The paper provides comparative analysis of leading research programmes in the field of comparative economics, as well as assessment of their actual and potential role in an economist’s tool kit. Analysis covers research programmes, which are either explicitly or implicitly comparative. The first group includes both traditional Comparative Economic Systems approach (especially in versions of T.Koopmans - J.Montias and E.Neuberger - W.Duffy), and recent Comparative Institutional Analysis of A.Greif and M.Aoki. The second group is presented by German Ordo-liberalism initiated by W.Eucken and by more recent French Theorie de la regulation research programme. Comparative economics is analysed from the perspective of Eucken’s Great Antinomy with underlying controversies over the nature of economic knowledge. The challenge comes back to the Methodenstreit of the late XIX century, while adequate response to it is still on the agenda. Most of modern economic theory is highly dependent on ceteris paribus clause. It is argued that to relax this dependence, economics should take comparative research strategy quite seriously. Methodological analysis of the field of comparative economics indicates some neglected, but crucial epistemological grounds of economic inquiry (especially heuristic role of ideal-typical constructs) and points out at comparative economics as an indispensable tool for bridging gaps between theoretical and empirical inquiry, as well as between the science and the art of economics.
The Generations and Gender Surveys (GGS) conducted in both France (2005) and Russia (2004) have been analyzed from the perspective of the children in separated families. As a comparison of the family situations of children of various ages shows, the frequency of single-parent families is higher in Russia where these children are more likely to live in multi-generation households. The probability is increasing in both countries that the children born to couples living together (whether married or not) – and especially the children born during the 1980s in Russia – will, before they come of age, see their parents separate. In both countries, the parents of the children most exposed to the risk of separation share some characteristics: their mother formed a couple at a young age, her partner has at least one other child or is older, or she did not spend her whole childhood with both her parents. In France, unlike in Russia, officially marrying and practicing religion (even seldom) are factors that significantly lower the risk of parents separating.
The main trends are examined in historical reflection, since 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, on the imperial and national past of Russia and the USSR. The revival of national historiography is placed in the epistemological and political context of postmodernity, which fuses late 19th-century paradigms with the Soviet concept of “ethnos” and with postcolonial sensitivities. The problematic national history of Russians is seen in relation to this complex methodological and ideological background. The evolution of imperial history is traced from the statecentered rediscovery of “empire” to different interpretations of “empire” as a general framework for the region’s entangled history. The new paradigm of imperial history is then introduced with its focus on the “imperial situation” of complex societies and multilayered, irregular diversity. This understanding of imperial history is precisely what has made studies of the Russian Empire relevant internationally. Students of the Russian and Soviet empires and their successor states have much to contribute to this field of intense scholarly activity.