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Regular version of the site
Important announcements 2


Outcome of the April Workshop

LCSR organized an 2nd international research workshop in Saint Petersburg on April 23-27, 2011.

The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research organized an 2nd international research workshop in Saint Petersburg on April 23-27, 2011. The event took place in Oktyabr’skaya Hotel in the historical center of Saint Petersburg.

The workshop brought together researchers from different cities of Russia and the CIS, as well as prominent Western scholars from Sweden, Germany, the United States and Italy. The scientific advisor of the Lab Ronald Inglehart, professor of the University of Michigan and the winner of Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science in 2011 (shared with Pippa Norris) was heading the seminar. The leading scholars of the Laboratory also participated in the seminar, among them were Christian Welzel (Professor of University Leufana, Germany), Eduard Ponarin, (HSE - St. Petersburg, Russia) and Daniel Alexandrov (HSE, St. Petersburg, Russia).

Different topics were included in program of workshop. There were sections on religiosity and family behaviour, social capital, trust, tolerance, migration, political subjects, gender attitudes, well-being, values and so on.

Swedish sociologist Peter Hedström, the new director of the Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm was invited to give the key lecture. His speech was about the new and rapidly developing field of sociological studies - analytical sociology. Hedström was one of the founders of this sociological methodology and his presentation gave an excellent opportunity for all participants to learn more about that promising approach.

There were also three more guest lecturers. Agda Bi Puranen, prominent Swedish sociologist from the Institute for Future Studies, told about sociological research in urban planning. She argued that values and preferences of citizens matter a lot for city planning and illustrated her thesis by some examples from Russian experience and put it in cross-national context.

Alexey Belyanin, the head of the Laboratory for Experimental and Behavioral Economics at HSE, told about experimental research on cooperation and competition in public goods games. Primarily, he focused on the problem of seemingly irrational punishment in such games. His lecture was very interesting and even provocative for other members of laboratory cause of new insight which experimental studies could give for comparative social research.

A title of the lecture of David Sumpter from Uppsala University was ”Detecting Transitions of Social Data”. The key question of David’s lecture is how the transition of values can be found in the World Value Survey data. Professor Sumpter assumes that transition can be caused by demographic trend. It happens when the priorities in the society move from having lots of children to having lots of money. Also, improvements in education and health in conjunction with economic growth and reduction of fertility can cause the transition.

Seven final reports on their individual projects were presented by researchers and associate researchers of the LCSR at the workshop. Further brief results of each of them are described.

Evgenia Bystrov’s project was devoted to traditional family behavior in the perspective of human empowerment. The results of seemingly unrelated regression analysis show that although the relations between age at marriage and the levels of human empowerment are reciprocal, they are asymmetrical. Thus, it is concluded that emancipative values change has causal effect on marital postponement in advanced societies.

Andrey Shcherbak’s study “Does Culture Matter? The Impact of Tolerance on Economic Modernization in a Comparative Perspective” revealed two distinct patterns of modernization concerning tolerance: A “tolerant model” focuses on innovation and strong institutions; a “catching-up model” focuses on investment, lower level of tolerance, and weak political institutions.

Kirill Zhirkov explored issue of nature and causes of the phenomenon of anti-Americanism on the societal level. The results revealed the existence of both cultural and political anti-Americanism. The former concerns negative attitudes to the U.S. and American culture, while the latter is related to criticism of American foreign policy and economic practices. The two forms also differ in their relationships to modernization: cultural anti-Americanism is more widespread in culturally traditionalist societies, whereas political anti-Americanism prevails in culturally modernized ones.

In a study on what makes people feel free Natalia Firsova used multi-level modeling to examine predictors of the subjective sense of freedom both at the individual level and at the country level, as well as the between-level interaction effects. It has been established that relationship between post-materialist priorities and the subjective sense of freedom differ depending on the degree of economic development of the country. In more affluent countries subjective freedom is positively associated with post-materialist priorities, while in less affluent countries this association is negative.

The main finding of study of the effect of values on educational performance gap between natives and migrants conducted by Evgeniy Varshaver is that family conditions aggregated on the level of a diaspora have the biggest explanatory power in predicting the educational gap for migrant children in 14 countries. Also, Gini Index is the most important condition of a country of test.

