Research Object: In this research project, we explore these issues by focusing on the case of Russia. Our analysis of Russia’s sub-national units allows us to hold many political and economic factors constant while still observing significant variation in many important variables.
Research Purpose: To apply various research methods for the purpose of exploring the links between institutions and development. This research project consists of two subprojects, each addressing a specific set of questions concerning the relationship between institutions and development.
Elite, Policy and Development: Elite selection and motivation are often assessed as a critical institutional feature to the outcome of economic development. This is particularly true in countries where the state plays a significant role in the economy. That is why we are exploring how the characteristics of the regional elite, the mechanisms of selection and promotion etc, affect the results of policy implementation - economic growth, public goods production, etc.
- A biographical database containing information on the personal characteristics and career trajectories of Russian governors (1991-present), members of regional governments (2000-present), heads of cities with populations in excess of 75 thousand (2000-present), and the heads of the regional police (2000-present);
- A database of socio-economic indicators of the Russian regions (for various periods);
- Characteristics of regional political life (election results, popular surveys data, etc);
- Additional measures (expert evaluations of the presence of big business in regions, of the conflict between levels of government, etc).
One of the factors that is considered crucial for the formation of the protest movements of recent times is the proliferation of the new media and new techniques for spreading information about fraud in elections. We show that usage of Twitter and Facebook, which were politicized by opposition elites (in contrast to other social media), significantly increased respondents' perceptions of electoral fraud, and that the effect is more impressive in the regions with more media freedom.
Experimental Study of Institutions: The second subproject focuses on two topics: the relationship between the citizens and the police (in the context of Russian police reform) and support for the export activities of small and medium-size enterprises. We used survey and lab experiments to investigate the first topic, and elaborated the field experiment methodology (which will be implemented in 2013) for the second one. Experimental questions were included in the representative survey of the Moscow population commissioned by the Center in November and December 2011, as well as the nationwide survey commissioned by the Center in December 2012. Lab experiment with HSE students were conducted in June 2012.
Studying police reforms is interesting for several reasons. First, people who have a legitimate right to violence may use force to stimulate or to suppress various forms of economic behavior. However, the motivation of these persons is usually taken as an assumption. Second, cooperation with the police is a special case of cooperation with the state. The question of why citizens cooperate with the state is one of the central issues of social research.
The results of the survey experiments showed that the citizens’ willingness to cooperate with police in reporting the crime depends primarily on the severity of the crime and the participation of police officers in it. Thus, currently proposed incentive measures - the introduction of monetary compensation and reducing the time needed for submitting applications - do not work properly. Laboratory experiments on related subjects demonstrated that the motivations of police officers and citizens in the proposed system of ‘citizen’ assessment are conflicting.
Thus, work in the two designated areas allowed us to explore various aspects of the relationship between the institutions and the results of political and economic actors, and, in particular, to show that the value of electoral competition, even under an authoritarian regime with leaders possessing positive qualities, and the changes proposed to the system of incentives for citizens, cannot encourage them to cooperate with law enforcement.
The theoretical importance of the work is to develop the existing theories regarding the incentive effect for the bureaucratic and political elite, as well as its impact on the various indicators of development. In addition, with the help of experimental techniques, the motivation of the actors, which is difficult to detect, has been tested. Finally, the development of a methodology for the field experiment to stimulate exports will make it possible to conduct the first study of its kind in Russia. This has direct practical significance, as the experiment will assess the effectiveness of specific policy measures in force at the regional level.