Research Seminar on Diversity and Development
- International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID), Higher School of Economics
- Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions (CSDSI), New Economic School
- Andrei Yakovlev, Director of ICSID, Professor
- Shlomo Weber, Rector of NES, Professor, Academic Head of CSDSI
First seminar: February 3, 2015
Frequency: twice a monthSpeakers: ICSID and CSDSI team members, and invited guests
To Russia with Love? The Impact of Sanctions on Elections
Michele Valsecchi, Assistant Professor of Economics at the New Economic School
Abstract: Do economic sanctions weaken the support for incumbent governments? To answer this question, we focus on the sanctions imposed on Russia after 2014 and estimate their effect on voting behavior in both presidential and parliamentary elections. For identification, we use cross-regional variation in (pre-determined) trade exposure to sanctioning and non-sanctioning countries and before-after voting data at both regional and district level. The sanctions caused an increase in support for the incumbent. Around 39 percent of the increase in the vote shares of the incumbent president and party can be explained by sanctions. This result is robust to alternative measures of sanction exposure, including a measure of trade loss, i.e., the difference between observed trade flows and counter-factual trade flows computed via a full-general-equilibrium gravity model. Absence of pre-trends, as well as several placebo estimations, support the validity of the identification assumption. We then explore several potential mechanisms, including propaganda, electoral fraud as well as standard demand-supply effects. Overall, while it is hard to evaluate all the potential motives that sanctioning countries might have had, our results suggest that economic sanctions are not an effective tool for reaching one of their primary goals and can actually backfire.
Do we know how relatively rich are we? Actual and perceived place in the income distribution
Eugenia Chernina, Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Labour Market Studies
Abstract: The issue of inequality is hotly debated among academics as well as in society as a whole. One of the reasons for this attention is in the tentative influence that inequality can have on various dimensions of economic, political and social life. This hypothesis assumes implicitly that individuals have more or less correct understanding of actual variation in wealth and income in their countries and know their relative place in the distribution. However, a number of studies (e.g. Gimpelson and Treisman, 2018) show that population may misperceive the true level of inequality, and it is the perception of inequality, and not its true values, that affects behavior. Thus, the question arises how far individuals’ perceptions deviate from the true level of inequality and what factors shape the divergence. This study tries to answer these questions using the 2016 wave of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics. To analyze the discrepancy between subjective and objective inequality, we look at the gap between the subjective and objective positions of respondents in the welfare distribution. Further, using a wide range of individual, family and regional characteristics, we explore the discrepancy.
Market and Network Corruption
Aleksey Oshchepkov, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Labour Market Studies
Abstract: Economists tend to reduce all corruption to impersonal market-like transactions, ignoring the role of social ties in shaping corruption. In this paper, we show that this simplification substantially limits the understanding of corruption. We distinguish between market corruption (impersonal bribery), and network (or parochial) corruption which is conditional on the social connections between bureaucrats and private agents. We argue, both theoretically and empirically, that these types of corruption have different qualities. Using data from the Life in Transition Survey (LiTS) which covers all post-socialist countries we show, first, that the correlation between market and network corruption is weak, which implies that ignoring network corruption leads not only to an underestimation of the overall scale of corruption but also biases national corruption rankings. Secondly, in line with theoretical expectations, we find that network corruption is more persistent over time, less related to contemporary national socio-economic and institutional characteristics and has stronger historical roots than market corruption. Yet, network corruption, unlike bribery, is not able to ‘grease the wheels’ and is not associated with political instability. Lastly, we show that the decline in bribery which was observed in almost all post-socialist countries in the period from 2010 to 2016 was accompanied by rising network corruption in many of them, which has important policy implications.
Migration of Russian settlers and the legacy of interregional development in Kazakhstan
Dmitry Veselov, Associate Professor and senior research fellow at the Faculty of Economic Sciences (HSE)
Abstract: The paper explores the effect of migration of Russian settlers on the intra-regional development in Kazakhstan. We use the 1897 census dataset of the Russian Empire and modern economic data to provide links between the density of the Russian population in Kazakhstan and the current level of economic development. Exploiting exogenous geographic and geopolitical sources of variation across twenty-six districts (uyezd) we provide the empirical evidence of positive impact of the migration of Russians in XVIII-XIX centuries on the current level of development. The paper discusses several channels of such influence: human capital formation channel and the Soviet Union industrialization policy.
