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Regular version of the site


The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (LCSR) focuses on the analysis of norms and values, explanation of the dynamics of value changes that took place in Russia and other former Soviet countries in the last 30 years, correlation of these dynamics with political and economic changes in the global context, identification of distinctive characteristics of Russian society in comparison with more than 90 countries, interregional comparative research within Russia, and the clarification of correlation between cultural and historical characteristics and economic development of the regions.

The strategic goals of the Laboratory are the following:

The Laboratory invites the participation of young researchers, postgraduate students, and MA and BA students in the social sciences. We hold regular competitions concerning preparation of publications in peer-reviewed journals. Also, we conduct open methodological seminars on an ongoing basis. There are about 50 research projects supported by the Laboratory to be published in international academic journals. Professor Ronald Inglehart and other key members оf the Laboratory supervise these projects.

1. Ongoing Projects

Research field «Human Values and Cultural Change» ↑↑↑

Social Class and Cultrual Consumption in Europe: Impact of Self-Exression Values (2017-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Korsunova V.I.

This project tackles the relationship between social class and cultural consumption in comparative perspective. This link has already been tackled by different scholars who analysed the effects of various social determinants on the preferences in everyday life. However, the cross-national variation of the link between the phenomena is mostly discussed in terms of economic or political background, neglecting the issues of cultural context of the society. Here I aim to look at the effects of value orientations on the class differentiation in the field of cultural consumption in European countries. In particular, I analyse how the level of self-expression values affect the strength of the link between social class position and the intensity of cultural practices. I argue that the higher level of self-expression values in the country leads to the decline in class differentiation while increase the intensity of cultural activities.

Emancipative Values and Film Industry: Naked Facts from IMDb (2015-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Volchenko O.V.Korsunova V.I.

This project analyses film industry as a social phenomenon. Most studies tackling the meanings and symbols in the cinema are carried out in qualitative perspective (Finney 1993, Baker 2010). Some of them focus on the biographies of the authors and their private lives as the basis for creating cultural products (Chalmers 1978, Zolberg 1990, Hauser 2011). Other studies examine the commercialisation of cultural production (Ravid 1999, De Vany & Walls 2002). Yet other papers explore the depiction of risky behaviour in films, e.g. tobacco use (Trasher 2008), alcohol consumption (Steudler 1987), and drug addiction (Iannicelli 2001). Our paper fills in two research gaps. For one thing, it reveals the links between people's values and visual cultural production that can showcase the effects of changing values on culture. The other part of our research concerns the use of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) as a data set reflecting changes in modern societies. We believe that IMDB represents a vast area underexplored by social scientists and getting most attention from the computer science (Peralta 2007), cognitive studies (Rubin & Steyvers 2009), and network modelling (Fatemi & Tokarchuk 2012, Gallos et al. 2013, Ahmed et al. 2007). We track the changes in film topics provided by the IMDb together with theWorld values Survey (WVS) and European Values Study (EVS) data to see how the changes in people's values are linked to the popularity of related topics. Our special focus lies on the link between emancipative values (Alexander & Welzel 2011) and the proportion of films containing nudity. The sample contained all European countries across 1985-2000. The key IMDb variables were as follows: plot keywords, the year and country of film production. We count the share of films which contain keywords rerering to “nudity”, including “nudity”, “female-nudity”,“male-nudity”, “front-nudity”, “bare-breasts”, etc. by year and country. After that, the share of films containing nudity was regressed on the level of emancipative values with controls for the level of economic development (GDP per capita), higher education (per cent of enrolled in tertiary education), and the median age of the population. We found that the level of emancipative values was positively related to the share of films with nudity in the following years. We also revealed that the growing education level in this period was paralleled by a decrease in the share of female nudity and a rise in the share of films contating male nudity.

Does Milk Matter? Genetic Adaptation to Environment: The Effect of Lactase Persistence on Cultural Change (2014-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectShcherbak A.N.

Considering diet as often a product of adaptation to geographic environment, this paper suggests that not only amount of food (food abundance) is important, but what kind of foods people eat may also affect social change. One of the reasons for variation in diet is food intolerances as a result of adaptation to the environment. This paper investigates one case – lactase persistence. This trait is associated with different genotypes of LCT gene. Lactase persistence is mostly spread among northern Europeans, and is also found among some African and Asian nomadic populations. Such unique trait is usually explained in the gene-culture coevolution framework: selective pressure for it had to be followed by expansion of dairying and herding. Empirical analysis based on 78 populations reveals strong and positive association between share of lactase persistent population and distribution of emancipative values. Two causal mechanisms are suggested: a) demographic trends (lower fertility and lower child mortality in lactose tolerant societies) and b) specific type of agriculture based on integration of crop growing and cattle husbandry (higher urban population rate in lactose tolerant societies).

Scherbak, A.N. (2015). Does Milk Matter? Genetic Adaptation to Environment: The Effect of Lactase Persistence on Cultural ChangeWorking Papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series: Sociology, WP BRP 64/SOC/2015.


Research field «Subjective Well-being and Happiness» ↑↑↑

Disentangling Subjective Well-Being Components on Individual and Country Levels (2016-)

Project ManagerShirokanova A.A.
Project Executors: Shirokanova A.A., Ponarin E.D.

