. In reality, however, the situation looks differently, with income inequality in the populations of developing economies growing. To correct this, the level of education of low-skilled workers must be increased, said Eric Maskin, Chief Research Fellow at the HSE International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis and Nobel Laureate in Economics for 2007.
Over the past two decades, the average life expectancy in Russia has increased by 2.3 years for women and 1.4 years for men, according to a recently published paper based on the WHO's Global Burden of Disease (GBD) assessment – a major epidemiological study by a group of international experts, including Vasily Vlassov, Professor of the HSE Department of Health Care Administration and Economy.
Parents of school students in Moscow tend to believe that test assignments in two major final exams—the Basic State Exam (BSE) and the Unified State Exam (USE)—are too complex and teachers fail to properly prepare students for the finals; this negative attitude, which appears to be a widely-held stereotype not necessarily supported by evidence, is formed long before the exams come round. However, according to a study by Alina Pishnyak and Natalia Khalina, once the exams are over, families no longer consider them so hard to pass.
The opportunity to find an interesting and well-paid job, a comfortable socio-cultural environment, and friendly and professional contacts in the new location are all essential factors for graduates of universities from Russian regions who are planning to move to another city. Saida Ziganurova , Research Assistant at the HSE Center for Institutional Studies, studied the migration potential among young professionals.
Many young employees of museums, art centres and galleries, libraries and publishing houses move up the career ladder fairly fast, yet workplace success comes at a cost, forcing them to work beyond normal hours and outside formal job descriptions. Nevertheless, employees of cultural institutions are prepared to make the extra effort to help their organisations survive, according to Margarita Kuleva, lecturer at the Department of Sociology, HSE campus in St. Petersburg.
By choosing education for their children, parents tend to perpetuate social inequalities. While educated middle-class parents invest in their children's future by selecting the best possible school and becoming actively involved in the educational process, working-class families often feel they cannot afford to choose and instead, send children to the nearest school, expecting them to make it on their own, according to Larisa Shpakovskaya, Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, HSE Campus in St. Petersburg.
Overall, Russians tend to be satisfied with their country's health care system, particularly when they do not need to deal with it; however, those with recent first-hand experience of healthcare often complain about the lack of professionalism and the decline in free medical services, according to Sergey Shishkin, Head of HSE's Department of Health Care Administration and Economy, and Natalia Kochkinaand Marina Krasilnikova, sociologists with the Levada Centre, in their paper Health Care Service Availability and Quality as Assessed by the Russian Public.
Decisions relating to student dropout often resemble a trial with students as defendants and teachers as prosecutors and judges. This approach can create barriers between students and staff and raise the issue of the university's mission, according to Ivan Gruzdev, Evgeny Terentiev and Elena Gorbunova of the HSE’s Internal Monitoring Center.
Higher education cuts the risk of poverty by more than half, according to Alina Pishnyak and Daria Popova , leading researchers at the HSE Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards. Their findings reveal that the household incomes of families where all adults are university-educated stand at 20% above the average, and conversely, in families where none of the adults hold a degree, living standards tend to be below average by a quarter.