Generalized Trust, Preferences for Redistribution and Institutions
Koen Schoors, professor at the Ghent University
Abstract: We study how institutional quality moderates the relationship between generalized trust and preferences for redistribution. It has been well established in the literature that generalized trust is conducive to greater support for redistribution because it reduces expectations of cheating and free-riding among others. Following Algan et al. (2016), we hypothesize that the effect of trust on preferences for redistribution is conditional on the quality of the institutional environment. Trusting individuals, that is, are hypothesized to be more supportive of redistribution in favor of target groups with a high propensity of free-riding (like the poor and the unemployed) if the institutional environment is more likely to detect and penalize free-riders. We test this hypothesis with data from the Life in Transition II survey that contains 38,000 thousand respondents from 35 transition and developed countries. We find that the effect of individual trust on supporting redistribution in favor of the poor and the unemployed depends indeed on the quality of the formal institutions in the environment, like the country-level control of corruption, the rule of law and government effectiveness. Trust and formal institutions are therefore complements with respect to their effect on preferences for redistribution. This relationship is not observed for groups conventionally thought of as unambiguously deserving or delineated with free-riding proof eligibility criteria, i.e. for the old, the disabled, and families with children. Additionally we find that trust under good institutions is associated indicating all beneficiary groups as deserving support.
Decentralization of Firms in a Country with Weak Institutions: Evidence from Russia
Irina Levina, IIMS Research Fellow at the NRU HSE
Abstract: In this paper, we study evidence from Russian firms to explore whether decentralization of firms can be successful under weak institutions. We introduce the concepts of real decentralization for the delegation of decision-making authority in firms to professional people hired though open competition, and of cautious decentralization – for the delegation to people hired through connections. We argue that real decentralization has a potential to significantly improve the efficiency of firms; benefits that real decentralization can yield to firms’ efficiency can be so important that they can outweigh agency costs of decentralization even under weak institutions. However, the higher the role of corruption for economic wellbeing of firms under weak institutions, the lower the firms’ returns on being economically efficient, and therefore, the lower the returns on real decentralization. Our empirical results demonstrate that really decentralized Russian firms are, on average, significantly more likely to implement investment. The gap in probability of investment between really decentralized and other Russian firms is very substantial under the low or medium values of corruption; however, the gap declines as corruption grows and becomes statistically insignificant under the very high values of corruption.
Enemies of the people
Gerhard Toews, Professor at the New Economic School (NES)
Abstract: Enemies of the people were the millions of intellectuals, artists, businessmen, politicians, professors, landowners, scientists, and affluent peasants that were thought a threat to the Soviet regime and were sent to the Gulag, i.e. the system of forced labor camps throughout the Soviet Union. In this paper we look at the long-run consequences of this dark re-location episode. We show that areas around camps with a larger share of enemies among prisoners are more prosperous today, as captured by night lights per capita, firm productivity, wages, and education. Our results point in the direction of a long-run persistence of skills and a resulting positive effect on local economic outcomes via human capital channels.
Demographic Consequences of the 1933 Soviet Famine
Natalia Naumenko, Brown University postdoctoral research associate at the Political Theory Project at Brown University
Abstract: Using recently discovered archival data, this article studies the impact of the 1933 Soviet famine on population and urbanization patterns. It documents that, although most of the direct victims lived in rural areas, the famine had a persistent negative impact on the urban population. In fact, the rural population gradually recovered while urban settlements in more affected areas became permanently smaller. The paper argues that the shortage of labor during the crucial years of rapid industrialization hindered the development of cities in areas struck by the famine. Thus, the timing of the shock to population appears to be an important factor. While established urban networks tend to recover from large temporary negative shocks, the lack of people during construction and rapid growth might have a permanent negative impact.
Moneyball game" and players' incentives in football
Inna Zaitseva, Research Fellow at the Laboratory of Sports Studies
Abstract: The idea of “Moneyball” phenomenon originates from a number of cases in baseball when labour market undervalued specific player skills. Later on, in football was found an evidence of undervaluation of players’ effort, measured as the distance covered during a match. This fact raises a question on players incentives to exert different levels of effort in different games. The hypothesis of this research suggests that players can express their loyalty to the values of their club by increasing the level of effort in matches, which are considered as principal for the club. One of the explicit criteria for principal matches in football is a derby status of a game. This research demonstrates, that players in Bundesliga in season 2017-2018 exerted a greater level of effort in home derby games, which supports the idea of players’ loyalty to club’s values.
