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Category: History

The IX conference "Leontyevsky Readings": Economy and institutes

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES (Magazine of institutional researches) • Volume 2, No. 1. 2010



Candidate of Economic Sciences, associate professor, Saint Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, E-mail address:

The conference which was taking place in St. Petersburg on February 12-13, 2010 was organized by the International center of social and economic researches ("the Leoshjevsky center"). This event should be marked out for two reasons.

First, difference of "Leontyevsky readings" from many other conferences is orientation to thorough reports of the proved researchers. At the same time, it does not mean discrimination of young scientists. In number of speakers those from them which on the basis of the publications found reputation of capable and perspective economists and sociologists are selected. It allows to avoid the main trouble of many scientific forums in the form of presence of mass of reports through passage which are made for the sake of "tick" (a line in the abstract of the master's thesis, the reporting of any given organization, etc.).

Secondly, scope of a conference — "Economy and Institutes". For obvious reasons it was of special interest for "The magazine of institutional researches". Therefore four representatives of its editorial office headed by the editor-in-chief R.M. Nureev took part in it. This circumstance allows to begin the review with their reports.

R.M. Nureev's report was called "The institutional environment of the Russian business — effect of a track". In the first part reports the theory of "track" (path dependency) was considered. Here the thesis of the speaker that behavior models of people reflect the ideas drew attention, ideology, beliefs which not always reflect a real picture of the world and badly give in to influence of a feedback mechanism. As a result consequences of their behavior are not only uncertain, but also unpredictable. And, in particular, therefore changes happen not always in "optimum", in terms of development of market economy, the direction.

Further the convincing data based on intercountry reviews of the World Bank of Doing Business for a row of the last years were provided in the report. They eloquently demonstrated that in Russia Wednesday for business extremely adverse and all these years it worsened. As a result it was noted that the administrative resource leads to dualism of norms (to division into "" and "others") and through preferences (privileges, tax releases) leads to restriction of the economic competition.

In a final part of the report tendencies to modification of institute of elections in Russia were considered. They come down to the fact that elections stop being the controlling mechanism of opinion of citizens for the authorities and turn into the mechanism of the state control over actions of regional and local bureaucrats and society in general.

As a result the following three conclusions were drawn: the lack in Russia of efficient standard and legal and other regulators of activity of politicians leads to further increase in a role of the power property; there are lines of the autocratic mode when the power concentrates in some hands; the competition is limited and economic monopolism amplifies.

A.A. Auzan's report "Modernization as problem: in search of a national formula" it was devoted to the international comparisons in development of groups of various countries. According to the theory of "effect of a track" it was shown that, despite rapid growth of Spain and pulling up to the level of the leading European countries on GDP per capita, it keeps also a considerable separation from them. Moreover, she endures modern crisis more sharply, than the leading EU countries.

© A.P. Zaostrovtsev, 2010

Great interest was attracted by Auzan's thesis about "four Kitayakh": People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. The last "three China" considerably outstripped continental China on an indicator of shower GDP. It is possible to tell that the "national formula of modernization" found them works more successfully in spite of the fact that today the attention of the whole world is drawn to continental China.

In the report it was also noted that not all East Asia shows break to wellbeing. Is in it and such countries as Nepal, Burma, Pakistan, Philippines which either stagnate, or develop far not so rapidly which it is habitual to see at the known leading countries from this region.

Comparison of dynamics of shower GDP of Israel with the oil-producing Arab countries was very indicative. The first shows the steady growth of an indicator whereas the take-off and falling following after take-off and falling of the prices in the world market of hydrocarbons are typical for the Arab oil and gas exporters. At the same time on its absolute value Israel during the recession periods in this market appears ahead.

The speaker, of course, did not remove "a modernization formula" for each country, but nevertheless demonstrated what to find that turns out not at all.

