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9th Annual ISCID Conference “Comparative Perspectives on the Political Economy of Development”: findings and opinions

On June 9-11 2020, 9th annual ICSID Conference was held online as many other academic events this year. Even though the traditional format of the conference had to be changed, it also helped attract more participants. We managed to hold lively debates on current problems of political economy. The oral discussion was complemented by parallel polemics in the chat room of the conference. This new format gave participants the opportunity to receive feedback from a larger than usual number of colleagues.

9th Annual ISCID Conference “Comparative Perspectives on the Political Economy of Development”: findings and opinions

The conference gathered more than 90 researches – both experienced speakers, permanent participants of the conference and young scholars – from Russia, the USA, Germany, Finland, Serbia, France, the UK, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan. The presented papers covered such topics as institutional and economic development, political elites and collective actions, independence of the judicial system, social capital development, social policy etc.

Judging by the feedback we received from the participants, popularity of the conference and joint EACES-HSE University workshop “Topics in Political Economy of Development” is growing every year.

I attended the ICSID Conference to learn about developments in research on Russia and especially the relationship between the regions and the central government. I was happy to see presentations by several very prominent scholars on Russian political and economic developments and to interact with them via the chat feature of the Zoom conference.  Like most academics in these COVID 19 times, I have participated in numerous online conferences and presentations. My experience with the ICSID Conference, from the technological side, was by far the smoothest and least impacted by technological problems of them all.  It also is the one that day in and day out had the largest participation which makes the lack of technical issues all the more impressive. Thanks for letting me participate in the conference.” – wrote Dennis Craig Coates, professor of Economics at the University of Maryland (UMBC, the USA), after the end of the conference.

Georgiy Syunyaev, HSE University graduate and a PhD student at the Columbia University (USA), also shared his opinion: “As a regular EACES-HSE workshop participant and ICSID conference attendee for over 4 years I witnessed how both grew in terms of breadth of topics and contexts. The latest annual meeting, despite being held virtually, brought together over 40 Russian and international scholars who apply wide range of methods (qualitative, formal and quantitative/experimental) to study political and economic development in contexts far outside Post-Soviet countries, the original focus of the workshop and conference. Ability to receive excellent feedback and engage with broad but friendly community, in my opinion, makes ICSID annual conference and EACES-HSE workshop one of the best, if not the best, international conferences on political economy, held in Russia. I look forward to return to the conference next year, hopefully in person.

Some of the participants like Sultan Mehmood, the research fellow of the Aix-Marseille School of Economics (AMSE, France) left a comment in his SNS: “It was a pleasure to present ‘The Price of Favor Exchange: Judicial Corruption through Favor Exchange’ at Hse University. Thank you Timothy Frye for organizing this amazing event & the invitation to present.

Ekaterina Borisova, the deputy director of the ISCID, noted that “the conference this year gave new opportunities. In particular, we could include our colleagues who could not be in Moscow otherwise in the conference. What is more, co-authors could also participate. It is a rare opportunity. Co-authors answered the questions in the chat room while their colleague was presenting a paper. This parallel participation of all co-authors in the presentation process became a new norm brought to us by online-format”.