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Institutions and Economic Development: the Role of Bureaucracy and Experiments as a Method to Analyze and Evaluate Reforms

2011
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The first sub-component of this study is focused on the Russian regions. Two components of the region as a political-economic phenomenon are considered. First, the regional political / administrative elites, as represented by the head of the region and his team (deputy governors, vice-governors, ministers, and persons holding similar positions in the regional government), as well as the mayors of regional capitals. Second, the regional economic development, as well as region’s ‘endowments’ (natural resources, transport infrastructure, human capital, etc.).

The subject of our study are the factors of economic growth and the relationship between them and the characteristics of the regional political and administrative elite. We aim to discover the relationship between the characteristics of the regional political elite and economic indicators in the region, including the mechanism of its realization through the regional economic policy.

Two sets of databases constitute the empirical base of the research, both were created as the part of the research project. The first includes the socio-economic and political characteristics of the region (regional statistics, objective economic and geographic characteristics of the region, indicators of regional policy in the field of investment, etc.). The second is the biographical database of career trajectories of Russian governors (1991-2011) and members of the regional governments (2000-2011).
Several specific topics were covered in the course of the research. One study analyzed the set of Russian governors. According to the results of the analysis, the mechanism of selection (appointment or election as governor) explains only a small part of the personal characteristics’ variation. In particular, it relates to the experience of the CPSU and the occupation of elected office before taking the governor position, and some indicators of education. The observed similarities between the two categories of members of the top regional elite lead us to a conclusion that candidates with higher level of education and career backgrounds in the federal government had some advantage in the appointment period.
In addition, primary research of the set of individuals who have held positions of heads of regional police (MVD subdivisions) in the 2000s. The results demonstrate the absence of a consistent policy of staff rotation during that period, and also slower rotation in recent years (a slight increase of the average age of appointees).

The analysis of factors of the federal transfers’ allocation to the regions revealed a correlation between voting for a specific party and the allocation of federal transfers, and after 2003 this relationship varies with according to the stage of the electoral cycle (an effect of 2003 election results is seen in 2007 and of 2007 elections - in 2008). The analysis suggests that federal transfers are a way to attract additional votes of regional voters (and not a reward for loyalty during the last election).
A system of indicators was created on which an explanatory model for regional investment growth can be built. We distinguish between two groups of such indicators: structural and institutional factors of investment. The latter include tax and investment policies of the regional elites. We have also analyzed how MVD statistics can be used to assess regional investment climate trough the number of crimes against businessmen.
A model of the formation of political business cycles at the regional level has been formulated. Hypotheses for further examination: the spending of the regional budget will rise before the elections and 1-2 years before the current governor's term ends.
We have also developed a methodology to study the relationship between property rights protection and lower costs for collective action, a research design aimed at assessing the motives of the regional elite in planning budget spending and a model of regional mobility factors (including regional tax and housing policy, political affiliation of the governor etc.).

Empirical results of this research may be used to produce policy advice on effective measures of economic regulation. Theoretical results, on the other side, will enrich the existing literature on elite recruitment and the connection between types of elites, policy measures they choose, and their results.

The second subcomponent is focused on Russian police, recently going through reforms. We are interested in the interaction between the police and the society and use experimental research to study how precinct level police officers respond to the introduction of public assessment of their work.

During the first stage on the project we focused mainly on gathering information about the object of study. This will allow to minimize the risks of experiment implementation problems by giving us a deep understanding of the police performance, relations with the society and future experiment's design.

To this end, a survey of Moscow population was conducted, which included questions on interaction with the police. Particular attention was given to measuring willingness to cooperate with the police to maintain public order. Preliminary analysis showed that although the popular opinion of the police is not very positive, people tend to ask the police for help when something happens. Regarding the willingness to cooperate with the police, the situation is somewhat worse: there is a distinct reluctance to go to a police station voluntarily and report a crime witnessed by the respondent.

In addition, a survey of companies' managers was conducted in the regions. A preliminary analysis of the data shows that businessmen also tend to address the police in cases of economic disputes and other rights violations.
Finally, the experimental design was developed, aimed at measuring the effect of the declared introduction of the public assessment. It is now being reviewed based on survey results. The experiment itself is planned for 2012. It will propose effective criteria and mechanisms for public evaluation of police activities, taking into account the existing realities and constraints.


Foreign members of the project team (ICSID staff and affiliated researchers)
1. Frye, Timothy M. Academic Supervisor, Lead Research Fellow (Director of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University), http://www.columbia.edu/cu/polisci/ fac-bios/frye/faculty.html
2. Buckley-Farlee, Noah M. Research Fellow (Ph.D. Degree Student, Columbia University), http://www.columbia.edu/cu/polisci/ student-bios/Buckley/student.html
3. Gehlbach, Scott G. Senior Research Fellow (Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison), http://users.polisci.wisc.edu/gehlbach/ contact.html
4. Marques II, Israel Research Fellow (Ph.D. Degree Student, Columbia University), http://www.columbia.edu/cu/polisci/ student-bios/marques/student.html
5. McCarthy, Lauren (Assistant Professor of Political Science and Legal. University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), http://polsci.umass.edu/profiles/mccarthy_lauren
6. Reuter, Ora J. Senior Research Fellow (Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University), http://www.units.muohio.edu/ havighurstcenter/aboutus/ postdoctoral.html
7. Szakonyi, David S. Research Fellow (Ph.D. Degree Student, Columbia University), http://www.columbia.edu/cu/polisci/ student-bios/Szakonyi/student.html

 

Publications:


Marques II I., Nazrullaeva E., Yakovlev A. A. From Competition to Dominance: Political Determinations of Federal Transfers in Russian Federation / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series EC "Economics". 2011. No. 12.
Gehlbach S. G., Earle J. S., Brown J. D. Privatization, in: The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy / Ed. by S. Weber, M. V. Alexeev. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.
Frye T. M., Noah Buckley, Reuter O. J. The Political Economy of Russian Gubernatorial Election and Appointment / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series PS "Political Science". 2012. No. 09.
Frye T. M., Reuter O. J., Noah Buckley. The Political Economy of Russian Gubernatorial Election and Appointment / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series PS "Political Science". 2012. No. 01.