Yu.V. Latov's report "Measurement and the komparativistsky analysis of trust" was its collaboration with M. Sasaki representing the Chuo university (Japan). The trust as the social capital was investigated, at the same time it was subdivided into interpersonal trust (the generalized interpersonal trust to "people in general" and trust to specific groups of persons) and institutional trust (trust to the government, business, public organizations, etc.). On the obtained data of polls three conclusions were drawn: level of credibility in Russia to universal measures rather average, than low; temporary decrease in the generalized interpersonal trust was observed during a transition period in many transitive countries (not only in Russia); a tendency to growth of the generalized interpersonal trust in Russia — manifestation of growth of stocks of the national social capital.

In I.V. Rozmainsky's report "State, uncertainty and the choice of assets of long use" the author from the description of a role of uncertainty in post-Keynesian tradition passed to ideas of a role of the state at the same school of economic thought. The fact is that post-Keynesians consider the state as the institute reducing uncertainty, and see the most important problem of the state in ordering of economic life in the conditions of uncertainty.

Further Rozmainsky spoke about the phenomenon of institutional inadequacy of the state when it is incapable or not person interested to perform function of protection of contracts and other institutional functions. This inadequacy leads to the overestimated uncertainty level in an economic system that can be observed on the example of a number of the Post-Soviet countries including Russia.

The speaker on the basis of statistical data on the USA noted reduction of depth and duration of recessions in the second half of the 20th century in comparison with the first. It connected it with bigger institutional adequacy of the state, performance of the main macroeconomic functions by it in which post-Keynesians include countercyclical fiscal and monetary management, the built-in stabilizers, policy of income, industrial policy and strengthening of a financial system (insurance of deposits, etc.).

In a final part of the report the critical analysis of antietatistsky theories of Hayek, Buchanan and Loukas was given. The theory of a spontaneous order and scattered knowledge of Hayek does not consider a role of the market power and conscious design of institutes. Buchanan concept about prosecution by politicians/officials of personal interests does not consider influence of uncertainty on their criterion functions and also influences of group interests. Critical view of Loukas according to which the macropolicy changes macroeconomic communications does not consider limitation of calculating and informative abilities of agents at fundamental uncertainty.

The general conclusion of the speaker was that the capitalist economy needs the state institutes playing an anchor role in the ocean of fundamental uncertainty. It is possible to carry not only effectively working laws, but also discretionary macropolicy to such institutes.

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES (Magazine of institutional researches) • Volume 2, No. 1. 2010

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES (Magazine of institutional researches) • Volume 2, No. 1. 2010

At a conference other interesting works were presented and many. So, V.L. Polterovich gave the report "Transplantation of institutes, loan of technologies and economic development". The question of why it is not possible to borrow institutes was one of the main questions of the report. Orientation to institutes of too high level without a stage of development of economy (ignoring of institutional, technological and cultural obstacles) was called the first reason. Also the lack (until recently) of the adequate theory of the catching-up development affected: strategies were developed without experience of other countries. The conclusion was drawn that for effective development institutional innovations in the form of intermediate institutes are necessary.

Further statement was in many respects devoted to the strategy of intermediate institutes which was understood as creation of desirable institute by creation of a chain (intermediate) institutes replacing each other — an institutional trajectory in suitable institutional space. Examples from real practice of China, in particular, gradual liberalization of the prices (through the system of double — the state and market prices), foreign trade (through free economic zones), privatization were given (by means of the city and rural collective enterprises).

During the report the comparison of a shock therapy with the strategy of cultivation of institutes and the strategy of intermediate institutes was carried out. At each of them the pluses and minuses were noted, but preference was given the last. It is the most flexible as allows to combine transplantation of institutes, their cultivation and institutional experiments. Intermediate institutes promote weakening of restrictions — cultural, institutional or resource which obstruct the further traffic.

Concerning transplantation of institutes four hypotheses were stated.

1. Emergence of new institute — a rare event. Institutional development is carried out mainly due to transplantation.
2. The strategy of intermediate institutes gives higher chances of success, than shock transplantation. "Jumps" lead to dysfunctions.
3. The rational strategy of transplantation accelerates development of institute among the recipient in comparison with the donor.
4. Structural analogy: transplants in different countries evolve according to similar schemes.

