nep-tra New Economics Papers
on Transition Economics
Issue of 2022‒01‒03
seven papers chosen by
Maksym Obrizan
Kyiv School of Economics

  1. The Elasticity of Electricity Demand and Carbon Emissions Reductions in the Residential Sector: Evidence from a Tariff Shift in Russia By Salim Turdaliev
  2. Human Capital and Industrialization: German Settlers in Late Imperial Russia By Viktor Malein
  3. Framing The Memory Of The Recent Past: The Competing Narratives Of The Constitutional Crisis Of 1993 By Olga Yu. Malinova
  4. Environmental Regulation and Labour Demand among Vietnamese SMEs By Matthew Sharp
  5. Public opinion of a government-enabled technology, by the example of Internet voting: survey evidence from Russia By Valeria Babayan; Israel Marques II; Michael Mironyuk; Aleksei Turobov
  6. Privacy Versus Security In Trying Times: Evidence From Russian Public Opinion By Kirill Chmel; Israel Marques II; Michael Mironyuk; Dina Rosenberg; Aleksei Turobov
  7. Shifting Punishment on Minorities: Experimental Evidence of Scapegoating By Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; TomᚠŽelinskı

  1. By: Salim Turdaliev (Institute of Economic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
    Abstract: In this paper, I estimate the price elasticity of residential electricity demand using household-level panel data for Russia. The study takes advantage of the variation in tariffs across regions and over time, as well as the introduction of increasing block rate (IBR) tariff schemes in a number of regions. I show that in those regions consumers appear to be aware of the block cut-offs, even though the latter are household and dwelling-specific, to the point that there are a total of 35 different tier cut-offs. Based on these results, I estimate the price elasticity of electricity demand to be around -0.09. I also predict the associated changes in electricity consumption, CO2 emissions, and revenues if similar IBR policies are implemented countrywide.
    Keywords: residential electricity demand, transition economy, natural experiment, increasing block rates, attentiveness, CO2 emissions
    JEL: Q41 Q48 L98 L94
    Date: 2021–12
  2. By: Viktor Malein (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: Between 1890 and 1913, Russian Empire experienced a rapid transition to an industrial economy, catching up with Western countries. Using accidental elements in German settlement locations in Russia 1763-1861, the paper estimates the effects of the more educated Germans in Russia’s industrial transition in 1890-1913. I demonstrate that German settlers had significant external benefits in their regions through improved schooling infrastructure and increased literacy among the local population. Educational benefits translated into a higher share of industrial occupations, per-capita local expenditures and urbanization by 1897. I also find a positive impact of education on productivity, mainly in industries that experienced technological transformation and had higher human capital requirements. Furthermore, panel estimates reveal that German areas experienced a higher industrial growth only after 1890 with the adaption of more progressive technologies. Finally, I find no evidence supporting alternative explanations of the German impact: increased agricultural productivity, lower exposure to serfdom, demographic transition or changes in landownership structure.
    Keywords: Human capital, Russian economic history, Industrialization
    JEL: N14 I25 O47
    Date: 2021–12
  3. By: Olga Yu. Malinova (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: The article presents some results of a study of framing the collective memory about “the 1990s” in Russian political discourse. It is devoted to the most dramatic event of the post-Soviet transition in Russia – the political crisis of 1993 that led to adoption of the Constitution that formally functions till now. The author analyzes constructing the conflicting interpretations of the crisis by studying mass media publications in the post-Yeltsin period. To reveal the evolution of competing public narratives, the article focuses on three round figures anniversaries of the events, in 2003, 2013 and 2018, that reflect different stages of Russia’s political development. It demonstrates the significant change in the official discourse after Vladimir Putin’s coming to the presidential office. The narratives about the victory of reformers over counter-reformers and pre-emptive violence aimed to stop a civil war, that were used by Yeltsin, dropped off to be substituted by the story about the Constitution as a historical choice of the Russian people. Putin tended to remember about the 1993 crisis to emphasize “the stability” that was considered the main achievement of his rule. The narratives articulated by the Communists and other successors of the memory of the White House defenders did not change much over time. The author explains it by noting that, in these discourses, the events of 1993 took the shape of the “myth of origin” of Putin’s political regime. On the contrary, the discourse of the Liberals evolved, as, by the 2010s, the apologetic interpretations typical for 2003 gave a way for the critical ones. The tendency for bridging between the narratives about the consequences (though not the reasons) of the crises articulated by the Communists and the Liberals became visible in the recent period. However, it does not prevent the symbolic conflict between them that plays a decisive role in constructing their political identities.
    Keywords: Political uses of the part, collective memory, political narratives, the political crisis of 1993 in Russia, Constitution of Russian Federation, official political discourse, the Communists, the Liberals.
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Matthew Sharp