Alexander Kustov in his research created and compared two theories of cosmopolitanism: utilitarian theory based on rational choice principles and emancipative theory, which argues for the impact of rational and self-expression values. Then he used multi-level analysis to check them. One of the interesting findings of the project is that the effect of value dimensions is especially high when they go together.

Alexey Zakharov investigated economic, institutional, and cultural factors that determine how much time political parties spend discussing economic issues, mainly concerning the redistribution of wealth and the production of public goods, and non-economic issues, concerning matters such as morality and human empowerment. He found out that country’s level of economic development does matter in this respect but only for the countries with high levels of interpersonal trust.

Also some new proposals were introduced at the workshop. These projects concern about problems of impact of ethnic relations on migration (Boris Sokolov), gender attitudes in the labour market (Natalia Soboleva), and different aspects of well-being (Francesco Sarracino, Ekaterina Lytkina , and Alexey Belyanin). Yegor Lazarev presented interesting results of his study of impact of forest fires on legitimacy of Russian political regime. In sum, six new projects will be conducted under auspices of LCSR the next year.

A number of research projects are in progress at LCSR now. 18 researchers presented their progress reports during the workshop. Most of them achieved important results and, maintained by financial support of the Laboratory, successfully reported them on many prestigious conferences, workshops and summer schools. Their individual work and the activities of the Laboratory in general are gaining position in the international scientific community.

To sum up, the workshop could be considered as very successful. Interesting and high qualitative studies and talented people create splendid intellectual climate that attracts new promising scientists every time. It is becoming a good tradition to gather leading scholars from different countries to discuss their own projects as well as new trends in development of the discipline at the LCSR workshops. It is also becoming a significant event in Russian academic life: many people outside the Laboratory visited the event. And we hope that interest to our research will grow in future.

The next LCSR workshop will take place in November at Moscow. It should be noted that LCSR is always opened for collaboration. Every social scholar can submit her/his project during Laboratory’s call for new proposals.

By Boris Sokolov

General Information

Annotations of Final Reports

Annotations of Lectures

UpList of Participant-Reporters

  1. Evgenia Bystrov (Jacobs University Bremen), Traditional Family Behavior from the Human Empowerment Perspective,  Final Report
  2. Anna Almakaeva (Samara State University, Samara), Out-Group Trust and Its Determinants: The Case of In-Group Trust
  3. Olga Gryaznova (IS RAS, Moscow), Factors Affecting Welfare Attitudes in Europe: Existential Security and Values
  4. Anna Nemirovskaya (Siberian Federal University, Krasnoyarsk), Social Tolerance under Harsh Conditions
  5. Andrey Shcherbak (LCSR HSE, St.Petersburg), Does Culture Matter? The Impact of Tolerance on Economic Modernizationin Comparative Perspective,  Final Report
  6. Veronica Kostenko (LCSR HSE, St. Petersburg ), Values of Migrants and Local Population in Europe: Comparative Study
  7. Maria Ravlik (LCSR HSE, St. Petersburg ), Factors of International Migration: Contemporary Trends
  8. Boris Sokolov (LCSR, St. Petersburg), Impact of ethnic diversity on migration in the North-Caucasus,   New Proposal
  9. Kirill Zhirkov (European University at St. Petersburg), Cultural and Political Anti-Americanism and Their Relationships to Modernization: A Country-Level Analysis Final Report
  10. Christopher Swader (HSE, Moscow) and Leonid Kosals (HSE, Moscow), Informal Relationships and Modernization in Transformation Countries and Beyond
  11. Kristina Puzarina (University of Manheim),  Public Perceptions of Human Rights Conditions: a Values-Based Approach Using a Multi-level Method of Estimation
  12. Marharyta Fabrykant (Belarusian State University, Minsk), Nationalism in 1995-2005: Global Trends and Regional Patterns of Modernization
  13. Nadezhda Shilova (HSE, Moscow), Xenophobia in the Lab
  14. Alexander Kustov (University of Manheim, Germany) , Why Are Some People More Cosmopolitan than Others: Insights from Political Economy and Modernization Theory,  Final Report
  15. Svitlana Khutka (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kiev), Subjective Well-Being and Human Agency: Transition Countries Compared to the ‘Non-Transition’ Countries
  16. Tatiana Karabchuk (LCSR HSE, Moscow), Career-Fertility Combinations among Women and Their Effect on Life Satisfaction (CIS Countries Comparing to Europe)
  17. Natalia Soboleva (LCSR, Moscow), Gender Attitudes in the World of Work: Cross-Cultural Comparison,   New Proposal
  18. Julia Zelikova (LCSR HSE, St. Petersburg),  Successful Ageing: Subjective Well-Being in Late Life Period
  19. Vladimir Kozlov (HSE, Moscow), Older Persons’ Social Status within the “Third Age” Theory (the maindeterminants)
  20. Yegor Lazarev (LCSR, St. Petersburg), Trial by Fire: The Impact of Natural Disaster on Attitudes toward the Government in Rural Russia  New Proposal
  21. Margarita Zavadskaya (European University at Saint-Petersburg), When Do Elections Support Autocracy? The Incumbent Strategies, Political Competition and Authoritarian Regime Survival
  22. Alexey Bessudnov (HSE, Moscow), Regional Variation in Corruption in Russia: a Multilevel Study
  23. Maria Kravtsova (HSE, Moscow), Can Corruption Constrain Itself?
  24. Alexei Zakharov (LCSR HSE, Moscow), The Importance of Economic Issues in Politics: A Cross-Country Analysis,  Final Report
  25. Natalia Firsova (HSE, Moscow), What Makes People Feel Free: Subjective Freedom in Comparative Perspective?  Final Report
  26. Francesco Sarracino (University of Siena, Italy), Economic Growth, Social Capital and Well-Being: New Lessons from BRICS Countries?   New Proposal
  27. Ekaterina Lytkina (LCSR, Moscow), Anomie and Anomia: a Possible Approach towards the Measurement of Social Well-Being and Deviation
  28. Alexei Belyanin (ICEF HSE, Moscow), Clinical Conditions and Perceived Well-Being of the Patients Suffering from Chronic Diseases: An Application to Multiple Sclerosis,   New Proposal
  29. Evgeni Varshaver (LCSR HSE, Moscow), Values as a Predictor of Educational Performance Gap between Natives and Migrants in 14 Countries,  Final Report
  30. Anna Shirokanova (Belarus State University, Minsk), Individualization and Social Solidarity in post-Communist Europe

