The review of Johanna Bockman’s ‘Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left- Wing Origins of Neoliberalism’ focuses the relationships between Western and Soviet economic sciences. Bockman emphasizes that historically there was no insurmountable gap between the analysis of market and planned economies: mathematical analysis made Soviet and Western economists similar to each other. For some period, economists on both sides of the ‘iron curtain’ were intuitively following the same path without any opportunity to communicate with each other. After the political environment changed, Soviet and Western economists found a lot of common ground and began to perceive each other as colleagues. However, this only refers to the scientists who were mathematical economists, and has nothing to do with those whose expertise was bound to political economy. One such scientist was Leonid Kantorovich – the undisputed leader of the mathematical branch in the Soviet Union. Intense correspondence and warm personal relations between Kantorovich and Tjalling Koopmans, who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in economics, was a perfect illustration of those emerging international links. Eventually Soviet mathematical economists managed to overcome their isolation from the worldwide scientific community. Moreover, their works were quite in line with contemporary views on what true economists should do. Again, it only refers to a few Soviet scholars, but it was enough not to be neglected. Bockman’s book is discussed in the context of studies in economic thought. The review contains a short description of Philip Mirowski’s ‘Machine Dreams: Economics Becomes a Cyborg Science’. It highlights the similarities between Bockman’s and Mirowski’s approaches, as well as parallels the development of economic thought in the Soviet Union and the West. Unlike the majority of books devoted to modern economic thought and mostly focused on the Western neoclassical mainstream, the advantage of Bockman’s book is that he employs economic literature from socialist countries including the Soviet Union. The book also has high practical value as it extends its discussion to reform experience in two countries – Hungary and Yugoslavia. By closely studying these experiences, Bockman shows that Yugoslav and Hungarian reformers criticized both Soviet state socialism and American free-market capitalism and invented a model which could be referred to as decentralized market socialism.
Characterizing countries as ‘great powers’ or ‘superpowers’ is deeply rooted in the contemporary socio-political discourse and public consciousness. The fundamental public good a superpower provides is its preventive character, however estimating the benefits of this type of good is complicated. This article develops an approach to measuring the public cost of superpower status as a specific type of public good. It is based on an experimental solution to the classical budgetary dilemma, in which the additional cost of maintaining superpower status is weighted against two alternatives – ‘economic’ (i.e. investment in public well-being) and ‘humanitarian’ (e.g. investment in health provisions). Two types of experimental situations are tested: 1) a short-term program with a ‘soft’ model of a superpower (a moderate program maintaining national sovereignty in international relations) and 2) a long-term program with a ‘hard’ model of a superpower (i.e. an enforced program of total military parity with the West). The findings suggest that society has a bipolar world outlook with a large share of the public supporting an understanding of the state’s power either as ‘external’ (centered on gaining an international force) or ‘internal’ (centered on economic and humanitarian wellbeing of citizens). Depending on the type of experimental situation the additional strengthening of superpower status was unconditionally supported by 32–40% of respondents. Conditional support (i.e. on one of the economic or humanitarian programs) was expressed by 40–49%. On average, the upper limit of the acceptable cost of additional strengthening of the superpower was estimated at 1 million rubles per capita (for economic programs), and 1000 saved lives (for humanitarian programs). For the economic alternative this translates into a cost of 3–10% of GDP (depending on the type of experimental situation). For the humanitarian alternative, approval can be granted by investing in medical centers with an efficiency of about 1000 saved lives per year. Finally, the study revealed that support for different types of superpower programs is conditioned by a number of social and demographic characteristics. Male and older age respondents are more likely to support superpower ambitions. Professionals are more likely to support the ‘soft’ versions of the superpower, and higher income groups tend to prefer the ‘harder’ version.
