nep-cis New Economics Papers
on Confederation of Independent States
Issue of 2017‒12‒11
nine papers chosen by

  1. Religiosity and Life Satisfaction in Russia: Evidence from the Russian Data By Maksym Bryukhanov; Igor Fedotenkov
  2. Becoming an Adult in France, Estonia and Russia By Ekaterina S. Mitrofanova
  3. Training Strategies and Skill Development Amid Weak Institutions: Evidence from Russia By Israel Marques
  4. Big-Data-Augmented Approach to Emerging Technologies Identification: Case of Agriculture and Food Sector By Leonid Gokhberg; Ilya Kuzminov; Pavel Bakhtin; Elena Tochilina; Alexander Chulok; Anton Timofeev; Alina Lavrinenko
  5. Structural change, expanding informality and labour productivity growth in Russia By Voskoboynikov, Ilya B.
  6. Georgia; Fiscal Transparency Evaluation By International Monetary Fund
  7. Determinants of Online Word-of-Mouth: Evidence from Durable Goods Market By Sharapudinov, S.; Zezerova, V.; Storchevoy, M.
  8. Closing the Skills-Jobs Gap: Russia and China Compared By Thomas F. Remington
  9. Estimating male fertility from vital registration data with missing values By Christian Dudel; Sebastian Klüsener

  1. By: Maksym Bryukhanov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Igor Fedotenkov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Does religiosity make you happy? Many studies document positive associations between religiosity and various forms of subjective wellbeing. This is also true for general life satisfaction in normal economic conditions and in the case of economic shocks. However, both life satisfaction and religiosity may be correlated with unobserved individual and household traits or unobserved life shocks which can relate to reverse causality. These facts result in endogeneity and make ordinary least square estimates biased. In our study, we employ two methods to avoid possible endogeneity issues – we use fixed effects and instrumental variable estimations. Using Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (RLMS-HSE) data and different econometric models, we document positive associations between religiosity and life satisfaction. In particular, fixed effect and instrumental variable regressions provide evidence for a positive effect of religiosity.
    Keywords: Life satisfaction, religiosity, RLMS-HSE, endogeneity
    JEL: D10 Z12
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Ekaterina S. Mitrofanova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The aim of this study is to compare the sociodemographic events marking the transition to adulthood in France, Estonia and Russia: first leaving parents, completion of education, first partnership, first marriage and first childbirth. We used the first waves of the Generations and Gender Survey for these three countries and an advanced method – Sequence Analysis. According to the Second Demographic Transition Theory, we expected a convergence in the sequencing, timing and tempo of the occurrence of target events. The results showed the slow convergence of sequences, but not of timing and tempo. Estonia and Russia are still close in the timing of the occurrence of events, but in tempo Estonia and France are more alike. The ages at which people start families in Estonia and Russia have decreased in younger generations in comparison with older ones, despite our expectation that they would increase. For the youngest generation (1970s), the time between leaving parents and becoming a parent is 5-7 years in France, 4-6 years in Estonia and 2-3 years in Russia. The sociodemographic behaviour of Estonians clearly positions them between Europe and Russia. Thus, the comparison of France, Estonia and Russia only partially confirms the Second Demographic Transition Theory
    Keywords: sequence analysis, transition to adulthood, life course, France, Estonia, Russia.