UpAnnotations of Final Reports

Traditional Family Behaviour from the Human Empowerment Perspective

Evgenia Bystrov, Jacobs University Bremen | Presentation

On 23rd April, 2012, Evgenia Bystrov opened the first day of LCSR Workshop reporting on the final results of her research project. Evgenia's paper is now close to publication, so she is one of eight researchers of the Lab who are finishing their projects this April.

The objective of Evgenia's research was to find causalities between economic development, value changes and shift in family behavior. Searching for causalities is quite a tricky thing to do in social sciences. First of all, according to World Marriage Data (United Nations 2009), in the time period of fifteen years, average age for getting married has risen in all countries in the sample. The vast majority of countries has also experienced the rise in emancipative values, and rise in HDI (Human Development Index). These changes in behavior, values and development are not uniform, however, and neither they are equal. Tertiary education rates of women and GNI have also increased in majority of countries in this time period. The robustness of these results has been demonstrated in various SUR (Seemingly Unrelated Regression) models, controlling for different factors. The results of this study support the Second Transition Theory.

One of Evgenia's main results is that postponement of marriage has been shown to be predominantly influenced by the rise of emancipative values controlled for other important factors, such as economic prosperity and high levels of education for women across the globe. It has been proven that drift towards emancipative values influences rising age of marriage but not vice versa. These results were discovered by using Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR), where the coefficients are estimated simultaneously. Emancipative values and HDI explain 68% of variance in age of marriage across 49 countries.

Evgenia presented her final results, and also mentioned some limitations for her research, and pointed out further directions of her survey. Among the limitations of her study was usage of aggregate data that doesn't allow us to directly infer to individual behavior, according to ecological fallacy. Moreover, as the question under Evgenia's study refers to endogenous system, the analysis becomes mostly a question of stronger or weaker effects rather than of causality.

Considering further directions of research within this topic, Evgenia thought of finding individual level predictors using panel data. She is interested in comparing individual and country level. At the same time, another interesting direction is searching for connection between values and marriage postponement regarding childbearing.

