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Monitoring knowledge-intensive business services in Russia: functions and roles in the innovation process

The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Goal of research:

The key goal of research is to improve the information base for analyzing knowledge-intensive business services (KIBS), i.e. to develop the methodological approaches for studying KIBS organizations in detail and analyzing their roles in the innovation process.

The object of research is the KIBS sector in Russia. This sector tends to be a driver of technological progress in most developed countries. Although the size and dynamics of this sector in Russia is much lower than in these countries, the sector seems to have a great potential for innovation-based development of the country.

In particular, this research project focuses on three most rapidly developing KIBS sectors: information technology, engineering, and financial intermediation. These sectors are also characterized by the increased attention from the state, which is due to their key roles in innovation- and technology-based development of Russia.


The research project takes into account the latest methodological approaches to analyze features of KIBS companies from three key sectors: information technology, engineering, and financial intermediation. Statistical and econometric methods are applied to the dataset which combines the updated official statistical data and KIBS surveys conducted by ISSEK in previous years. In particular, we specify the translog profit function to assess the impact of macroeconomic factors on banking profitability in Russia. We also use Levine’s tests, Games-Howell tests and Gabriel’s tests.

Empirical base of research:

The data for this research project are collected from open sources. The most important information sources are:  the Bank of Russia, Federal State Statistics Service (FSSS), Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation and “Mobile” agency which provides "Banking and Finance" database to the HSE.

The official statistics are combined with the original data on monitoring KIBS in Russia, which ISSEK has conducted since 2007 together with the research holding Romir and Demoscop (particular for 2012-2013) as a part of the HSE Basic Research Program. The quantitative estimations are based on the data taken from the representative surveys of KIBS producers, consumers and public sector consumers. To verify the quantitative estimates, the in-depth interviews with leading sector experts conducted in 2015 are analyzed.  

Results of research:

In this research project, we look at the existing methodological approaches to analyze three fastest-growing KIBS industries (information technology, engineering, and financial intermediation) including their roles in the innovation process. Based on this analysis, we propose a set of recommendations aimed at improving the system of indicators characterizing the activities of KIBS companies.

The statistical approaches applied to the collected datasets of three KIBS sectors (information technology, engineering, financial intermediation) allow us to analyze innovation activities of these organizations. In addition, the panel data analysis shows that to include macroeconomic factors in the profit function of banks tends to improve the model quality for forecasting profits of Russian banks.

A study of the innovation modes of KIBS companies is based on the analysis of different types of innovations and helps us identify innovation trends in three key sectors (information technology, engineering, financial intermediation). We find that in the last 5-7 years, KIBS producers increased their assessments of the coproduction level and effectiveness of these activities. We also consider the issues of standardization and customization of KIBS. Actually, KIBS producers have a high level of standard services, which seems to hamper the development of the sector. However, about a half of them develop customized services in partnership with the clients in order to implement such services in the future operating activities. In particular, engineering and IT companies focus mostly on new technologies while financial intermediaries pay attention to organizational improvements.    

In addition, we analyze how the crisis of 2014-2015 affects the KIBS industries in Russia. We argue that some imbalances between these segments exist. Regarding to the extent of crisis impact, KIBS organizations use different mechanisms of strategic planning, risk management and have different expectations about overcoming the negative trends.  

Thus, the highest share of companies that in 2015 had a formalized strategy as a response to the crisis was represented by financial intermediaries, while most IT companies were only developing such strategies. On the contrary, most of the engineering companies did not have any strategic planning and acted depending on the market situation. The financial intermediaries were characterized by optimistic expectations and predicted a rather slow, but steady development. The engineering and IT companies had a lower level of confidence and expected some fluctuations, but mainly of positive nature. At the same time, many companies in IT and engineering were afraid of negative fluctuations or even a long-term depression.  

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

The implementation of the recommendations for improving the system of statistical indicators, which describe the features of KIBS organizations, allows researchers and policy makers to ensure that data are collected in more detail for the KIBS sector as a whole and for the growing KIBS industries in particular. The empirical results tend to contribute to understand how the KIBS sector is developed by underlining the key perspectives and obstacles of this development. Thus, all these together may help policy makers to design and implement a more effective and evidence-based policy in the sector.


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