The paper presents the results of an empirical study on the charity of smalland medium-sized businesses in a small Russian town. The aim of this article is to reveal motivations and barriers for small- and medium-sized businesses to participate in charitable activities. By the charity of a business, we mean a non-systematic provision of financial support to those in need. Different theoretical approaches are applied to explain the motivations for charitable activity in business. Critical theory implies that charity is used as an ideological tool aiming for a positive public image. Theories of solidarity conceptualize charity as a moral obligation to conform to the norms of the community. In the model of patrimonial domination, the authority distributes privileges in exchange for loyalty. This study was conducted in 2015–2016 in a small Russian town; 21 semi-structured interviews were carried out with the owners of small- and medium-sized businesses. In addition, 13 interviews were conducted with recipients of business donations and experts in the field of charity (including leaders of non-profit organizations, schools, local media, and government representatives). The empirical results show that business charity is a result of the relationships between businesses, the local community, and local authorities. The local community sets a stable social order of charity in a small town. However, the most stable and significant charitable donations from businesses are possible only in the system of patrimonial exchanges.
The “Economic Methodology” section under the moderation of HSE Professor Vladimir Avtonomov took place on the 20th and 21st of April within the XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. The section consisted of five sessions: “Economics: Beginning and Continuation”; “Soviet Theorists and Historians of Thought”; “Property, Inequality, Paternalism”; “Methodological Problems of Economic Science”; and “In Search of a Realistic Economics.” Each session had three reports which were followed with discussion among the participants. The question of theoretical and methodological nature of economics and history of economic thought as well as the problem of the practical application of theoretical knowledge were in the spotlight. This paper focuses on a philosophical and methodological reflection of economics and the history of economic thought, and it partly stresses the problems and practical application of economic knowledge; therefore, not all reports are discussed. Economics is an unrealized natural science project in which primordial foundation has a moral character and is associated with philosophical notions about economy life organization. Scholars’ comprehension of economics, its methodology, and models of economic human has changed over the years. Economists, historians, and methodologists of economic thought reference the philosophical theories and concepts, which allow them to look critically at what is happening inside the disciplinary area, resolve old problems, and ask new questions.
The transfer of knowledge and skills is a key social process that supports the functioning of all social institutions, including the economy. Existing research shows that the participation of adults in education throughout their lives has noticeable consequences for wealth, social wellbeing, state of health and cognitive abilities. The learnability of adults provides an additional resource for the economy, which increases its resistance and adaptability during a crisis, allows institutional development and provides an increase of human capital during economic growth. In this paper, we analyze the involvement of adults in education and estimate the effectiveness of adult educational practices in Russia in comparison with OECD countries. The analysis is based on the data of the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competences (PIAAC). It is shown that adult learners in Russia demonstrate the same level of measured competences (in reading and math) as those who are not involved in any educational activities. The results are quite different for OECD countries. At the same time, we observe dissimilar models of participation of adults in education in Russia and OECD countries. In the latter countries, there is a "supportive" role of adult education, in which a learner has a strong career, income and social wellbeing, while in Russia a "crisis" model is common for those adults involved in formal education.