Participatory Opportunity and Collective Action: A Critical Reflection on Brazil's Recent Experiments in Democracy
This article describes the results of sociological research on estimation of condition and development prospects of federalism in Russia, which was conducted by ZIRCON Research Group in January - May 2011. The opinion of population and elite groups of four regions about the foundations of Russian federalism development, administrative-territorial system of the Russian Federation and its principles, relations between subjects-regions and federative centre is presented. The results of the research indicate that at the moment a request for political and administrative autonomy of the subjects of the Federation is not obviously formulated by either citizens or regional elite groups. Regional identity is not a common phenomenon. The authors mark out necessary factors of federalism development: expansion of economic self-dependence of regions, existence of ethno-national or regional identity of citizens, democratization and decentralization.
This report analyzes the architecture of fiscal decentralization in one hundred and ten countries as well as in major metropolitan areas. In the majority of these countries, local authorities are taking on more and more responsibilities for public investment and the provision of services that are essential for both economic development and the well being of their citizens. If increasing fiscal decentralization has been a global trend in recent decades, there are significant variations across and within regions and countries. Local budgets make up on average 25% of public expenditure in the countries of the European Union but less than 5% in many developing countries. Decentralization in terms of revenue and expenditure autonomy has also increased, however this has been uneven across countries and has seen greater advances in expenditure than in revenues, where sources remain limited and uncertain, especially for small and middle size cities. With accelerating urbanization and important shifts in the global context (climate change, increasing risk of natural disaster, migration, and demographic changes among others), current funding levels are insufficient for local governments to respond to the urbanization of poverty, growing investment requirements and other pressing needs. The economic and financial crisis that began in 2008 only worsened the situation. This book identifies universal challenges facing local government finance, as well as those more regional and country specific. Some of the most common are inadequate sources of revenue, unpredictable transfers and grants, excessive higher-level budget controls, and unfunded mandates. In addition to analyzing these challenges and opportunities, the report proposes recommendations to strengthen the fiscal role and performance of local governments around the world.
After Brazil's transition to democracy in 1985, a number of progressive actors, including a new political party - the Workers' Party - championed a raft of participatory reforms. Today, these reforms have garnered global attention for their effectiveness at combating inequality, encouraging active citizenship and reshaping state-civil society relations. However, no democratising project can entirely cast aside the existing state structures that pattern and give shape to political life. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research, Victor Albert provides a critical analysis of citizen participation in Santo André, in the region of Greater São Paulo where the Workers' Party was founded, by exploring the challenges participants face as they take part in institutions pervaded by the administrative culture of the state.
The articleconsider the development of the sphere of labor relations in the context of ongoing Fourth Industrial Revolution and, in particular, in the conditions of emergence and development of Blockchain technology. Blokchain is one of the main technologies that have become the driving force of new scientific and technological revolution. Because ofthe interest and the informational support of the media it causes cross-industrial promotion of technology, and it leads to the coverage of new mar-kets. Blockchain continues the trend of decentralization and automation of business processes and document circulation; it opens an opportunity to avoid intermediaries involvement, which significant-ly affects the labor market and the existence of a number of professions.
The paper looks at the impact of imperfect assessment of water discharge on the level of surface water pollution and allocation of environmental budget in a framework of one river basin region. Analysis is based on the partial equilibrium model with unidirectional spatially accumulated external effect in the presence of partial natural absorbtion. The effect of water discharge assessment imperfection on the level of water pollution at every location and social welfare is investigated. It is shown that decentralization accompanied by the improvement in water discharge quality assessment may reduce the welfare loss. However, even under complete elimination of assessment imperfections resource allocation under decentralization is still inefficient.
качество воды, потери в благосостоянии, искажения в оценке загрязнения, децентрализация, Water discharge quality, welfare loss, imperfect assessment, Decentralization
In the 1990s, sub-national authoritarian regimes – local-based monopolies of ruling elites – emerged in many of Russia’s regions and cities against the background of spontaneous decentralization of government and competitive electoral politics. In the 2000s, the decline of political competition and recentralization of the Russian state led to incorporation of sub-national authoritarian regimes under federal control and cooptation of local-based actors into the dominant party, United Russia. This paper is devoted to a comparative analysis of sub-national authoritarianism in Russia in light of the experience of local political machines in other countries, ranging from US cities from the 1870s-1930s to Southern Italy from the 1950s-1980s. Unlike the American political machines, which were demolished from below as a by-product of modernization processes, Russia’s sub-national authoritarian regimes were integrated from above into the nation-wide authoritarianism. One might expect further stagnation of sub-national authoritarian regimes in Russia until major regime changes will occur on the national level.
The deepening rift between the system's potential and the challenges of rapidly changing socio-economic conditions make the transformation of Russia's state apparatus a matter of the nearest future; while, barring a radical overhaul, its preservation until 2025 is virtually impossible. Two major trends and resulting changes in administrative organization will determine Russia's political development processes in the coming years: reformatting relations between the authorities and society and reconfiguring arrangements between the federal center and regions. The center-regions relations dynamics is analyzed in terms of long pendulum oscillations with pendulum moving now from the model of 'federation of corporations' to the model of 'federation of regions'.
Smoking is a problem, bringing signifi cant social and economic costs to Russiansociety. However, ratifi cation of the World health organization Framework conventionon tobacco control makes it possible to improve Russian legislation accordingto the international standards. So, I describe some measures that should be taken bythe Russian authorities in the nearest future, and I examine their effi ciency. By studyingthe international evidence I analyze the impact of the smoke-free areas, advertisementand sponsorship bans, tax increases, etc. on the prevalence of smoking, cigaretteconsumption and some other indicators. I also investigate the obstacles confrontingthe Russian authorities when they introduce new policy measures and the public attitudetowards these measures. I conclude that there is a number of easy-to-implementanti-smoking activities that need no fi nancial resources but only a political will.
We address the external effects on public sector efficiency measures acquired using Data Envelopment Analysis. We use the health care system in Russian regions in 2011 to evaluate modern approaches to accounting for external effects. We propose a promising method of correcting DEA efficiency measures. Despite the multiple advantages DEA offers, the usage of this approach carries with it a number of methodological difficulties. Accounting for multiple factors of efficiency calls for more complex methods, among which the most promising are DMU clustering and calculating local production possibility frontiers. Using regression models for estimate correction requires further study due to possible systematic errors during estimation. A mixture of data correction and DMU clustering together with multi-stage DEA seems most promising at the moment. Analyzing several stages of transforming society’s resources into social welfare will allow for picking out the weak points in a state agency’s work.