As a result Polterovich formulated the following recommendations about design of reforms:

♦ strategy of intermediate institutes (but not shock);

♦ control of "search of a rent";

♦ choice of the sequence of reforms;

♦ compensation by the loser;

♦ growth stimulation.

Besides, each reform has to be author's, the organization of several competing projects is expedient. Only having provided high-quality process of reforming, it is possible to hope for rapid and stable economic growth.

Without having an opportunity to consider all reports which took place at a conference, we will continue a summary of those from them which are closest to subject of the magazine.

A.P. Zaostrovtsev in the report "Democracy, an autocracy and development: the comparative analysis of economic concepts" carried out comparison between Mansour of Olson and Douglas Nort's theories. In them both the noticeable similarity, and not less noticeable distinction is observed. The newest concept of Nort (in collaboration with B. Ueyngast and J. Wallice) allocates as one of steps in development of humanity an order of the closed access which goes for change to a primitive order. This transition can be compared with transition from a situation with the wandering bandit to a situation with mainly settled bandit at Olson.

At the same time, as we know, Olson put forward the concept of "an institutional sclerosis" which connected with activity of the organizations representing narrow groups of the interests. However, according to Nort, Wallice and Ueyngast (NUU), the highest order — the order of open access — means the free, not depending on the personal relations with the state entrance to the political, economic and other organizations. It agrees

To Olson, it is a way to slowing down of development as the scope for representation of the interests of separate groups interfering growth opens.

The speaker emphasized NUU conclusion that the same institutional forms work differently in different public orders. Institutional forms can be filled with other contents: for example, elections as limited access become rather a demonstration of loyalty of the imperious coalition, than the instrument of identification of will of citizens.

A.S. Skorobogatov devoted the performance on the subject "Institutional Understanding of History" of a role of the economic person and violence in the history. He considers distribution of force as a key factor of history. "Societies in the history are the systems of long-term human relations with various power potential that reports to these systems hierarchical and contract character".

Based on this situation, Skorobogatov came to the following three generalizations:

• "the economic person" — the most typical and significant figure in the history;

• power potential — the main transfer link between personal interest and actions of the economic person;

• societies are networks of contracts between "bandits" (according to Olson) and robbed.

N.P. Drozdova's report "Modern institutional economic history: achievements and problems" consisted of three parts. In the first of them the chronology of development of this direction of economic researches was considered. The second part was devoted to classification of researches on the modern institutional economic history (MIEH). In the third it was talked of problematic issues of NIEI.

The speaker noted that NIEI appears in the 70th of the 20th century as synthesis of two directions of a research: modern economic history (kliometriya) and new institutional economic theory (NIET). Further it breaks up to two parts: traditional NIEI and the contemporary institutional economic history (the end of the 1990th — the beginning of the 2000th) which still is called also more general term "new institutional social sciences". The last, the latest, a branch synthesizes in herself political science, sociology, cognitive science.

As for classification of researches, two approaches face here. Some see in NIEI auxiliary economic discipline within NIET, others consider it as more independent science, something like the general theory of historical changes for Nort.

The speaker carried methodology problems to NIEI problems (not realness of a prerequisite in the form of methodological individualism), illegibility of definitions (for example, such concepts as "institute", "ideology", structure"), not readiness of a number of concepts (for example, the mechanism of institutional changes), difficulties with factual justification of the theory, discrepancy of conclusions about a role of culture and a role of institutes, in particular, of their influence on economic growth. The conclusion that creation of a uniform conceptual picture of world history or history of the certain country on the basis of neoinstitutional approach is problematic is drawn.

D.E. Raskov made the report ""Vision" of economy in old and new institutionalism". For old institutionalism economy — a nonequilibrium, evolutionary system. Besides, it is a complex system, inadvertent, adaptive process. It is characterized by "cumulative causality" and is an integral part of a civilization and culture. For it the economy — is more than old institutionalism than the market.