    JEL: J12 J13 N3 P46
    Date: 2017
  3. By: Israel Marques (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: How do firms decide between different strategies for acquiring highly skilled workers? Ronald Coase (1937) famously argued that firms face trade-offs between “making” required inputs within the firm and contracting with outside actors to “buy” them. Similar trade-offs abound in deciding between in-plant training and outsourcing to either public or private, third parties. Existing theory on firms’ training strategies is premised on the ability of firms to solve a fundamental commitment problem, which retards cooperation between firms and other actors. Only with a strong civil society – employers’ associations and labor unions –or free, transparent and efficient market mechanisms is cooperation possible. Contemporary Russia presents a puzzle to this work. On the one hand, firms increasingly make costly co-investments with state-run schools and outsource training to private third-parties. On the other hand, civil society and judicial institutions are weak in Russia, making it difficult for firms to punish counterparties, at the same time that its markets have failed to fully make the transition to free and transparent capitalism. This paper argues that absent strong civil society and free, transparent markets, firms can overcome commitment problems and work with third-parties so long as their regional governments have strong state capacity and are politically accountable. The former assures firms that central, regional authorities can monitor school officials and private-third parties to ensure agreements are honored, while the latter creates incentives for regional authorities to do so. These theories are tested on original survey data covering 690 firms in 12 Russian regions
    Keywords: Skill Development, Human Capital, Credible Commitment, Institutional Quality, Firms, Training strategies, Russia
    JEL: D22 J24 I25 L21 L23
    Date: 2017
  4. By: Leonid Gokhberg (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Ilya Kuzminov (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Pavel Bakhtin (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Elena Tochilina (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Alexander Chulok (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Anton Timofeev (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Alina Lavrinenko (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The paper discloses a new approach to emerging technologies identification, which strongly relies on capacity of big data analysis, namely text mining augmented by syntactic analysis techniques. It discusses the wide context of the task of identifying emerging technologies in a systemic and timely manner, including its place in the methodology of foresight and future-oriented technology analysis, its use in horizon scanning exercises, as well as its relation to the field of technology landscape mapping and tech mining. The concepts of technology, emerging technology, disruptive technology and other related terms are assessed from the semantic point of view. Existing approaches to technology identification and technology landscape mapping (in wide sense, including entity linking and ontology-building for the purposes of effective STI policy) are discussed, and shortcomings of currently available studies on emerging technologies in agriculture and food sector (A&F) are analyzed. The opportunities of the new big-data-augmented methodology are shown in comparison to existing results, both globally and in Russia. As one of the practical results of the study, the integrated ontology of currently emerging technologies in A&F sector is introduced. The directions and possible criteria of further enhancement and refinement of proposed methodology are contemplated, with special attention to use of bigger volumes of data, machine learning and ontology-mining / entity linking techniques for the maximum possible automation of the analytical work in the discussed field. The practical implication of the new approach in terms of its effectiveness and efficiency for evidence-based STI policy and corporate strategic planning are shortly summed up as well
    Keywords: Emerging technologies, foresight, strategic planning, STI policy, Russian Federation, agriculture, food sector, text mining, tech mining, STI landscape mapping, horizon scanning
    JEL: O1 O3
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Voskoboynikov, Ilya B.
    Abstract: Intensive growth, structural change and expanding informality has characterized many developing and emerging economies in recent decades. Yet most empirical investigations into the relationship between structural change and productivity growth overlook informality. This paper includes the informal sector in an analysis of the effects of structural changes in the Russian economy on aggre-gate labour productivity growth. Using a newly developed dataset for 34 industries covering the period 1995–2012 and applying three alternative approaches, aggregate labour productivity growth is decomposed into intra-industry and inter-industry contributions. All three approaches show that the overall contribution of structural change is growth-enhancing, significant and attenuating over time. Labour reallocation from the formal sector to the informal sector tends to reduce growth through the extension of informal activities with low productivity levels. Sectoral labour reallocation effects are found to be highly sensitive to the methods applied.
    JEL: O11 O17 C82 N14
    Date: 2017–11–29
  6. By: International Monetary Fund
    Abstract: Georgia has taken important steps to enhance its fiscal transparency practices over the past decade. Fiscal reports have become more comprehensive, with the development of a central government balance sheet and income statement. Fiscal forecasts and budgets have become more forward looking and policy oriented, with the introduction of a four-year medium-term budget framework (MTBF), formal fiscal objectives, and a program budget classification. In addition, fiscal risk disclosure and analysis have improved dramatically, with the publication of a detailed statement on fiscal risks. As a result of the improvements in fiscal transparency practices, Georgia’s Open Budget Index score has improved substantially, from 34 to 66 between 2006 and 2015, with Georgia now being ranked 16 out of the 102 countries surveyed.