Finally, discussants gave their comments to author's study and her preparing publication. Thus, Christopher Swader admitted that the work is quite polished and almost ready to be submitted for publication. The main observation was that in this work the institutional aspect of emancipative values was not covered. Some other participants also mentioned that study missed this aspect. Nevertheless, Evgenia argued that it was quite hard to collect and cover the institutional diversity in the world. She thinks that it can be the issue of another separate study. Eduard Ponarin gave some useful advice on how to simplify and make presentation more understandable. Also, Ronald Inglehart highly evaluated the project of Evgenia Bystrov.

Finally, moderators, discussants and participants of the workshop gave comments and asked some questions.

Does Culture Matter? The Impact of Tolerance on Economic Modernization in Comparative Perspective

Andrey Shcherbak, LCSR HSE, St.Petersburg |  Presentation

Andrey Shcherbak, LCSR research fellow, presented his final report of his project  “Does Culture Matter? The Impact of Tolerance on Economic Modernization in Comparative Perspective”. Andrey has been working on this topiс for a long time, and his work is already polished and ready for submission to peer-reviewed journal. He investigates causality between tolerance and modernization in his study. The objective of the project is how innovation development caused with cultural change.

At first the author focused on theoretical framework of the project. He uses Inglehart and Welzel’s theory of cultural modernization and “creative class” concept by Florida.

The main data resources for the project are the World Values Survey, World Development Indicators from the World Bank and the Worldwide Governance Indicators. 55 countries were included into the sample.

The author concludes that tolerance does have a significant impact on modernization, with gender equality being the most predictive factor and proving to be important in three groups of compared models (Index of Modernization, Innovation Index, and Investment Index).  Tolerant attitudes towards homosexuality and decrease of xenophobia play less significant role.

The other important result is revealing distinction of two patterns of modernization. The author called these two patterns “tolerant model” and “catching-up model”. The first model focuses on innovation, high levels of tolerance, and strong institutions, while the second includes investment,  lower-level of tolerance, and weak political institutions. Author also mentioned possible practical applications of this result for policy makers.

After presentation some question and comments about variables and indexes were asked. The causality between tolerance and modernization was mentioned as the most important finding of the project.

Also several recommendations about the combination of theoretical prospective and computation were given. New terms and indices that were constructed in this research are very important and have to be described more thoroughly.

There was a discussion about steps which have to be made to publish this report in the peer-reviewed journal to meet the requirements.

Cultural and Political Anti-Americanism and Their Relationships to Modernization: A Country-Level Analysis

Kirill Zhirkov, European University at St.Petersburg | Presentation

This study analyzes nature and reasons of anti-Americanism, which is the highly-debated issue nowadays, on societal level. Some authors regard the phenomenon of anti-Americanism as a contemporary form of an old movement against modernization and culture of the West, so one of the aims of this research is to check this point. The author used empirical data from the World Values Survey and the dataset collected in 2007 by Pew Research Center (a part of Pew Global Attitudes Project), the sample includes 38 countries.

Factor and regression models helped to reveal two forms of anti-American sentiment (cultural and political) and their relation to modernization. The first one show negative attitudes towards USA, Americans as people and American culture, and this type is widespread in traditional societies. The second one implies critics towards American foreign policy, economic practices and their global spread; this type of anti-Americanism prevails in culturally modernized countries. The analysis showed that in Muslim societies the level of anti-Americans is higher than among societies with other religions. But this fact should be explained by their level of modernization, by the gap between Muslim and Western values and attitudes, but not by the characteristics of Islam itself. One more interesting result is the quadratic relationship between country’s wealth and cultural anti-Americanism. In other words, high level of GDP per capita is associated with high level of cultural anti-Americanism. This is considered as one of possible ways of further research by the author.

There were some comments about this study from the audience. One of the questions was about the type and level of anti-Americanism in Russia. Kirill answered that Russian case is absolutely middle ground; it is even below the regression line. It means that anti-Americanism in Russia is rather small, even smaller than it was predicted in the model. Christian Welzel advised to widen a sample and to analyze the influence of globalization on anti-Americanism. Also there was the comment about historical influence, which seems to be important.