The goal of this small project is to improve our understanding of the contextual and individual effects on subjective well-being. Individuals with high and low levels of well-being react differently in similar social situations. This fact has driven my interest into testing a more precise version of the SWB index based on the WVS questionnaire (Inglehart et al. 2008) and identifying groups of countries by the values of this index’s components.

Perception of Mutual Help among Single Europeans after the Great Recession (2014-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectShirokanova A.A.

Singles are a fast growing part of European population. The status of living single has traditionally been transitory, but in late modernity people can enjoy singledom as a life-style. Qualitative studies of these ‘new singles’ (DePaolo 2007) show that they cluster in urban colonies and tend to enjoy their life. This project aims to identify whether the great recession which started in 2008 affected the perception of mutual help among European singles. Living alone is associated with higher economic insecurity. The direction of change in the perception of mutual help in the times of crisis cannot be clearly determined. In some countries, fading social expenditures are associated with higher self-transcendence and stronger mutual help; in others self-transcendence would shrink, so that people would rely more on themselves. As shown by Welzel (2010:172), the relation between values with altruism and collective action are positively moderated by the country level of self-expression values. Therefore, I assume that in the countries with high average self-expression values, one can expect stronger mutual support attitudes among the population. At the same time, individuals in the countries with lower self-expression averages may be expected to “roll back” to low mutual support in the times of crisis. Independent variables are individual values (Schwartz’s basic values and the equivalent of Welzel’s self-expression values) and socio-demographic characteristics. Country-level independent variables are the averages of four upper-level basic values, self-expression values, and GDP loss in 2008, to measure the strength of the economic crisis in the country. The data come from two waves of the European Social Survey, before (2006) and after (2012) the crisis. The sample includes more than 40,000 individuals from the 22 countries. The analysis design is cross-sectional multilevel regression with Bayesian estimation.

Широканова А.А. Уровень счастья одиноких людей снижается с возрастом // IQ.HSE.RU. 2016. 11 февраля. URL: https://iq.hse.ru/news/177663731.html.


Research field «Trust, Social Capital and Corruption» ↑↑↑

Why policemen go above the law? The role of police culture and work values (2013-)

Project Manager: Maksimova A.E.
Project ExecutorsMaksimova A.E., Kosals L.Y.


A Cross-National Comparison of the Effect of Work-Related Factors on Membership in Voluntary Associations (2014-)

Project Manager: Spencer S.B.
Project Executors: Spencer S.B., Almakaeva A.M.

This article examines how employment, supervisory status, and other occupational characteristics (creativity, autonomy or intellectual nature of work) influence membership rates in voluntary associations in cross-national comparison. This research combines individual-level data from the World Values Survey Wave 5 and 6, and country-level Freedom House data, in multilevel regression modeling. This research demonstrates that respondents in the labor force are more likely to report membership in a range of voluntary organizations, controlling for a range of individual and country-level characteristics. Similarly, employed respondents who are work supervisors are also more likely to report membership in most countries, while creativity at work increases the likelihood of membership in some settings.

Спенсер С.Б., Алмакаева А.М. A Cross-National Comparison of the Effect of Work-Related Factors on Membership in Voluntary Associations // XVI Апрельская международная научная конференция по проблемам развития экономики и общества: в 4 кн. / Отв. ред.: Е. Г. Ясин. Кн. 4. М. : Издательский дом НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. P. 101-109.

Family Ties and Formation of Generalized Trust (2015-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectAlmakaeva A.M.

The current study focuses on the relations between ingroup, particularized and generalized trust. Although scholars usually differentiate generalized from particularized trust the distinction between particularized and ingroup trust has not been emphasized. However, this distinction may shed an additional light on the controversial evidence on the relations between generalized and particularized trust. Seminal works of Banfield (1958) and Fukuyama (1995) postulate a negative effect of ingroup ties on generalized trust. At the same time, empirical evidence has demonstrated contradictory findings. While one group of studies points out negative effect of family ties on generalized trust (Alesina & Giuliano, 2013), another group detects a positive association between particularized and generalized trust (Delhey & Welzel, 2012; Freitag & Traunmüller, 2009; Newton & Zmerli, 2011; Uslaner, 2002). Presumably, this positive interlink is the result of combining trust in family and trust in known people into a single additive index that may be misleading from theoretical point of view. Only in relatively small groups intensive social ties might be a reason for creating «bonding» social capital. Trust in family is, indisputably, the indicator which catches this type of ingroup interactions but trust in known people is not. Therefore, for the sake of clarity it is better to separate ingroup from particularized trust and treat them as distinct concepts.
Preliminary analysis shows stable positive interlink between trust in known people and generalized trust. The strength of this impact is stable across low and highly developed societies. However, the influence of family trust, indeed, differs depending on the level of human development. It is significantly positive in developed countries and negative but weak in developing countries.


Research field «Gender (In)Equality and Gender Attitudes» ↑↑↑

Attitudes to Abortion, Divorce and Pre-marital sex in Republics of the Former USSR: Latent Class Approach (2014-)

Project Manager: Lopatina S.L.
Project ExecutorsКостенко В.В.Ponarin E.D.

