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Institutional analysis of behavior determinants of economic agents on different markets

Priority areas of development: economics
Department: International Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms (LIA)
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The goal of this research is to estimate the influence of institutional environment, social and psychological factors on strategic behavior of economic agents in various markets. As examples of such markets we analyze markets of education, banking and public procurements.


The goal of the project is realized in the sphere of new institutional economics and game theory using the methods of econometric analysis. Additionally, we use methods of dynamic social network analysis. Our theoretical explanations are based on institutional theory, theory of transaction expenses and agent theory.

Empirical base of research:

We use following databases for the analysis:


  1. Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey Database;
  2. Longitudinal surveys of HSE students;
  3. “Banks and Finance” database (Mobile);
  4. Financial reports of Russian banks (MSFO, RSPBU);
  5. «Russian regions» annual reports (Rosstat);
  6. Regional appendix of the banking statistical bulletin (Central Bank of Russian Federation);
  7. Data from the official public procurement website (http://zakupki.gov.ru/)


Results of research:

In our study of educational market we analyzed the influence of student social connections on their achievements.  We showed the transmission of dynamic peer effects through student social networks of friendship and advice. Over time, friends tend to receive similar grades whereas student tend to select advisors with similar level of achievements. An increase in the entrance exams of predicted friends leads to an increase in academic performance of an individual. Also, we paid attention to the mechanisms of online friendship network formations. We demonstrated that two main mechanisms are important for online student network formation: connected component attachment and brokerage mechanisms. Apart from the microanalysis of individuals in educational market, we also analyzed decisions of Russian households about their education and behavior. We showed the influence of individual psychophysiological characteristics on educational and professional decisions. We studied which factors predict the decisions of Russian households to invest in additional education of their children. We revealed that most households do not support the freedoms of price setting and is skeptical about free trade, immigration and economic consequences of immigration. Also, we analyzed in details the income structure of Russian rural households and showed that from 2004 till 2012 the income from agricultural sources gets diminished.

In the analysis of banking sphere, we studied how the affiliation of Russian banks with regional authorities influence on the level of trust by their depositors. We revealed that the name of the bank might be a signal for its depositors that the bank is supported by local authorities. Also, based on the data of 2001-2010, we can see that market discipline of these banks is less intensive in comparison with other banks. The weakening in price and quantity discipline of these banks was especially noticeable during the crisis of 2008-2009. In our project on voluntary information disclosure by Russian banks we tested a hypothesis that banks tend to suppress partly the information on their financial and operating activities in order to elude the competitiveness and the loss of market power. Analyzing data from 2004 till 2013 we confirm our hypothesis for markets of private deposits in crisis periods. We demonstrated that voluntary information disclosure has a positive influence on the market discipline of banks.

In our analysis of public procurements market, we presented a model that shows the connections among corruption, competition and price formation during the process of public procurements. We showed that exogenous change of participation costs, for example, a reform of public procurement process, might lead to essential changes in prices formed by both benevolent and by corrupted customer. Additionally, we studied the process of transition from verbal auctions to electronic ones and revealed that this transition leads to price reduction in open auctions. We developed the system of indices that allow us to evaluate the probability of a corruption in public procurement. These indices included processes in different time periods of procurements: during the price fixing, during the competition restrictions and after the procurement results.

Level of implementation,  recommendations on implementation or outcomes of the implementation of the results

The results of this research allow us to make recommendations in the spheres of higher education, banking system and public procurements.

Our results in educational sphere might be helpful for universities in their organizational and decision making processes. We show that additional stimulation of the most talented students and a specific focus on study group organization have positive effects both for universities and for student body. Thus, students demonstrate higher academic performance and successfully enter the job market whereas universities and government do not have financial loss due to student dropouts. Our results related to banking allow determining two groups of banks that should attract particular attention of the regulator. We show that in order to retain market power the banks prefer to be less transparent, therefore in order to stimulate competition the regulator should focus on the banks which are voluntarily more opaque.  We also show that regionally-tied banks enjoy the absence of the quantitative depositor discipline in the periods of financial crises. For these banks the regulator should replace the market in monitoring bank risk-taking when the economy struggles with the instability. Our results related to public procurement allow determining potentially corrupted procurements basing on indicators and allow determining different manipulation practices before tendering process. 


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