Why Are Some People More Cosmopolitan than Others: Insights from Political Economy and Modernization Theory

Alexander Kustov, University of Manheim,Germany |   Presentation 

Alexander Kustov, LCSR associated researcher and master student at the University of Manheim, presented his final report of the project “Why Are Some People More Cosmopolitan than Others: Insights from Political Economy and Modernization Theory”. Alexander started to work on this topic last autumn, now his paper is almost finished. His study examines the empirical manifestations of cosmopolitanism. Many current surveys show that large amounts of people have a feeling of world citizenship and attitudes that exceed concern about the nation-state which is still needed to be explained. There are not so many studies of cosmopolitanism, but the existing ones show that cosmopolitan attitudes and identities vary much across the countries. Scholars revealed that some variation on individual level could be attributed to socioeconomic characteristics and countries’ differences. It is also important that cosmopolitanism highly correlates with the exposure to globalization. However, the question of why people could become more cosmopolitan given the absence of any global polity has not been clearly answered yet.

At first the author described existing empirical studies on the topic of the cosmopolitanism. This project tries to find new universal explanation of this phenomenon.

The main data resources for the project are the last fifth wave of the World Values Survey (2005-2008) which is the best empirical material to investigate empirical manifestations of cosmopolitanism, 44 countries were included into the sample.

The author gave a new operationalization of the phenomenon and introduced two distinct models: the utilitarian, which explores winners and losers of globalization, and the emancipation, which argues on the impact of rational and self-expression values. Alexander uses multilevel analysis to create models.

Project confirms the counterintuitive implication of Stolper–Samuelson theorem that more educated people are more cosmopolitan in rich societies and less cosmopolitan in poor societies and the other way round. The other important result of the work is that the effect of value dimensions is especially high when they go together.

After the presentation some questions and comments about variables were asked. It was recommended to add income, employment and religiosity into the model. Also several recommendations about the combination of theoretical prospective and computation were given. Theoretical and literature background in the work of Alexander is very well elaborated which was appreciated by the experts. It was recommended to pay more attention to the utilitarian model of the cosmopolitism, because difference between globalization winners and losers is very interesting and this topic is not well described in the literature.

Also the case of African countries regarding cosmopolitism was discussed. It was recommended to publish this paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

The Importance of Economic Issues in Politics: Cross-Country Analysis

Alexey Zakharov, LCSR HSE, Moscow |  Presentation

At the Day 4 of the LCSR workshop Alexey Zakharov, senior research fellow at the Laboratory, presented the final report on his project “The Importance of Economic Issues in Politics: Cross-Country Analysis”.

The researcher investigates economic, institutional, and cultural factors determining how much time political parties spent discussing economic issues, mainly concerning the redistribution of wealth and the production of public goods, and non-economic issues, concerning such issues as morality and human empowerment.

Comparative Manifesto Project data were used by Aleksei to estimate the positions of political parties in two policy dimensions (economic and noneconomic) for 40 countries over the post-Second World  War period. Then Alexey tested the hypothesis whether the salience of the economic issues declines with the country’s level of economic development. Salience was operationalized as the combined weight of leftist and rightist statements in the economic field in the CMP data, averaged over all parties in a given country in given period.

Alexei said that his hypothesis was confirmed, but only for the countries with high levels of interpersonal trust. The effect is robust with respect to the inclusion of country and decade dummies into the regression, and a variety of alternative specifications. Short-term economic shocks are also found to increase the salience of economic issues. The effect of trust and income on the salience of non-economic issues is the reverse of their effect on the salience of economic issues. Finally, analysis of individual-level data from World Values Survey complements the findings.

There were some questions and comments to the presentation. Many of them concerned variables used in the research.  One interesting question was about relations of findings of the research with class positions of respondents. The lecturer answered that he had included Gini Index as a control variable indirectly measuring class stratification in his regression models but it was not significant.

Christian Welzel advised to put more attention on individual-level data in his further research. Nevertheless, he characterized Zakharov’s project as an “excellent work” and recommended to submit it in peer-review journal.

What Makes People Feel Free: Subjective Freedom in Comparative Perspectives

Natalia Firsova, HSE, Moscow | Presentation

On the fourth day of LSCR Regular Workshop, April 26, Natalia Firsova presented the final report on her project dedicated to predictors of subjective freedom. She started her presentation with the picture of a Russian car with the word “Freedom” drawn on the side. Natalia told that this picture taken on one of the anti-governmental manifestations in Moscow inspired her working hypothesis.

First of all, the author illuminated theoretical background that lies behind her project. According to Simmel, the freedom can be explained by the emergence of money economy and, as a consequence, impersonality. Also, theoretical framework of the study was formed by human development theory by Inglehart and Welzel, psychological self-determination theory and others. The main theoretical and operationalizational puzzle was in definition of freedom. Therefore, Natalia used the equivalent for the term “freedom” – the concept of human agency. Human agency (or subjective freedom) is associated both with the characteristics of the individual and the society. Societal characteristics are related to both individual characteristics and subjective freedom.