Анализируется отношение граждан девяти постсоветских стран к проблемам абортов, разводов и добрачных связей на материале шестой волны опроса «Всемирное исследование ценностей» за 2012–2014 гг. по Азербайджану, Армении, Грузии, Беларуси, Казахстану, Кыргызстану, России, Узбекистану и Украине. Используя анализ латентных классов и регрессионное моделирование, авторы показывают, что самые значимые различия наблюдаются между странами, где влияние ислама на традиционность общества в отношении абортов, разводов и добрачного секса меньше, чем влияние религиозности. Например, в преимущественно мусульманском, но довольно светском Казахстане отношение к этим вопросам значительно менее жесткое, чем у населения христианской и очень религиозной Армении.

Лопатина С.Л., Костенко В.В., Понарин Э.Д. Дело не в исламе: отношение к абортам, разводам и добрачному сексу в девяти постсоветских государствах //  Журнал социологии и социальной антропологии . 2016. Т. XIX. № 3. С. 95-115. 

Готовится англоязычная публикация.


Research field «Political Regimes» ↑↑↑

How Multilevel Elite Loyalty Strengthens Electoral Authoritarianism: Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Russia (2015-)

Project Manager: Sirotkina E.V.
Project ExecutorsSirotkina E.V., Karandashova S.A.

Maintain autocratic regimes is widely acknowledged to require elite loyalty. However, does this imply that various elite groups equally contribute to the daily performance of an autocratic regime and to winning elections? Based on empirical evidence of recent gubernatorial elections in Russia we explore the effect of conflicts between governor and elites on multiple levels on gubernatorial electoral results and voter turnout. We find that conflicts between governors and the mayors of regional capitals have the only significant and robust negative effect on both electoral turnout and results. Encouraging the loyalty of these mayors secures smoother political machinery in the most electorally significant areas of the region and thus can determine the outcome of an electoral campaign.

Sirotkina E., Karandashova S. (2016). How Multilevel Elite Loyalty Strengthens Electoral Authoritarianism: Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in RussiaWorking Papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series: Political Science, WP BRP 36/PS/2016. 
Сироткина Е.В., Карандашова С.А. Выборы глав российских регионов: роль конфликтов губернатора с региональными элитами в исходе голосования // Полис. Политические исследования. 2018. (В печати).

How to Get Away with Murder in Russia: Political Support in the Times of Crisis. Evidence from the Survey Experiment (2016-)

Project Manager: Gilev A.V.
Project ExecutorsSirotkina E.V.Zavadskaya M.A.

Economic crises are believed to erode domestic political support for the existing regime. However, in comparison with democracies, autocracies enjoy more of a leeway in their responses to such crises and economic downturns due to their ability to strengthen their clientelist ties and increase the level of repression ('the tragic brilliance'). Since 2013, the Russian economy has been undergoing a deep and protracted recession, which was further aggravated by the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent imposition of international sanctions. The latter effectively slashed the purchasing capacity and disposable income of the Russian citizens by half. At the same time, the annexation of Crimea provided the regime with a significant boost in popularity – up to 80% – thereby leading to 'the rally around the flag' effect in Russia. The latter consolidated the citizens and reinvigorated the feeling of national pride. Taking into consideration these two contradictory tendencies – economic downturn and patriotic consolidation – is there evidence of Russian citizens willing to punish the incumbent authorities for the economic crisis? Does the 'the rally around the flag' help the incumbent in the times of economic crisis? Drawing on the evidence from the survey experiment we test 1) the priming effect of potentially sensitive questions in order to address the issues of their influence on support for governing authorities and 2) causal effects of deteriorating economy and the rally around the flag effect on how respondents assess the authorities. The survey was carried out by the Levada Center in August 2016 using a representative sample of 1601 people aged over 18 years. The survey included two treatment questions: 1) Do you support the Crimea's rejoining the Russian Federation? and 2) Some experts claim that Russia is undergoing an economic crisis, do you agree with this? The outcome variables are the respondents' assessment of the State Duma, the president, and the government efficiency. Conclusions drawn from the survey experiment are twofold. First, we find the priming effect of sensitive question about Crimea: those who were exposed to this question evaluate the president more favorably, but this tendency does not extend to their assessment of the State Duma and the government. Those exposed to the question about the economic crisis, reveal a more critical assessment of the State Duma and the government, while the president' s approval remains unchanged. The State Duma does not benefit from 'the rally ‘round the flag', while the president is not punished for the crisis. Second, when we compare the mediation effect of the rally ‘round the flag under economic crisis with the economic crisis alone, we find that the presidential support increases while those of the State Duma and the government decreases. In the opposite case, when economic crisis intervenes with patriotic fervor - the president’s support is not affected, while the Duma and the government suffer from lower estimates.

Сироткина Е.В., Завадская М.А. Когда власть несет ответственность: исследование атрибуции ответственности власти в сравнительной перспективе // Политическая наука. 2016. № 4. С. 242-260. 
Ефремова В.Н., Завадская М.А., Сироткина Е.В. Поколение нулевых: политическая подотчетность в условиях экономического кризиса // Вестник Пермского университета. Серия: Политология. 2016. № 4. С. 44-65. 
Планируется также выход препринта и двух англоязычных статей.

Executive Constraints and Economic Growth in Autocracies (2017-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Mitrokina E.M.