    Abstract: The effects of environmental regulation on labour demand has received significant attention, though research has almost entirely been conducted in developed countries. The aggressive development strategy pursued by Vietnam, through reforms such as the Doi Moi, has been associated with poor environmental performance. Since 1994, Vietnam has pursued detailed Environmental Plans aimed at reducing emissions and pollution by firms and has introduced numerous laws which have implications for all Vietnamese businesses. This dissertation examines changes in employment resulting from treatment of environmental factors as mandated by regulation among micro, small, and medium manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam, using unbalanced firm-level panel data from the 2011, 2013, and 2015 rounds of the UNU-Wider Vietnam SME survey. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS), two-stage-least squares (2SLS), fixed-effects, and fixed-effects-2SLS models are estimated to recover effects of treatment of environmental factors on labour demand. OLS and fixed-effect models show small positive effects. Once instrumental variables and fixed effects are used to control for endogeneity, results still indicate that there are no large negative effects on employment from treatment of environmental factors. These results are consistent with existing evidence from developed countries that environmental regulation does not lead to large reductions in employment by regulated firms.
    Date: 2021
  5. By: Valeria Babayan (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Israel Marques II (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Michael Mironyuk (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Aleksei Turobov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: What are the determinants of individual-level trust in Internet-based voting in non-democracies? Modern digital and electronic transformations of the electoral process offer citizens new forms of voting, however it is not clear which citizens are prepared to trust these innovations. Existing work on trust in internet-based voting has mainly focused on Western democracies, where well-functioning institutions curb potential abuses. As a consequence, existing perspectives have drawn on work on technology adoption and focused on individual-level cost-benefit analyses and elite framing of these technologies. In non-democracies, however, there are few checks and balances on electoral manipulations that allow the authorities to shape outcomes extra-legally. In such settings, institutional trust in the authorities and beliefs about the ease with which internet-based voting can be abused take on new and greater salience. In this paper, we provide an exploratory analysis aimed at testing whether existing perspectives help explain trust in internet-based voting in electoral non-democracies, as well as whether concerns about abuse also play a role. To test these arguments, we make use of an online survey of over 16,250 respondents in the Russian Federation, a case regarded as archetypical in the literature on electoral non-democracies. Our findings provide important insights into public opinion surrounding novel electoral procedures, generally, and internet-based voting, more specifically, in non-democracies. These insights, in turn, have important implications for our understanding of attitudes towards electoral integrity in non-democracies and the potential for popular constraints on the ability of autocrats to modify electoral procedures to reproduce power
    Keywords: Internet voting, Institutional trust, Risk, Electoral Processes, Public opinion, Technology adoption, online voting, Russia, COVID
    JEL: D8 D72
    Date: 2021
  6. By: Kirill Chmel (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Israel Marques II (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Michael Mironyuk (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Dina Rosenberg (National Research University Higher School of Economics); Aleksei Turobov (National Research University Higher School of Economics)
    Abstract: When are citizens willing to give up civil rights to enable governments to deal with large-scale emergencies in non-democracies? Emergency responses are one of the most fundamental public services governments provide. Digital transformations in government services both create new possibilities for effective emergency measures and greater intrusions on civil liberties. Existing work on public support for emergency responses suggests that individuals accept intrusive measures when they are credibly framed as temporary responses to actual emergencies. Such work has largely focused on democracies, however, where institutions constrain government abuses. On the one hand, individuals in non-democracies may be more skeptical of emergency measures due to lack of competition and opportunities for redress. Institutional trust should therefore play an important role in such settings. On the other hand, skepticism may be tempered by exposure to and fear of emergencies being addressed. We test these arguments using an original vignette experiment that manipulates the type of emergency intrusive measures address (terrorism vs. an epidemic) and their duration to support for them. We embed this experiment on a survey of more than 16,250 respondents across 60 Russian regions. Our findings provide important insights into the logic of responses to public safety threats and public opinion about them in non-democracies.
    Keywords: Civil Liberties, Government Surveillance, Emergency Measures and Powers, Terrorism, COVID, Institutional Trust, Russia
    JEL: D8 D78 I18 H12 P0
    Date: 2021
  7. By: Michal Bauer; Jana Cahlíková; Julie Chytilová; Gérard Roland; TomᚠŽelinskı
    Abstract: This paper provides experimental evidence showing that members of a majority group systematically shift punishment on innocent members of an ethnic minority. We develop a new incentivized task, the Punishing the Scapegoat Game, to measure how injustice affecting a member of one’s own group shapes punishment of an unrelated bystander (“a scapegoat†). We manipulate the ethnic identity of the scapegoats and study interactions between the majority group and the Roma minority in Slovakia. We find that when no harm is done, there is no evidence of discrimination against the ethnic minority. In contrast, when a member of one’s own group is harmed, the punishment †passed†on innocent individuals more than doubles when they are from the minority, as compared to when they are from the dominant group. These results illuminate how individualized tensions can be transformed into a group conflict, dragging minorities into conflicts in a way that is completely unrelated to their behavior.
    Keywords: punishment, minority groups, inter-group conflict, discrimination, scapegoating, lab-in-field experiments
    JEL: C93 D74 D91 J15
    Date: 2021–07

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