Cemal Eren Arbatli, Assistant Professor and Research Fellow in the Department of Theoretical Economics at the NRU HSE
Partisanship as Tradition: Critical Junctures, Collective Memory and Persistent PartyIdentification
Abstract: Party loyalty can be motivated by various forces. Sometimes it is driven by instrumental motives and ideological leanings. At other times, it is better viewed as an expression of more enduring social and cultural identities transmitted across generations. We study the case of Sasun Armenians to illustrate this latter view. Our paper traces the origins of long-term party identi cation to a critical juncture in the local history of Sasun, a mountainous region of the Ottoman Empire located in Eastern Turkey. During the Great Massacres against Armenians at the end of the 19th century, Armenian residents of Sasun received armed support from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) to defend their villages from military attacks. With the help of the ARF rebels, survivors of the Armenian Genocide (1915-1917) from Sasun region settled in various villages in modern-day Armenia. We show that the descendants of Sasun migrants strongly embrace the local legacy of their ancestral contact with the ARF. They are not only more likely to name their children after the ARF rebels who helped Sasun people in their armed struggle but they also are more likely to vote for the ARF today, although the party was not active in Armenia during the seven decades of the Soviet rule.
Heike Henning-Schmidt, Chief Research Fellow at the International Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioural Economics and Guest Researcher at the University of Bonn
Dishonesty in healthcare practice: A behavioral experiment on upcoding in neonatology
Abstract: Dishonest behavior significantly increases the cost of medical care provision. Upcoding of patients is a common form of fraud to attract higher reimbursements. Imposing audit mechanisms including fines to curtail upcoding is widely discussed among healthcare policy-makers. How audits and fines affect individual health care providers' behavior is empirically not well understood. To provide new evidence on fraudulent behavior in health care, we analyze the effect of a random audit including fines on individuals' honesty by means of a novel controlled behavioral experiment framed in a neonatal care context. Prevalent dishonest behavior declines significantly when audits and fines are introduced. The effect is driven by a reduction in upcoding when being detectable. Yet, upcoding increases when not being detectable as fraudulent. We find evidence that individual characteristics (gender, medical background, integrity) are related to dishonest behavior. Policy implications are discussed.
Anand Sokhey, Associate Professor at the University Colorado at Boulder
Beyond Thoughts and Prayers: The Christian Nationalism of the Gun Control Debate
Abstract: The U.S. has the 31st highest rate of non-conflict gun violence in the world, far outpacing its socio-economic peers. And, over the past decade, public debate over gun control in the United States has grown immensely. However, despite public outcry, there has been almost no traction on gun control. We investigate a previously understudied mechanism to address this puzzle: religion. Do Christian nationalist values impede many religious Americans from supporting gun control? In this paper we present multifaceted approach to the relationship between religion and gun control, drawing upon the integration of Christian nationalist views, partisanship, and clergy messaging. Our data comes from a May 2018 national sample of the United States, and we make comparisons to a 2007 national sample to assess consistency and change.
Jan Fidrmuc, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics and Finance and CEDI at the Brunel University
"Beautiful Minds: Physical Attractiveness and Research Productivity in Economics"
Abstract: We study the impact of physical attractiveness of on productivity. Previous literature found a strong impact on wages and career progression, which can be either due to discrimination in favor of good-looking people or can reflect an association between attractiveness and productivity. We utilize a context where there is no or limited face-to-face interaction, academic publishing, so that scope for beauty-based discrimination should be limited. Using data on around 2,000 authors of journal publications in economics, we find a significantly positive effect of authors’ attractiveness on both journal quality and citations. However, the impact on citations disappears after we control for journal quality.
Chris Berry, Professor at the University of Chicago
"Leadership or Luck? Randomization Inference for Leader Effects"
Abstract: Anecdotal evidence suggests that some political leaders are more effective than others, causing better outcomes for their citizens. However, observed differences in outcomes between leaders could be attributable to chance variation. To solve this inferential problem, we develop RIFLE, a quantitative test of leader effects. RIFLE allows researchers to test a null hypothesis of no leader effect and also estimate the proportion of variation in an outcome variable attributable to leaders vs. other factors, and it provides more statistical power and more reliable inferences than other strategies. To demonstrate the substantive value of RIFLE, we implement it for world leaders, U.S. governors, and U.S. mayors and for several outcomes. RIFLE can be applied to virtually any setting with leaders and an objective outcome of interest, so its continued application should improve our understanding of where, when, and why leaders matter.