In the work I address the question of how the degree of power that a dictator has impact economic performance using within and moment-based estimators. Political regime impose boundaries on the leader, however, may be violated if the leader has enough power. Personalism denoting the degree of leaders’ personal power and his ability to influence decision-making process without constraints is important for policy outcomes. Focusing on the observable indicators of personalism I distinguish power concentration, executive constraints, and leader-elite interactions as the factors that reflect personalisation of power in a regime along with institutions that to a certain degree impose boundaries on the leader, however, may be violated if the leader has enough power. I find that higher personalisation of power has negative impact on economic performance. Countries where dictators stay longer in power and have opportunity to purge the elites in general perform worse economically. The work shows only the general tendency that countries where a leader has a lot of power perform worse compared to those where the leader cannot make decisions on his own without the probability of being removed if the decisions harm the elite’s interest. Leaders may have different incentives that explain their behaviour, but still more power in hands of one man, the greater is the probability for the country to be economically unsuccessful.

Выступление на Седьмом международном семинаре ЛССИ «Subjective Well-being and Growing Inequality across the Globe» (апрель 2017), доклад «Executive Constraints and Economic Growth in Autocracies».
К выходу готовится препринт.

The Openness and Democracy as Determinants of the International Terrorism Spread Trajectories (2017-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Chmel K.Sh.

International Terrorism is one of the most crucial issues of globalized world. This challenge of modern time have exploded scientific agenda of the last decade. While the political actors allover the world wage a struggle against the terrorist activities and eliminate the consequences of terrorist attacks, scientists are concerned about the theoretical foundations of terrorism and the empirical determinants of this phenomenon. The current state of a airs illustrates that terrorism is tend to be dynamic in long-run perspectives. Such empirical characteristics of terrorist activity as the types of used weapons, the damage area, incentives and goals, ethnic and geographic composition of the terrorist groups actuate from year to year. For instance, Al Qaeda group in 2001 focused on political and economic incentives, while the ISIS in 2016 declares the fight against modernization, guided by the Islam values framework. There are many causal mechanisms which describe how terrorism reacts on significant changes in its determinants. In other words, researchers have already estimated correlations between the spread of international terrorism and social, economic and political predictors. However are these interrelations are consistent and stable in a long-run?

Выступление на XVIII Апрельской международной научной конференции по проблемам развития экономики и общества (апрель 2017), доклад «Влияние ресурсного богатства на трансформации в соревновательных авторитарных режимах» (на англ. языке).
К выходу готовится препринт.

The Influence of the Resource Wealth on the Transformations in Competitive Authoritarian Regimes (2016-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectChmel K.Sh.

This research is devoted to the regime transitions in the countries of the gray area defined as competitive authoritarian regimes. The combination of the resource wealth theory and the assumptions of the competitive authoritarianism provide good results in the estimation of institutional quality and the explanation of the regime transition mechanisms, avoiding the democracy bias which commonly appears in the modern political science. Under the conditions of the instability in competitive authoritarian regimes, the change of institutional quality is particularly meaningful. A closer look at the economic institutions especially on institutions of the property rights and the institutionalized guarantees, focusing on the resource-rich countries where different actors are interested in the resource rents. At the same time, authoritarian governments are interested in staying in an office and the expropriating rents. However, the causal mechanisms which explain how this trade-off can be solved are not developed. Hence, the research question is the following. Do the institutionalized incentives and the formal rules in the form of the Investment profile affect similarly the transitions in the resource rich and the resource poor competitive authoritarian countries?

Выступление на Седьмом международном семинаре ЛССИ «Subjective Well-being and Growing Inequality across the Globe» (апрель 2017), доклад «The Openness and Democracy as Determinants of the International Terrorism Spread Trajectories».
К выходу готовится статья.

The Recipe for Democracy? The Spread of European Diet and Political Change (2015-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Shcherbak A.N.

The paper aims to reveal the relationship between improvement in human diet and transition to democracy. The spread of a ‘European diet’ – the diet with historically unprecedented high proportion of animal proteins in daily calories intake – is likely to be one of the factors of regime change since 1992. In contrast to other studies, I regard European diet as an outcome of long historical transformation and show that improvement in nutrition preceded regime change. To get data on nutrients consumption around the world I apply to the Food balance sheets data from FAOSTAT. Based on this data I are able to define a European diet as the one containing animal protein-rich items (mostly, meat and dairy), alcohol beverages and sugar. Using OLS, factor analysis and SEM I test the direct and indirect effects of the European diet on the chance of transition to democracy and find positive impact of improvement in diet on political change. My findings reveal that improvement in diet affects democratization, but not vice versa.

Shcherbak, A.N. (2016). The Recipe for Democracy? The Spread of European Diet and Political ChangeWorking Papers by NRU Higher School of Economics. Series: Sociology, WP BRP 70/SOC/2016. 

Regional Governors in Russia: Resources, Strategies, and Electoral Outcomes (2017-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Tkacheva T.Y.

