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Regular version of the site

Institutional economics

"Institutional Economics at Higher School of Economics", 2010

«Institutional economics in Russia has become an important part of national research and teaching traditions. This can be explained, firstly, by an objective lack of institutions in the emerging market economy of our country. It is not a shortage of laws or formal regulations. The reason is different: the existing formal rules are not sufficiently supported by the expectations and real actions of people and organizations. This causes high uncertainty which accompanies an individual's choice. Paradoxically, the weakness of institutions forces us not to abandon their studies, but to pay more attention to them.

The second reason is our strong feeling that we – as experts – can take part in the development of new institutions. This distinguishes us from the economists of «old», mature market countries who normally work in a stable institutional environment.

The third reason is probably mentioned most often. It is the «genetic code» of Russia's economic and social science, which has always been focused on the qualitative dynamics of economic order as the principal object of its analysis.

We at the Higher School of Economics consider «institutional» dimension to be of great importance for our research team development – together with «empirical» one, associated with the creation of empirical data system needed by researchers in social sciences, and «cultural» (in fact, very closely related to the study of institutions).

The HSE researchers are intensively involved in actual design and implementation of economic and social reforms in many fields and, accordingly, – in the analysis of effectiveness and efficiency of existing norms and institutions. That is why at the Higher School of Economics one can see such a variety of research teams that consider institutions an important object for their research efforts worth their continuous interest».

Yaroslav Kouzminov, HSE Rector

Research Institutes and Centers

Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms (LIA)

Research Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms (LIA) was set up in the HSE in January 2005 under the direction of Prof. Yaroslav Kouzminov and Dr. Maria Yudkevich. LIA is the first research and educational center at HSE that brings together young researchers – faculty and PhD students – whose professional interests lie in the field of institutional analysis and its applications.

Economics of Education (team leaders: Prof. Yaroslav Kouzminov, Dr. Maria Yudkevich, Dr. Gregory Andrushchak):

  • New teachers remuneration system (merit pay) at Russian schools and its impact on school strategies and performance;
  • The adaptation of educational strategies of university entrants to institutional changes in the higher education market (the reaction to the introduction of the Unified State Examination);
  • Academic salaries and remuneration in universities;
  • Dynamics of regional higher education markets;
  • Economic returns in higher education.

Economics of Bureaucracy (team leader: Dr. Elena Podkolzina):

  • The analysis of incentives and contracts of civil servants;
  • The analysis of public procurement procedures.

Economics of non-profit sector and social capital (team leader: Prof. Leonid Polishchuk):

  • Nonprofit organizations' efficiency study (with special reference to condominiums);
  • The analysis of empirical connections between social capital and education.
  • Institutional analysis of banking (team leader: Maria Semenova):
  • Financial behaviour features on the deposit market;
  • The analysis of market discipline as an institution on the deposit market.


Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology (LSES) 

The Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology was established in 2006. It is headed by Prof. Vadim Radaev. LSES conducts sociological research of consumer markets using methodology of new institutionalism in Sociology. The main subject of research is the complex connections between formal and informal rules, inclouding studies of the shadow economy. The main research projects include:

  • Theoretical foundations of sociology of markets (Prof. Vadim Radaev); 
  • Institutional changes and major trends in retail trade (Prof. Vadim Radaev, Zoya Kotelnikova);
  • The strategies of household financial and consumer behaviour (Dr. Dilyara Ibragimova, Dr. Olga Kuzina, Dr. Yana Roshchina);
  • Economic behaviour of the law protection agencies (Prof. Leonid Kosals, Prof. Svetlana Barsukova); 
  • Freelancers: new forms of employment (Dr. Denis Strebkov, Dr. Andrei Shevchuk);
  • Rules of price formation at medical markets (Elena Berdysheva).


Institute for Industrial and Market Studies (IIMS)

Institute for Industrial and Market Studies (IIMS) has been engaged in empirical research of transition economies since 1997 and is positioned among the leading Russian research institutions in this filed. IIMS is particularly known for its enterprise surveys and the tricky interplay between developments in academic economics and its connection to political problems. The institute is headed by its director and HSE vice-rector Dr. Andrei Yakovlev, who is doing research in business-government relations and industrial policy.

Among its key researchers are Prof. Svetlana Avdasheva (industrial organization and competition policy), Prof. Tatyana Dolgopyatova (corporate governance), Dr. Boris Kuznetsov (competiveness and industrial policy), Dr. Ksenia Gonchar (innovations and economic geography), Dr. Victoria Golikova (management and entrepreneurship), Dr. Aleksei Zudin (business-government relations).

The Institute monitors company behaviour through largescale enterprise surveys, and generates comprehensive firm level electronic data sets, complementing the national official statistics. In addition, the IIMS contributes empirically grounded policy advice through the studies commissioned by federal and regional authorities, regular publications and various public events on economic policy issues. The Institute contributed to the implementation of several reforms, including the elaboration of e-Russia program, development of corporate governance regulations and new instruments of industrial and innovation policy as well as reform of the state procurement system. IIMS is also consulting the business community on various issues of company behaviour and public policy.

