The article analyzes the specifics of urbanization dynamics in Egypt, which is noteworthy for a number of reasons. First, there was a shift from the logistic trend in the 1970s, and the share of urban population stopped growing. The UN data analysis shows that such a shift usually occurs against the background of very serious economic difficulties (and other problems associated with them). However, the urban population proportion stopped growing in Egypt when the country was experiencing a period of exceedingly rapid economic growth. We find labor migration of unprecedented scale to be the main reason which engendered this seemingly paradoxical situation. We further proceed to analyze the UN forecast on the dynamics of the Egyptian urban population proportion up to 2050, which implies a return to the logistic trend and rapid growth of the urban population share, which is fraught with socio-political instability risks. However, we present data proving that the logistic urbanization trajectory is not inevitable for Egypt, and the destabilization risks connected with the rapid increase of urban population share are largely irrelevant to Egypt in the forecasted period.
On the basis of in-depth case studies of four Russian regions, Kirov and Voronezh oblasts and Krasnoyarsk and Perm' krais, the trade-offs among social and economic policy at the regional level in Russia are examined. All four regional governments seek to develop entrepreneurship while preserving social welfare obligations and improving compensation in the public sector. Richer regions have a greater ability to reconcile social commitments with the promotion of business. Regions differ in their development strategies, some placing greater emphasis on indigenous business development and others seeking to attract federal or foreign investment. Governors have considerable discretion in choosing their strategy so long as they meet basic performance demands set by the federal government such as ensuring good results for the United Russia party. In all four regions, governments consult actively with local business associations whereas organized labor is weak. However, the absence of effective institutions to enforce commitments undertaken by government and its social partners undermines regional capacity to use social policy as a basis for long-term economic development.
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.