Nowadays, Russian political regime is widely considered as electoral or competitive authoritarianism, and the political structure with the top-down command principle called “power vertical” had been successfully established. At the same time, subnational regimes in Russia still give an illustration of different political development trajectories. This becomes intriguing in the given national institutional context. This research is supposed to reveal the factors which determine the heterogeneity in subnational political systems through the prism of regional executive power. In particular, I analyze the following three aspects of the governorship: the differences in Russia’s gubernatorial tenures’ longevity, the difference in strategies regarding pre-election resignation since 2012, and the role of governors in the difference of electoral loyalty between republics and non-republics.

Golosov, G.V., & Tkacheva, T. (2017). Let My People Run: Pre-Election Resignations of Russia's Governors, 2013-2015Problems of Post-Communism, 1-10. DOI: 10.1080/10758216.2017.1351305.

Factors of Legal Diversity in Russian Regions (2017-)

Project Manager: Kononenko P.B.
Project Executors: Kononenko P.B., Tkacheva T.Y.

Russian federalism has become commonly considered to be entirely façade. A series of reforms aimed at re-centralization and then construction of the ‘power vertical’ had led to the situation ‘regions do not matter’. As a result, the structure of regional authorities is unified, regional party systems are identical to the federal one with a fixed role of the dominant party and with a, mostly, weak opposition; the electoral outcome is usually determined by the interest of the federal authorities. Even in the case of ‘emergency’ (that is, a low level of electoral support for the dominant party – United Russia – during the 2011 parliamentary elections), the reasons are usually federal-based. However, the opportunity to talk about political diversity in Russia still remains. On a monthly basis, regional parliaments send their bills to the Ministry of Justice for the review within the “ensuring of the legal unity” process. This activity is aimed at bringing the subnational laws in line with the federal legislation. The fact is that regional legislatures, with their political and institutional features directly dictated by the ‘power vertical’ system, demonstrate the different intensity of legislative activity. Moreover, in accordance with the review results, the number of incongruous acts also highly varies from one region to another. The given research is aimed at explaining this heterogeneity which is unexpected within the existing political and institutional homogeneity.


Research field «Cross-Cultural Data Collection and Analysis» ↑↑↑

Complex Methodological Approach to the Study of Media Effects on Public Opinion (2017)

Project Manager: Mavletova A.M.
Project Executors: Kazun A.D., Savin N.Y., Kashirskikh O.N.

The study of media effects on public opinion has quite a long history in the social sciences. In this project we will explore media effects on public opinion and will take into consideration both traditional and social media. We will run a number of experimental studies to explore the strength of media effects in authoritarian regimes, measure the effect of media frames on the attitudes and stability of attitudes under different media frames. In addition, we aim to study the factors that have an effect on selective exposure, measure the effect of consuming liberal media on attitudes and explore the role of social capital in the formation of deliberative discourse.

Why Don’t Economists Use Multilevel Modeling? (2017-)

Author and Executor of the Project: Shirokanova A.A.Oshchepkov A.Y.

In the last 20 years, multilevel modeling (MLM, Bryk & Raudenbush, 1992) has widely spread as a method of data analysis in the social sciences, notably in education studies, sociology, psychology, and management. However, economic research using MLM has been rather scarce. Besides, popular textbooks in econometrics, aimed at the students of economics, have mostly ignored MLM. In this paper we seek to explain this situation. We propose and critically investigate two main hypotheses. First, since MLM as a method originated not in economics, economists might have been taking their time to integrate it. This could partly be due to the fact that the research questions MLM is usually used for are of minor interest to economists. Second, from their perspective, economists might be seeing substantial flaws in MLM. Our general preliminary conclusion is that both explanations are relevant. Above and beyond the extant mismatch in the research questions, even in similar cases where sociologists or social psychologists would be using MLM by default, economists would prefer not to do it. In our view, the main feature of MLM that scares off economists is the underlying assumption that unobserved heterogeneity is random (the random effects model), while in economics the ‘gold standard’ has been the fixed effects model. We emphasize, however, that in light of the ongoing discussion on comparative advantages and disadvantages of these types of models, this MLM feature should not be treated as a crucial issue. Given the higher flexibility of MLM as compared with the OLS regression in the analysis of various social effects, we think that MLM has been unduly neglected in economics.


Other Research Fields ↑↑↑

Dynamics of Digital Inequality in Russia (2016-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectVolchenko O.V.

The aim of current project is to cover the gap in studies of digital divide in Russia. Digital divide is a complex phenomenon describing unequal opportunities in access to Internet resources that cannot be explained only by economic affordability of the Internet or only by user’s personal choice. That is why current article considering a variety of socio-demographic factors affecting usage of the Internet. Empirical section of the research is based on repeated cross-sectional data from «Courier» database and dedicated to testing how digital divide is changing during the period of study (July 2011 — November 2013). Binary logistic regression is used as a method of analysis. The modeling shown that classic factors of digital inequality such as age, income, education, type of residence are related with probability of internet use in general as well as probability of usage of the Internet as a source of information. It occurred that gender does not affect probability of usage of the Internet, though it is related with usage of the Internet as a source of information (it is more probable to use internet as informational source for males). In dynamic perspective digital divide in use is decreasing, however digital divide in aims of use is increasing.

Волченко О.В. Измерение практик использования Интернета в социальных науках: обзор основных методов // Информационное общество. 2017. № 1. С. 47-54.

The Global Economic Crisis and HIV Epidemic: Were Early Fears Justified? (2017-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectSavchenko P.A.Makeeva A.A.

