Russia. Between the scylla of conservatism and the charybdis of neoliberalism
Independent scientific and professional organizations began to suffer especially after the introduction of the so-called law on “foreign agents”. Ideological control over science, together with espionage, begins to directly influence the state of academic rights and freedoms. The topic of human rights has almost disappeared from teaching, and research in the field of queer sociology is in fact banned. However, the most vulnerable are those who either teach or demand respect for human rights at the university, and then the loss of employment is the result of a direct ideological confrontation with the rector, such as for the author of this text.
To what extent does science in authoritarian societies initiate practices of democracy and freedom? This article provides an overview of the issue of academic rights and freedoms as an integral part of the academic ethos in the USSR and the Russian Federation and concludes that there has been a paradoxical shift in the relative extent of rights and freedoms in wider society vs. the academic world. In this author’s opinion, academic proto-freedom existed in the USSR as a component of the privileged position held by a segment of the academic community and that, therefore, the latter experienced a degree of freedom that was greater than that afforded by Soviet society in general. The situation evened out in the late 80's and early 90's and finally, with the attack of authoritarianism against the remaining academic autonomy of Russian universities in the 2000s, resulted in fewer freedoms within academia compared to society as a whole.
Russia features complex and rather centralized structure of public finances. The federation controls the majority of tax revenues, partially allocated to the regions, and the public expenditure in respect of regional public goods is done via direct regional expenditure, as well as via federal programs and federal grants, depending on which level of administration is responsible for the said public good. In any case these expenditures need to be efficient partially due to limited resources of the regions and partially due to cost-limiting approach of the Russian public authorities.
Numerous studies analyzed the efficiency of public expenditures at the level of central, regional or local governments; however, there was only limited and partial analysis of public finances of Russian regions, without detailed estimates of efficiency of expenditures or comparison across geographically close regions. Therefore, authors intend to cover this gap in scientific literature.
The objective of this paper is to estimate the technical efficiency of regional public expenditure, with special emphasis on regions of Russian Federation located in Volga Federal District in the period 2013-2017. Volga Federal District includes fourteen administrative regions, all of which feature developed industry and infrastructure but vary in terms of social development.
To evaluate the technical efficiency of public expenditures in the regions of Volga Federal District in the period 2013-2017, the authors used the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) methodology to process data, following Charnes, et al. (1978). The DEA model inputs comprise total expenditure for education and total expenditure for health care of each region, while two sets of outputs consist of (1) teacher-student ratio at all levels of education and number of medical doctors per 10,000 inhabitants and (2) number of students at all levels of education and number of clinic visits per doctor per year.
The DEA model identified significant differences in the efficiency of expenditure on education and health care across regions of Volga Federal District; however, there was no expected correspondence with the size and economic development of the regions (regions with larger population and economy were expected to be more efficient, but the model suggests otherwise). The authors further examine the potential causes of regional public expenditure in the examined sectors of education and health care.
The paper is devoted to the analysis of the definition of organized crime. It highlights the transformation of organized crime - from traditional crime to new type crime.
Institutions affect investment decisions, including investments in human capital. Hence institutions are relevant for the allocation of talent. Good market-supporting institutions attract talent to productive value-creating activities, whereas poor ones raise the appeal of rent-seeking. We propose a theoretical model that predicts that more talented individuals are particularly sensitive in their career choices to the quality of institutions, and test these predictions on a sample of around 95 countries of the world. We find a strong positive association between the quality of institutions and graduation of college and university students in science, and an even stronger negative correlation with graduation in law. Our findings are robust to various specifications of empirical models, including smaller samples of former colonies and transition countries. The quality of human capital makes the distinction between educational choices under strong and weak institutions particularly sharp. We show that the allocation of talent is an important link between institutions and growth.