For new institutionalism economy — the market system, the competition to restrictions of institutional, legal, organizational character. In the center — motivation and decisions made by the individual, but join also hierarchies and structures of management of contracts.

According to Raskov, Nort is a certain "transitional figure" between old and new institutionalism. Referring to the book by Nort "Violence and social orders" (2009) written to them in collaboration with Ueyngast and Wallice, the speaker claimed that Nort did a way from Marxism to a kliometrika, modern economic history, cognitive and, at last, to political sciences.

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES (Magazine of institutional researches) • Volume 2, No. 1. 2010

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES (Magazine of institutional researches) • Volume 2, No. 1. 2010

Raskov believes that the space of mutual bridges, crossings and dialogue between old and new institutionalism will increase in process of exhaustion of "building" of an institutional perspective within "behavioural" vision.

In A.E. Shastitko's report "New institutional economy as the research program" questions for identification of NIET as that were raised. The speaker carried a possibility of modification of the research program to them, including a problem of hybrid models; allocations within one research program of the different research subprogrammes having the "rigid kernel" and "a protective belt"; allocations of a categorial framework and the fundamental assumptions reflecting first of all components of a rigid kernel of the research program.


In the report in detail listed characteristics of NIET as research program. Here first of all it was specified that institutes matter both in terms of efficiency of placement of resources, and in terms of stability of economic development which in turn also influences a condition of institutes and the direction of institutional changes. Also it was emphasized that institutes matter not in itself, and in connection with their influence (and, at the same time, dependence) on actions of the persons making economic decisions (functionality of restriction in a situation of the individual choice). Besides, within NIET all public phenomena are considered on the basis of actions of certain people (presumption of methodological individualism).

Two options of classification of NIET were offered. On the one hand, NIET as "the normal research program" along with other research programs within the economic theory. On the other hand, NIET — the designation uniting on the basis of a narrow set of the principles some of the "normal research programs" showing essential distinctions at the level of a rigid kernel and ways of formulation and check of hypotheses.

Shastitko finished the performance a question: "NIET — the new edition of economic theory per se?".

During the conference the presentation of "The international magazine of institutional researches" took place. The editor-in-chief R.M. Nureev together with Yu.V. Latov and A.S. Skorobogatov told about the concept of the magazine, its prospects and addressed the gathered researchers with the offer to send articles and to be his active readers.

The conference was filled with interesting events. In particular, L.M. Grigoriev (president of "Institute of Power and Finance" Fund) performed with the presentation of the report of Institute of modern development (INSOR) "Russia the 21st century: image of the desirable future".

In conclusion of a conference the solemn delivery of the international Le ontyevsky medals "For a Contribution to Reforming of Economy" to her winners for 2009 took place. Them became: Janos Kornai (professor of Harvard University and Kollegium institute, Budapest), G.O. Gref (the President, the Chairman of the board of Sberbank of the Russian Federation), N.V. Zubarevich (director of the regional program of ANO Independent Institute of Social Policy) and Ya.I. Kuzminov (the rector of the State university — Higher School of Economics). Being present at an awards ceremony with great interest listened to Kornai's lectures "Leontyev, mathematical planning: dreams and reality" and Zubarevich "Regional development and institutes: Russian specifics".

The representatives of the Russian institutional school who gathered on a conference handled a wish to heads of the International Center of the social and economic researches "Leontyevsky Center" to allocate also on the "Leontyevsky readings" which are coming next year the place for continuation of discussion of problems of institutional economy. If St. Petersburg becomes a regular forum of the International organization of institutional researches in Russia, then it is possible to consider that by means of "the Leontyevsky center" will reach an important boundary in strengthening of scientific community of economists-institutsionalistov.

Additional information on last conference can be obtained on the website of "the Leontyevsky center" Now "The Leon-tyevsky center" prepares the collection of the reports sent by conferees for the edition. It can also be read on the website of the Center.

Anne Gwendolyn
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