In this project we study a link between the economic crisis and spread of HIV. Though many studies are devoted to the relationship between the economy in general and HIV, little attention has been paid to the influence of the most recent economic downturn on HIV spread. We perform a country-level analysis using dat from UNAIDS and World Bank. We expect that rising inequality, decreasing GDP per capita, and unemployment growth all lead to the rise in new cases of HIV.

Выступление на XVIII Апрельской международной научной конференции по проблемам развития экономики и общества (апрель 2017), доклад «The Global Economic Crisis and HIV Epidemic: Were Early Fears Justified?» (на англ. языке).

Urban Growth in Late-Imperial Russia: Beyond Traditional Explanations (2017-)

Author and Executor of the ProjectSavchenko P.A.

Even though in relative numbers pre-revolutionary Russia lagged behind the most developed European nations in terms of urban population, urbanization there should not be considred a negligible phenomenon. Russia had its own mega-cities. Large cities in general (over 200'000 people) were almost as common as in Great Britain or Germany. What fostered the urban growth? Russian historians tend to assume that urbanization in Russian Empire was primarily driven by industrial growth and the spread of the railroad network. However, this hypothesis seems to be confirmed just partly. According to some studies, service sector turns out to be much more important. So, if the whole story is not about industry only, what are other factors behind this process? In this study I analyze regional-level data from the years 1897-1914 in order to understand urban growth patterns.


1.  Ongoing projects

Genetic Factors and Preferences for Redistribution and Collective Behavior (2012-2014)

Participants: Alexey Zakharov, Eduard Ponarin

A number of recent studies have shown that certain aspects of political behavior have a genetic component. In this study we investigate the effects of three specific genes on the individual preferences toward the redistribution of income. We use a sample of over 2000 individuals, collected across six Russian regions. A measure of redistribution preferences was constructed based on six questions. For each individual we also gather data on the polymorphisms of three genes MAOA, 5HTT, and COMT. We find that the 5HTT gene has a small but significant effect on the individual's preference toward redistribution. It is shown the individuals with one or two copies of the L polymorphism prefer significantly more redistribution than those who have two copies of the S polymorphism. Our study includes controls for age, education, income, and urban/rural residence. Of these control variables, only income and age are significant (preference toward redistribution decreases with income and increases with age). We also include population fixed effects to control for genetic drift. The study is the first ever to identify specific genes that affect individual redistribution preferences.

Gender Attitudes and Perception of Democracy in the Arab World (2012-2013)

Supervisor: Eduard Ponarin

Participants: Veronika Kostenko, Pavel Kuzmichev

Democracy and human rights are very popular topics in Islamic studies as all the countries of the Arab world do not enjoy electoral democracy while there is a very high demand on it in these societies. This phenomenon can be explained by specific understanding of democracy among local population. We try to analyze whether democracy support in the Arab world correlates with human rights issues, and gender equality in particular. In the most countries democracy support and gender equality indices show high correlation. We use cluster analysis and Poisson regression modeling to show that correlation between perception of democracy and gender equality support is very low and varies across the countries. There is a group of people in the region who support both democracy and gender equality, but it is a small number (less than 10%) of elderly and middle-aged people characterized by higher education and social status. Simultaneously, the majority, especially young males aged 25-35 are against gender equality and democracy. This fact is of special importance as this generation will govern these countries in the closest future.

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Sexual Liberalization in Central Asia: a Marker of Modernization or a Choice of the Poorest? (2013-2014)

Supervisor: Eduard Ponarin

Participants: Veronika Kostenko , Sofia Lopatina, Ekaterina Turanova

This project is conducted using WVS data from the 6th wave which was collected for the first time in three Central Asian countries: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Research is focused on gender issues and examination of the process of sexual liberalization in Central Asia, which is quite unexplored. While we can claim that in the majority of developed countries in Europe people who support more liberal values in sexual sphere are mostly young men and women with high educational level, relatively high income, belonging to the middle and upper social classes. People who live in more insecure conditions are expected to support traditional values, to be more religious, to be committed to communal ties and obligations; patriarchal norms, discouraging divorce, abortion, sex before marriage, lay in the basement of such societies and they are considered to be “a key to survival” (Inglehart, Norris, 2003). When the process of modernization starts, living conditions become more comfortable for people who are not concerned with danger of having no food or no money; education becomes more widespread and available. It results in a drastic value change from survival values (common for traditional societies) to self-expression values, including social tolerance and aspiration to liberty (Inglehart, Welzel, 2005). According to these theoretical constructs we can argue that in countries that are going through modernization process, people who have a stable financial situation, those who are socially, economically and physically protected, would be more tolerant to liberal values and ideas, including sexual liberalization. But in Central Asia we discovered different situation. Preliminary analysis shows, that sexual liberalization in this region is supported by those who are less protected in social and economic sphere. We found out that people who live in insecure environment (lack medical treatment, feel unsafe from crime), those who are not satisfied with their lives and those who are economically insecure (have no money or no food) are more tolerant towards such issues as divorce, sex before marriage, prostitution and abortion.