The dependent variable of Natalia’s research was subjective freedom measured by the European Social Survey in 1999-2004. Materialist and post-materialist indices, indicators of political rights and civil liberties, freedom from government spending index built by Heritage foundation were taken as independent variables for the model. All the models were controlled by marital status, gender, age, household income and education.

Correlation between post-materialist priorities of population and subjective freedom, as moderated by the country well-being, has opposite direction and almost the same magnitude in less and more affluent countries. Country’s prosperity correlates positively with subjective freedom.

Concerning the main finding of the study, it was found out that in more affluent countries post-materialism is positively associated with their subjective sense of freedom. While in the group of less affluent countries, people with stronger post-materialistic priorities tend to feel less free, other things being equal. Also, institutionalized ethics of individual responsibility operationalized as freedom from government spending correlates with subjective freedom; and this correlation is positive. Besides this, country prosperity is positively associated with subjective freedom. Finally, the association between household income and subjective freedom is significant and positive both in countries with moderate and small GDP per capita, but stringer in less affluent countries. Natalia’s project is claimed to bring up an important theoretical contribution to the human empowerment model.

It the end, the discussants commented on Natalia’s project and highlighted several directions for her further research. Christian Welzel suggested finding some proxy variable for ethnical responsibility. Agda Bi Puranen proposed to find some predictors of subjective freedom in WVS data and, if it possible, to construct the same models on regional data. All discussants and commentators highly evaluated the quality of the research and recommended it for publication.

Values as a Predictor of Educational Performance Gap between Natives and Migrants in 14 Countries

Evgeniy Varshaver, LCSR HSE, Moscow |  Presentation

The main goal of this study is to analyze difference in school performance between natives and migrants in 14 countries. The empirical databases are PISA’09 (Program of International Students Assessments) cross-national educational test, which is used for individual and aggregated levels of analysis, and the World Values Survey aggregated on country-level. The object is a diaspora, which is the group of migrants from the same country of origin. This category was constructed by the author according to the dataset. Evgeny selected 14 countries, which can be described as receiving societies. The important condition for formation the diaspora is the sample which includes more than 10 people. Migrants are operationalized as those whose fathers are migrants.

The basic factor that influences school performance and the gap between migrants and natives are the characteristics of the family aggregated on the level of a diaspora. Value difference between migrants’ countries of origin and its cultural region also matter. Two types of values have the biggest explanatory power: traditional versus secular-rational values (Inglehart’s concept) and monumentalism index (Minkov’s concept). In other words, if migrants originate from countries with culture where stability of attitudes prevails, their school results will be better than the academic achievements of the natives. Also those migrant children who were brought up in more secular-rational diasporas are more successful in school. The similar results were found during analyzing cultural and religious dimensions. The author explains such finding by force of the “Confucian dynamism”, which allows the bears who are possessed of Confucian values, to study more successfully. However, this effect doesn’t occur among Islamic or Ex-Communist origin.

There were some comments from the audience. One of the discussants advised to control the observations for interdependence. Another participant noted that we do not exactly know what mechanism leads to monumentalism or Confucianism.

UpAnnotations of Lectures

Punishment Without a Crime: a Tale of Cooperation in Public Goods Games

Alexis Belyanin, ICEF HSE, Moscow |  Presentation

Alexis Belyanin gave a guest lecture on the topic “Punishment Without a Crime: a Tale of Cooperation in Public Goods Games”.  In his presentation he focused on conducting experiments as a means of research of punishment. Punishment is known to be one of the major factors of cooperation in the public goods (PG) games. However, the exact nature and reasons why people punish each other to a large extent remain unexplored.

The aim of the presentation was to discuss the cross-country evidence of cooperation in public goods games and to claim that conventional attribution of punishment to ‘dissatisfaction with low contribution’ (and to disapproval of antisocial behavior) is too impudent. In PG game context, people may punish each other for different strategic reasons driven by the experimental institution.

The specific contribution of Alexis project is new experimental design (insurance against punishment), behavioral model of strategic incentives for punishment and empirical estimates of latent classes of motives in a convenience sample of Russian subjects.