In 2012, only 7% of Russians of working age and non-retired were confident that the size of their state pension will be sufficient for maintaining the normal life during their pension period, another 26% were not confident, but hoped this will be the case. The percentage of people which were more or less confident that they the size of their state pension will be sufficient, in 2012 reached a maximum during the period of observation (2005-2012). In order to compensate the projected shortfall of income, half of Russians of working age (49%) expect to continue working. The closer was the retirement age, the higher the percentage of those who thought about continuing working in retirement, this pattern is more common among the most affluent groups, and residents of megacities. The percentage of those who plan to continue working after retirement has increased by 6 percentage points since 2011. Retirement savings as a method of accumulating funds to be spent in retirement, were less popular: in 2012, only 11% of Russians of working age expected to live on their personal savings or non-state pensions during their retirement. Since 2005, the occurrence of retirement savings has increased, but they are still much less popular than strategies to earn money from market employment. And people's expectations are justified: in 2005-2012 the proportion of working pensioners increased from 10% to 32%, with a decrease from 13% to 1% in the proportion of pensioners who used self-provision. Savings or income from the private pension system used no more than 1% of pensioners. Just as many pensioners received income from their real estate.
Awareness of the fact that employees may make voluntary contributions from their salaries to the private pension fund in order to receive an additional private pension is quite high: in 2009, 49% of the employees knew about it, and in 2012 the number has increased up to 63%. However, the proportion of those who make voluntary contributions to a pension has not increased during 2009-2012 and remains at the level of 5% of Russians. The two main reasons for not using services of private pension funds were: the lack of trust to the private pension funds (54% in 2012) and the lack of money for such investments (32% in 2012).
Awareness of the program state co-financing of pensions is also high: in 2009 70% of the respondents knew about this program, and only one in four respondents heard about the program the first time during the survey, in 2012 the level of awareness has increased up to 81% of all respondents. Russians are not only aware about the program, but also evaluate it positively. Although in the past three years the attitude to the program somewhat deteriorated. The situation with the intentions to take part in this program and to make a contribution to their future retirement is much worse: in 2009 only 6% of people who were eligible to participate in this program participated or were ready to take this step. During 2010-2012 this figure has not increased.
Numerous economic, sociological and psychological studies show that job loss leads to the major decline of social position measured by various indicators like income level, subjective well-being, life chances, job-search abilities. Job loss also leads to the serious downfall of subjective social status. However the connection between job loss and subjective social status dynamics remains to be insufficiently investigated. Thus little is actually known about the differences in perceptions of social position decline that come as a result of occupation-specific characteristics of previous employment. Given the considerable heterogeneity of employment itself, the effect of previous occupation membership on subjective social status dynamics in case of job loss may differ considerably. So the question occurs: for which occupational groups job loss is more painful in terms of subjective social status decline? Do unemployment transition and labour market exit differ in terms of its consequences for subjective social status decline for various occupational groups? Present study was conducted on the basis of the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey - Higher School of Economics (RLMS-HSE) for 2000-2012 and focuses on the role of previous occupation engagement on the dynamics of subjective social status of the unemployed and out of labour force individuals. Empirical stage of analysis was focused on the estimations of panel regression models with fixed effects. Results presented clarify the social penalty of job loss for various occupations on the Russian labour market and position of occupational groups in a modern Russian society.
This article presents estimates of the level of participation of Russians in adult vocational training, as well as the educational efficiency in terms of employees’ private returns on education in the light of the post-industrial modernization of the Russian education. Speсial attention is paid to changes which have occurred in this sphere under the influence of the financial crisis and the subsequent stagnation of the Russian economy (2008–2013), compared to the recovery period of economic growth in the 2000s. Our research is based on data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS).
Our findings confirm that the earnings of those who participated in adult vocational training initially grew faster than the earnings of those who did not. The returns on adult education were moderately and negatively affected by the crisis and the stagnation of the Russian economy. This is also revealed in the prolonged decrease of participation in adult vocational training and the growing uncertainty of its outcomes. These findings are discussed in contrast to the results found in the literature.
In discussing our findings we draw attention to the minor role played by the corporate sector in financing adult vocational training in modern Russia, compared with Russia’s late Soviet period and with the situation in developed countries. To explain this phenomenon we employ theoretical models by Becker, and Acemoglu and Pischke who explain the distribution of investment in general and specific parts of human capital by specific labour market configurations (e.g. state regulation of employment and skill premiums, level of inter-firm mobility). We conclude that adult vocational training in Russia features both positive and negative trends, and emphasize the constraints which limit the successful post-industrial educational modernization in Russia.