Exogenous shock, genetic diversity and social change: The Case of Alcohol and European Colonization (2012-2013)

Participants: Andrey Shcherbak , Svetlana Borinskaya

The research project aims to find link between genetic diversity and social change. The proposed mechanism is an exogenous shock. We argue that exogenous shock may increase the significance of genotype differences among populations and genetic diversity may become an important factor of social and political change. Although some studies associate certain genes with prosocial behavior, it is hardly to say that any genetic polymorphisms are responsible for social change. Under conditions of exogenous shock some genes may have impact on social change. In other words, if populations’ genotypes are not ‘prepared’ to new external threats, social change is likely – either as social adaptation to these challenges, or as failure to do that.

Our case study for testing the hypothesis about exogenous shock as a catalyst of genes–social change process is the use of strong alcohol as factor of European colonization in America, Africa and Eurasia. Historically, alcohol was one of the major trade items between Europeans and indigenous populations. We argue that there is a positive correlation between probability of being colonized by Europeans and allele frequencies responsible for metabolism of alcohol. The risk of colonization by European powers is higher for indigenous populations which had genotype with lower allele frequencies which could ’protect’ them against alcohol abuse. Dependent variable is binomial variable which codes colonization of a given native population by Europeans since the 16th century to the year 1900. The unit of analysis is not state but population. Independent variables are allele frequencies of ADH1B*Arg48Hys and ALDH2-2 polymorphisms among selected populations. Control variables are type of state history, population size, economy type (hunting-gathering/agriculture/ nomads), and pathogen history. Our preliminary results show that higher allele frequency is associated with less alcohol consumption. We also discuss Economic dependency hypothesis as one of potential causal links between alcohol consumption/alcohol abuse and colonization. In conclusion, we provide some evidence that existing differences in Arg48Hys might have happened due to ancient urbanization, change in population density and as a result historic pathogen prevalence.

Sociocultural and Institutional Aspects of Social Modernization of the Siberian Regions (2013-2014)

Supervisor: Anna Nemirovskaya

Participants: Vladimir Kozlov, Ekaterina Lytkina, Julia Savinkova

This comparative research project is devoted to an analysis of the socio-cultural and institutional aspects of modern social modernization of the regions of Western and Eastern Siberia, compared with other regions and Russia as the whole. The project involves the study of socio-cultural environment of these areas, social structure and social institutions, in order to identify the specific characteristics of modern social modernization of Siberia, as well as evaluate existing opportunities and barriers to the development of these “resource” regions, that are crucial for Russia`s stable development, from the economic and geopolitical point of view. The main empirical basis for this comparative study of social and cultural characteristics of the Siberian regions is the survey in 7 regions of the Siberian Federal District and all-Russia, performed by a single method developed by the Center for the Study of Socio-cultural Changes of the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the data by Russian Federal Service of State Statistics and other research organizations. The goal of this presentation is to demonstrate the level of modernization of Siberia, compared with other regions of Russia and the country as a whole, introduce the main objectives, methodology, and some empirical results of this project.

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Social Welfare and Health of Unconventionally Employed (2011-2012)

Supervisor: Tatiana Karabchuk

Participants: Marina Nikitina Natalia Soboleva

For the last ten years the scale of non-standard employment has tended to increase: and not only in Russia, but in many other countries. At the same time this phenomenon is comparatively new in post-Soviet countries and requires scrutiny. In particular, non-standard employment is connected with social exclusion, instability, low wages, and job dissatisfaction. In this connection, the authors suggest that there is a relationship between the type of employment and the subjective evaluation of health and social well-being, not only in Russia but in the world as a whole. The main objectives of the research project are to determine the impact of types of employment on life satisfaction and social well-being and to compare the results between countries in this regard.

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Nationalism in Russian Society: An Experimental Study(2011-2013)

Participants: Alexey Zakharov Nadezhda Shilova

This research project  is designed as a laboratory experiment which aims to identify the importance of a group’s characteristics in the distribution of responsibility. The participants of the experiment are offered to take part in a game called "collective dictator". According to the rules of the game, there are two groups of people: first, a group of "dictators" who collectively decide how to divide a fixed sum of money among the two groups; then the representatives of the second group have an opportunity to punish each of the first group members. The question stated by the experimenters is the following: According to which principle will the punishment be distributed? Will this principle be rational (dictators with more authority will be punished more) or national (the dictator with a "non-Russian" name will be punished more severely)?

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Nationalism in Russian Regions: A Comparative and Historical Perspectives (2011-2013)

Supervisor: Andrey Shcherbak

ParticipantsAlexandra ShishovaIrina Vartanova  

The expenditures of Russian republics on education, culture, support of a national language are analyzed in the project. One of the project's aims is calculation of an index of structural potential for nationalism in Russian republics.

