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News

6th ICSID Conference and EACES-HSE Workshop

6th Annual Conference of the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID) “Political Economy of Development: Exiting the Middle Income Trap” was held at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow on June 13-14, 2017.

This year’s event attracted a record number of speakers from the world's top universities and research centers, such as Emory University, Yale, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University College London, Stanford, New York University, Higher School of Economics and Columbia University. A total of 35 papers were presented by both Russian and foreign experts in the fields of political economy, and economic and institutional development. Topics discussed at the conference ranged from political science to economics, and included economic growth in autocracies, problems of economic and political transformation, corruption, political elites, and effects of historical legacies on development and social capital.

"This year I participated in the ICSID conference for my first time, and I was stunned by the high-quality research that individuals presented. Throughout the two days, I saw graduate students at all stages of their education and faculty at all stages of their careers present projects that addressed some of the most fundamental questions in political economy and did so in methodologically rigorous ways. The atmosphere was collaborative, which led to engaging discussions, and I appreciated the supportive feedback that I received from many conference participants during and after the conference. I found that this collaborative environment also made it easy to meet fellow scholars from around the world and with whom I have since established long-term professional connections and friendships".

Timothy Model
PhD Student, Department of Political Science, Indiana University

The conference featured keynote speeches by Richard Doner (Emory University), Ben Ross Schneider (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Joshua Tucker (New York University). Professor Doner discussed two major institutional and political challenges faced by countries in the middle income trap. First, the policies necessary to upgrade productivity require enormous investment in institutional capacity.  Second, these institutional challenges come just at the time when political capacity for building these institutions is weak due primarily to the fragmentation of potential support coalitions. Professor Schneider’s presentation also covered the problem of the middle income trap but focused on education politics and investment in human capital in the MI trap countries. Joshua Tucker’s talk was on his recent book “Historical Legacies and Post-Communist Political Attitudes” that demonstrated how living through communism has a clear, consistent influence on why citizens in post-communist countries are, on average, less supportive of democracy and markets and more supportive of state-provided social welfare.

"I really liked the panel on Historical Legacies and Development. I received helpful feedback from the audience who were knowledgeable in population movements in Russia, China, and elsewhere in the world. The audience had great interest in applying rigorous statistical strategies and in theorizing how historical legacies affect contemporary political developments. I think the conference was very well-organized, from the point of call for papers to visa support, and to when the conference happened. The coffee break was amazing. I enjoyed the conference, and appreciated all the travel support and paper comments I got!"

Ruxi Zhang
PhD Student, Stanford University

EACES-HSE Workshop “Topics in Political Economy of Development” was held on the first day of the conference, June 13. Both graduate students and senior researchers presented their research during several parallel sessions. Some of the speakers were: Christopher Miller (Yale University), Paula Ganga (Georgetown University), Samuel Rogers (University of Bristol), Jordan Gans-Morse (Northwestern University), Guzel Garifullina (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Elodie Douarin (University College London), Michael Rochlitz (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich), and Hannah Chapman (University of Wisconsin-Madison). ICSID research fellows presented their papers on the following day, June 14. Ora John Reuter discussed elite defection under autocracy, Tim Frye looked into effects of economic sanctions on public opinion in Russia, while Ekaterina Borisova argued that social capital in post-socialist countries could help mobilize public support for the redistribution schemes.

A full list of conference papers with abstracts can be found in the program: Program_6th_ICSID_conference_2017