    Keywords: Georgia;Middle East;
    Date: 2017–09–27
  7. By: Sharapudinov, S.; Zezerova, V.; Storchevoy, M.
    Abstract: Online reviews became one of the most effective tools that influence consumer behavior and level of sales. In this paper we consider determinants of online review rating. The study is based on more than three thousand online reviews from Russian consumers of durable goods (electronics and home appliances). It was found that there is a significant difference in the level of influence between new and old reviews. Moreover, the higher the total numbers of reviews available, the higher the number of reviews taken into account by a particular consumer. Another finding is that both average online rank and price of a product are positively correlated with variance of reviews on that product. Based on the differences in the effectiveness of information transmission about quality of products, products were divided into two categories: "experience" products and "search" products. At the last stage, we provide an econometric model that allows to explain not only dynamic but also the direction of consumers’ rank of a product.
    Keywords: word-of-mouth marketing, online word-of-mouth, online reviews, search and experience products, user behavior,
    Date: 2017
  8. By: Thomas F. Remington (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: Around the world employers complain of shortages of skilled workers. Meantime, educational and training institutions often function as “bridges to nowhere.” This has implications for both social and economic development. When VET systems are ineffective, they either turn out individuals with skills that are poorly matched to the demands of the labor market, or replicate existing social divisions between rich and poor. Economic inequality, both cross-sectional and spatial, undermines the ability of educational and skill-forming institutions to equalize opportunities for young people to acquire skills usable in the labor market. This bifurcates society between a low-wage, low-skill, often informal employment sector, and a higher-skill, higher-wage sector. This problem has grown more acute everywhere as a result of automation and globalization. For this reason, experts and policy-makers around the world have called for upgrading the quality and effectiveness of vocational education and training (VET), in particular by encouraging closer cooperation between employers and schools. They seek to adapt elements of the German and other continental systems where apprenticeships are the most common pathway leading from school to jobs. Building firm-school partnerships requires overcoming two sets of collective action dilemmas, however: coordinating the interests of firms around setting professional standards and curricular goals, and establishing cooperation between employers and schools. The paper argues that cooperative arrangements vary along two dimensions: the “breadth” of collaboration by schools and firms, i.e. how many firms and schools pool their efforts to upgrade VET; and the “depth” of commitment, that is, how costly is the joint commitment by firms and schools to VET. The evidence suggests that there is typically a trade-off between deepening and broadening. The paper compares China and Russia --two large, relatively decentralized countries with different economic systems—with respect to current efforts to close the gap between skills and jobs. It draws conclusions about the nature of the circumstances under which reforms are likely to result in greater deepening or broadening of cooperation. The paper argues that the formation of effective institutions for resolving collective dilemmas result from government initiatives mobilizing existing capacities to respond to challenges in the external environment
    Keywords: Vocational Education and Training (VET), Public-Private Partnerships, skills-jobs gap, China, Russia
    JEL: I28 I25 J24
    Date: 2017
  9. By: Christian Dudel (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany); Sebastian Klüsener (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: Comparative perspectives on male fertility are still rare, in part because vital registration data often do not include paternal age information for a substantial number of births. We compare two imputation approaches that attempt to estimate male age-specific fertility rates and related measures for data in which the paternal age information is missing for a non-negligible number of cases. Taking births with paternal age information as a reference, the first approach uses the unconditional paternal age distribution, while the second approach considers the paternal age distribution conditional on the maternal age. To assess the performance of these two methods, we conduct simulations that mimic vital registration data for Sweden, the U.S., Spain, and Estonia. In these simulations, we vary the overall proportion and the age selectivity of missing values. We find that the conditional approach outperforms the unconditional approach in the majority of simulations, and should therefore generally be preferred.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2017–11

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