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Elite-2020 (2012-2013)

SupervisorsRonald Inglehart Eduard Ponarin William Zimmerman

Participants: Yegor LazarevBoris SokolovEkaterina Turanova Irina Vartanova

Social structure and social institutions of the central and frontier zones of the Russian Federation: quality of life and potential for modernization (2013-2014)

ParticipantsAnna Nemirovskaya Roberto Foa Tatiana KarabchukVladimir KozlovJulia Savinkova

Wages and informal payments in police: comparative study of Russia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Latvia (2013-2014)

Supervisor: Tatiana Karabchuk

Participant: Ruslan Almukhametov

The project deals with the problem of police wage setting in comparative perspective. Based on unique data set, collected in four post-soviet countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria and Latvia) the research provides the comparative study focusing on the wage differentials in police and the probability for informal earnings. The survey had unique questionnaire for all four countries and the sample size for each country comprises of about 500 policemen. The respondents were asked to answer about 50 questions about their current position, wage, attitude toward bribes and extra income, consumption behavior, social guarantees and some other. The authors disclose the determinants of wage differentials inside the police, identifying as independent variables such as tenure, department, rank-position and place of living. The paper shows that the positive links between the wage size and attitudes towards informal payments take place only in Russia, but not in all other four countries. The same is true for the difference between the real and ideal wage stated by policemen.

2. Collective projects (completed)

Modernization and Well-Being in Russia   (2010-2012)

Supervisor: Ronald Inglehart 

Participants: Eduard Ponarin Roberto Foa

Subjective well-being in Russia was already low in 1982. Economic development is strongly linked with subjective well-being- the people of rich countries tend to be happier than the people of poor countries. But empirical evidence indicates that as early as 1982, the Russia people already ranked lower on happiness and life satisfaction than the people of much poorer countries such as Nigeria or India. Already in 1982, the Russian people were suffering from a malaise linked with the era of stagnation; external signs of this malaise, such as rising alcoholism and declining male life expectancy, were evident. But in subsequent years, with the collapse of the Soviet Union-- and the collapse of the communist belief system-- subjective well-being in Russia fell to levels never seen before. Thus, by 1990, Russia (with a few other countries such as Belarus, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania) showed the world's lowest levels of subjective well-being-- in fact, the lowest levels ever recorded. This was linked with falling birth rates and life expectancy, which continued until 1995. In recent years, the trend toward falling subjective well-being has begun to reverse itself, so that by the time of 2006 and 2011 waves of WVS, it had moved back toward the level of 1982, but still ranked low in global perspective.

This project will provide an answer as to whether this recovery has continued and to monitor related changes in the social, economic, political and religious orientations of the Russian people. The surveys taken in LCSR are carried out in connection with the 2010-2011 wave of the World Values Surveys, which has surveyed representative national samples of the publics of countries containing 90 percent of the world’s population, in successive waves of surveys conducted since 1981. This makes it possible to analyze the data collected by this project in context with comparable data from countries around the world, and to measure changes observed from 1981 to the present.

Islam and Nationalism in Volga-Ural Region (2011-2012)

ParticipantsEduard Ponarin Kirill Zhirkov

The correlation between Islam and nationalism is empirically analyzed in the cases of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, and a hypothesis about the existence of two forms of nationalism (ethnic and political) is empirically tested via analysis of quantitative data.

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International Scientific Laboratories in Russia (2012-2013)

Supervisors: Ronald Inglehart Daniel Alexandrov

Participants: Tatiana Karabchuk Marina Nikitina

The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research is conducting a sociological study on scientific laboratories with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science. These laboratories were established within the bounds of the grant program run by the government of the Russian Federation to provide state support for scientific research supervised by leading scholars at Russian higher education institutions. The objective of the current study is to collect data on the microclimate and organizational structure of the laboratories, and motivation and social attitudes of the laboratories' employees. The data is necessary for elaboration of proposals which are needed to maintain a stable feedback between the higher education institutions' administrations and research teams. The questionnaire poll of the international laboratories' staff is carried out by means of an online survey (the questionnaire is published on a special website in Russian and English). The laboratories' supervisors are informed in advance via e-mail. The study covers all 77 existing laboratories. The questionnaire poll is continuing at the moment. When it finishes, the analysis of collected data will be conducted which would include construction of different scales and indices for estimation of social feeling, internal microclimate, attitudes and expectations of the laboratories' employees.

 Preliminary results


You may get familiar with the questionnaire here: LCSR Questionnaire.pdf. Please contact Marina Nikitina with any questions regarding the research.

Internal Empires: Social and Political Cultures of the Frontier  (2011-2012) 

ParticipantsRoberto Foa Anna Nemirovskaya

Brazil, Russia, the United States, and Canada are remarkably different in respect to climate, governance, and economic institutions, but one thing they have in common: that the elites of their capitals and Atlantic littoral consider themselves, to varying degrees and extents, as ‘European’; while their interior populations consider themselves the natives and true denizens of their land. This, we argue, is the distinctive pattern of a frontier society, in which the first wave of settlers establishes itself according to the tastes and hierarchies of the motherland, while subsequent waves, living in sheltered terrains distant from worldly affairs, identify instead with the great landmass which they have with great difficulty brought into mastery. It is also why each of these societies at some point in its history must wrestle with the tension between core and periphery, which politically is a struggle between cosmopolitan, liberal, and deferential norms of the coast, and isolationist, conservative, and economically libertarian values of the frontier. This project examines in greater detail the social and political cultures of the frontier, studying differences in social capital, history, governance, and political preferences in relation to core state areas. Using data from the six waves of the World Values Surveys, plus a range of statistical sources, we show significant yet predictable differences among frontier regions in areas such as voluntary association, civic activism, quality of institutions, and political preferences. 


 Working paper


Individual Research Projects supervised by Ronald Inglehart

1. Ongoing projects:



2. Completed projects:



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