Chris Miller, Assistant Professor in the Fletcher School at the Tufts University, USA
"The Politics of Inflation and the Distribution of Income in Early 1990s Russia"
Abstract: This paper will reexamine the failure to stabilize prices, making use of newly collected sources from the State Archive of the Russian Federation as well as Yegor Gaidar’s personal archive. First, the paper will examine the Gaidar team’s views of inflation in 1991 and their expectations and preferences for 1992 and 1993. Then, the paper will reconstruct debates about inflation and monetary policy during the crucial years of 1992 and 1993, illustrating the extent to which Russia’s legislature, the Verkhovny Sovet, demanded policies that made price stabilization impossible. Finally, the paper will explore the distributional effects of the inflation, concluding by noting that the inflation’s reduction of household well-being is consistent with the thesis that firms and their representatives in the Verkhovny Sovet pushed the policies that made inflation inevitable.
Andy Eggers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford, UK
"Who votes more strategically?"
Abstract: Strategic voting is an important explanation for aggregate political phenomena, but we know little about how strategic voting varies across types of voters. Are richer voters more strategic than poorer voters? Does strategic behavior vary with age, education, gender or political leaning? The answers may be important for assessing how well an electoral system represents different preferences in society. We introduce a new approach to measuring and comparing strategic voting across voters that can be broadly applied given appropriate survey data. In recent British elections, we find no difference in strategic voting by education level, but we do find that older voters are more strategic than younger voters, richer voters are more strategic than poorer voters, and left-leaning voters are more strategic than right-leaning voters. In the case of age and income, the difference in strategic voting exacerbates known inequalities in political participation.
David Schindler, Assistant Professor at the Tilburg University
"Shocking Racial Attitudes: Black GIs in Europe"
Melanie Meng Xue, Postdoctoral Fellow at Northwestern University (USA)
"Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China"
Andrei Markevich, Professor, New Economic School
"Democratic Support for the Bolshevik Revolution: An Empirical Investigation of 1917 Constituent Assembly Elections"
Kseniya Abanokova, Junior Research Fellow at the Centre for Comprehensive Social Policy Studies (HSE)
"Pocketbook motivation in voting in Russia"
Israel Marques II, Assistant Professor at the HSE School of Political Science and ICSID Research Fellow
"Institutional Quality and Social Policy Preferences: Experimental Evidence" (co-authored by Joseph B. Schaffer and Sarah Wilson Sokhey)
Ted Gerber, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)
"Homeownership, regime support, and civic engagement in four post-Soviet societies"
Gunes Gokmen, Assistant Professor at the New Economic School (Russia)
"War and Well-Being in Transition: Russo-Georgian Conflict as a Natural Experiment"
Vladimir Kozlov, Associate Professor at the Institute of Demography, HSE (Russia)
"Testosterone and Repression in Non-Democracies: Evidence from a Sample of Russian Governors"
Luigi Pascali, Associate Professor at the Pompeu Fabra University (Barсelona, Spain)
"Cereals, Appropriability and Hierarchy"
Stephen G. Wheatcroft , Professor at the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne (Australia)
"The importance of the grain problem in the Russian Revolution and for the next 40 years of Soviet Economic"
Anne Meng, Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics, University of Virginia (USA)
"Autocratic Constitutions and Leadership Succession in Dictatorial Regimes"
Julian G. Waller, Ph.D Candidate at the Department of Political Science at the George Washington University and ICSID Visiting Researcher
"Popular Perceptions and the De Facto Role of Political Parties in the Euromaidan Protests of 2013-2014"
Lauren McCarthy, University of Massachusetts Amherst, ICSID HSE
"Managed Civil Society and the Realities of Police Oversight in Russia"
Philippe Gagnepain (Paris School of Economics and Université Paris 1)
"Full versus binary menus: What are the welfare gains?" (co-authored by David Martimort)
Denis Ivanov (ICSID, HSE)
"Do institutions cause social trust? Evidence from an institutional reform"
Ekaterina Borisova (ICSID, HSE)