IIMS received research grants of TACIS-ACE, USAID, IREX, TTPP, and other international research programs. In 2005-2009 IIMS conducted joint research and consulting projects with the World Bank, Columbia University (USA), Hitostubashi University (Japan), Helsinki School of Economics (Finland) and other international partners.


Center for Research of Civil Society and Nonprofit Sector 

Center for Research of Civil Society and Nonprofit Sector was set up in 2009 on the basis of Laboratory for Research of Civil Society which has existed in the HSE since 2007. The academic supervisor of the Center is the first prorector of HSE, Prof. Lev Yakobson, the head of the Center is Assistant Dr. Irina Mersiyanova.

The Center's goal is to organize and conduct research on both theoretical and applied problems of civil society and nonprofit sector and to generate and develop suggestions for stable functioning of nonprofits. Another goal is to improve the system, mechanisms and functioning of government support of civil society institutions. The Center monitors the current state of civil society in the Russian Federation. The monitoring is aimed to provide relevant, reliable and thorough information for all the interested parties. This information is essential for analysis and forecast of Russian civil society development.

The basic results of civil society monitoring are published in monographs and in the leading journals, and are placed on the Center's Website. They are also used in teaching activities, and discussed at seminars and conferences by a wide range of experts and everybody interested in problems of Russian civil society development.

The results of monitoring are used by the federal government bodies in order to work out state policy of developing civil society institutions. Moreover, they are used by the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation in the Annual report on current state of Civil society in Russia.

The Center participates in two international projects:

  1. «The Index of Civil Society CIVICUS» carried out in cooperation and with the methodology of the World Alliance for Citizen Participation (CIVICUS). This international nonprofit organization established in Johannesburg unites over 450 organizations and activists from 111 countries of the world. In 2009 SU-HSE has become a member of this organization.
  2. «The project of Comparative Studies of the Nonprofit Sector» carried out in cooperation and with the methodology of the John Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies (USA).


Center for Labour Research (CLR)

The Center for Labour Research was formed at HSE in 2001. The Center is headed by Prof. Vladimir Gimpelson. The focus of academic interest of the Center is the specific character of labour market functioning in the transition economy. Within this broad framework the Center for Labour Research pays particular attention to the following problems:

  • evolution ant differentiation of salaries;
  • diversification of employment forms as mechanism of demand and supply adaptation on the labour market;
  • influence of labour legislation on the labour market functioning;
  • shifts in the structure of demand for professions and qualifications;
  • education system and labour market.

The Center for Labour Research is one of the leading Russian research centers in the field of labour market studies. Its' members regularly consult Russian ministries and departments, international economic organizations and employers' unions.

International Partners of the Center for Labour Research include IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, CERT - The Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Virtual Workshop «The search for effective institutions for Russia in the 21st century»

Virtual Workshop «The search for effective institutions for Russia in the 21st century» has been founded in 1999. This project has brought together the economists and sociologists from different parts of Russia and the CIS. The Center is headed by Prof. Rustem Nureyev. There are several research areas being explored. Many of them lie at the intersection of economics, sociology and political science. The main directions of the research are the following:

  • The institutional analysis of economic actors in Post-Soviet Russia
  • Theory and practice of public choice
  • The shadow economy
  • Interaction of power and property
  • History of institutionalism

Expert Institute. Research Group headed by Prof. Yasin

The research group headed by Prof. Evgeny Yasin for a number of years has been studying the relationship between culture and barriers for economic growth. The leading researchers in the group are Prof. Yasin (academic supervisor of HSE), Prof. L. Harrison (Institute of Cultural Changes, USA), Prof. Lebedeva (head of the Laboratory for Social-Psychological Research). A series of books and a great number of articles have been published on the problem, and research seminars are held on a regular basis.

Research of the Expert Institute together with the fund «Liberal Mission» covers several topics:

  • Study of similarities and differences in values relevant to economic growth; norms and behaviour patterns between Russians and people from other
  • The actual changes in Russian culture during the last 20 years as a result of fundamental institutional changes as well as a result of mass cultural
    production influence;
  • Cultural patterns (norms, values, behaviour models) produced by Russian media, possibilities to change this process in order to shape values vital
    for modernization of the society and building of innovative economy;
  • Culture capital and its influence on the socio-economic development.

Russian Summer School of Institutional Analysis

Russian Summer School of Institutional Analysis (RSSIA) is organized annually by the Laboratory for Institutional Analysis of Economic Reforms, HSE. RSSIA is aimed to create and support the academic network of young researchers from all regions of Russia as well as from the CIS and other countries, if their research interests include economic and social aspects of economic systems' institutional structure and development. RSSIA provides an opportunity for researchers all over the world to get in touch with high-level academic society and to get involved into activities associated with high standards of academic research in the sphere of new institutional economics.

Open Optional Course 'Foundations of Economic Policy'

Head of the course: Evgeny Yasin

Every day, new events taking place around the world influence the economic situation in Russia. If you have an opinion about economic policy issues or you want to learn more and understand the possible consequences of various economic solutions, then this optional course is for you. This is a unique opportunity to study the current problems of Russia’s economy in detail. The classes will not only be useful in terms of mastering research skills essential for university study, but they may help you choose an area for future study and possibly a career.