Alexis Belyanin explained the essence of public goods (PG) game with voluntary contribution mechanism (VCM) and demonstrated that the results of the experiment are relatively the same in different countries. Alexis pointed out that sometimes players punish not only those who contributed less (free-riders, pro-social punishment), but also those who contributed more than they did (spiteful, or antisocial punishment). Middle East, Russia and Eastern Europe are world leaders in spiteful management. In this respect the problem about the motives for punishment behavior is stated.

The experiment comprised 2 single-shot games: VCM without punishment, followed by VCM with punishment. After punishment stage, subjects in the low cost of punishment sessions could purchase insurance against punishment. 300 full-time and part-time students from Moscow, Perm and Tomsk took part in the experiment.

 As expected, mean frequency and size of spiteful punishments are compatible with those of the previous experiments and mean punishment size decreases with cost, and is on average the same for pro-social and spiteful punishments (similar rationality). Unexpected results mainly concern spiteful punishments. For instance, they are more serial and larger on average than pro-social punishments and increase in low-cost conditions.

The main punishment factors turned out to be retaliation (for pro-social punishments), competition (for spiteful punishments). Preemption factor (or being afraid of self-expression) could be applied for both. Availability and tolerance proved to be non-material.

As a result, the four punishment categories were pointed out.

  • Retaliate pro-social (12%). Punish those who contribute little. They punish a lot and almost do not insure against punishment.
  • Preemptive pro-social (60%). Punish those who contribute little but do punish a lot. Insurance is even lower than in  the first case. They themselves contribute enough.
  • Competitive spite (11%). Punish those who contribute a lot. Use a lot of punishment and insurance.
  • Preemptive spite (18%). Contribute little, also punish and insure little.

To conclude, Alexis stressed out that pro-social behavior can be studied by different methods, but experiments give an interesting insight. Decomposition of punishment motives may be interesting and important for the diagnosis of the state of the respective societies. The author is working on extension of the experiment in future.

Analytical Sociology: Principles and Empirical Applications

Peter Hedström, Institute for Future Studies,Stockholm | Presentation

On April, 26, prominent Swedesh sociologist Peter Hedström, the new director of Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm held a guest lecture entitled “Analytical Sociology: Principles and Empirical Applications” at the LCSR workshop.

Recently analytical sociology has received a remarkable amount of attention in the international scholar community. Professor Hedström was one of the founders of this approach, so his lecture was a great opportunity to learn more about this rapidly developing field of sociological studies for everyone who is interested in social research. Peter Hedström presented main principles of analytical sociology and illustrated them with an example of his study of segregation at the labor market.

Hedström defined object of interest of analytical sociologists as “macrosociology with clearly explicated micro foundations”. In other words, they primarily concern with long-standing social outcomes of individual actions. Generally speaking, analytical sociology presupposes a following causal model of social processes. Firstly, there are some environmental conditions at the macro-level which could affect micro phenomenon at the individual level such as beliefs, values and so on. In turn, the latter determines individual behavior. Finally, individual actions lead to different social outcomes at the macro level.

This way of thinking on the nature of social processes roots in theories of outstanding social scientists such as Robert Merton, James Coleman, Jon Elster and Tomas Schelling. Adherents of the analytical sociology argue that aggregate patterns say very little about micro level, so they criticize standard sociological models. Nevertheless, there are some pitfalls in explanatory models that are common in analytical sociology too. Nobel-Prize winner Thomas Shelling warned that “jumps” both from macro to micro and vice-versa could lead to misrepresentation of social phenomena.    

What is a way of empirical testing of models in analytical sociology? It demands using some standard statistical techniques. Hedström demonstrated that crucial fact by example of interactions between social networks and segregation at the labor market. To investigate the problem one has to combine data both for macro and micro level which provides the researcher with clear understanding of causes of individual choice. Further, one is supposed to use the procedure of simulating introduced by Thomas Shelling. The procedure shows how aggregated individual decisions could change general aggregate segregation trend. Simulation is considered to be successful if it could pinpoint effect of micro-level processes on social outcomes.

Finally, the lecturer summarized three main principles of analytical approach in sociology. They are “to explain macro-level patterns by analyzing dynamics of micro and macro changes” and “making explicit action and interaction-based mechanism at work”. The third, and perhaps the most important feature of analytical sociology is intention to adopt a realist stance on society as an object of scientific research taking into consideration complex interrelations between individual actions and their social outcomes.