"Elections, Protest and Trust in Government: A Natural Experiment from Russia"
Constantine Sorokin (International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis, HSE)
“Distributional comparative statics for auctions and beyond”
Noah Buckley (ICSID, HSE)
“Calculating Corruption: Political Competition and Bribery under Authoritarianism”
Michael Rochlitz (Department of Political Science, HSE)
“Does Independent Media Matter in a Non-Democratic Election? Experimental Evidence from Russia”
Elena Podkolzina (Center for Institutional Studies, HSE)
“Corruption perception and competition in public procurement: empirical evidence from Russian regions”
Tatyana Mikhailova (RANEPA)
“Agglomeration effects in Russian manufacturing”
Israel Marques (Department of Political Science and ICSID, HSE)
“Institutional Quality and Social Policy Preferences”
Natalya Naumenko (Northwestern University)
“Collectivization of Soviet agriculture and 1932-1933 famine”
Niall Hughes (Warwick University)
“How Transparency Kills Information Aggregation: Theory and Experiment”
Andrey Shcherbak (Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, HSE)
“The recipe for democracy? Improvement in diet as a structural prerequisite for political change”
Thomas Leeper (London School of Economics)
“If Only Citizens Had a Cue: The Process of Opinion Formation over Time”
Denis Ivanov (ICSID, HSE)
“Bridging or Bonding? Preferences for Redistribution and Social Capital in Russia”
Andrew Little (Cornell University)
“I Don't Know”
Andrea Matranga (NES)
“All Along the Watchtower: Linear Defenses and the Introduction of Serfdom in Russia”
Andrei Markevich (NES)
“The Value of Statistical Life in a Dictatorship”
Kyle Marquardt (University of Gothenburg)
“Identity, ethnicity and conflict: Social and political exclusion and civil war onset”
Gunes Gokmen (NES)
“The Power of Religion: Organized Religion and Power Inequality across World Societies”
Vasily Rusanov (Center for Institutional Studies, HSE)
“Minorities and business: the case Russian of Old Believers”
Sergei Izmalkov (NES)
“Spatial competition with intermediaries”
Alexey Zakharov (Department of Theoretical Economics, HSE)
“Eqilibrium taxation under income uncertainty”
Douglas Campbell (NES)
“Trade Shocks, Taxes, and Inequality”
Leonid Polishchuk (Faculty of Economic Sciences, HSE)
“Institutions and Visa Regimes”
Dagmara Celik Katreniak (CERGE-EI)
“Dark Side of Incentives: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in Uganda”
Barbara Lehmbruch (Uppsala University)
“Between the Public and the Private: Quasi-Autonomous Agencies, Institutional Legacies and Post-Soviet Governments”
Anton Kazun (ICSID, HSE)
“Community of Attorneys and the Quality of Law Enforcement in Russian Regions”
Tatiana Mikhailova (RANEPA)
”Geography of import transportation routes in Russia: the choice of an entry point”
Alexander Yarkin (HSE)
”Property rights and inequality in non-democratic regimes: theory and evidence“
Gunes Gokmen (NES)
”Minorities and Long-run Development: Persistence of Armenian and Greek Influence in Turkey”
Israel Marques (ICSID, HSE)
”Institutional Quality and Individual Preferences for Social Policy”
Steven N. Durlauf (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
“Capital In the Twenty-First Century: A Review of Thomas Piketty's book”
Paul Castañeda Dower (NES)
“The Stolypin Reform and Agricultural Productivity in Late Imperial Russia”
Franziska Keller (New York University)
“Shaking hands in public. What elite co-appearances tell us about the politics behind the scenes“
Andrei Yakovlev (ICSID, HSE)
“Measurement of business climate in Russia: who did perceive the changes and how these changes are related to Mr. Putin?”
Evgeny Yakovlev (HSE)
“How persistent are consumption habits: Micro-evidence from Russia”
Tim Jaekel (HSE School of Public Administration)
“Risk Taking in the Local Public Sector: Explaining Participation Decision in a sector-led improvement exercise of Swedish municipalities”
Ruben Enikolopov (NES)
“Winning Hearts and Minds: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan”
Michael Rochlitz (Department of Political Science, HSE)
“Performance Incentives and Economic Growth: Regional Officials in Russia and China”
Alexei Khazanov (NES)
“On the Breakup of Nations: the Case of a Large Federal State”
Andrei Govorun (IIMS, HSE)
“The Political Roots of Intermediated Lobbying: Evidence from Russian Firms and Business Associations”
Andrea Matranga (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
“Climate-Driven Technical Change: Seasonality and the Invention of Agriculture”
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