Peter Robertson, 09 October 2021

US military spending is said to be greater than the next 11 countries combined. However, the conventional use of market exchange rates to compare across countries dramatically overstates US spending relative to other countries. This column introduces a military purchasing power parity exchange rate for 59 countries based on the relative unit cost ratio across counties. This ‘military PPP’ shows that the US military budget in 2019 was smaller than that of the next three largest military spenders – China, India, and Russia – combined.

Gerhard Toews, Pierre-Louis Vézina, 23 September 2021

‘Enemies of the people’ were the millions of artists, engineers, managers, or professors who were thought to be a threat to the Soviet regime solely for being the educated elite. Along with millions of non-political prisoners, they were forcedly resettled to the Gulag, the system of labour camps across the Soviet Union. This column looks at the long-run consequences of this dark resettlement episode. It shows that areas around camps with a larger share of enemies of the people among camp prisoners are more prosperous today, as captured by firms’ wages and profits, as well as night lights per capita. 

Margherita Russo, Claudia Cardinale Ciccotti, Fabrizio De Alexandris, Antonela Gjinaj, Giovanni Romaniello, Antonio Scatorchia, Giorgio Terranova, 02 August 2021

Many countries turned to use contact-tracing apps to help control the spread of COVID-19. Despite public policy efforts, however, tracking apps have not been a success because of public concerns over data privacy. This column compares nine countries to explore the conditions behind the successful use of digital technologies and AI for public purposes. Individuals give over personal data to internet companies but are wary of sharing their data for the public interest. Citizen trust in public interventions and commitment to social goals need to be nurtured in normal times to be effective in emergencies.

Mikhail Mamonov, Anna Pestova, Steven Ongena, 10 June 2021

Financial sanctions against Russia’s state-owned and controlled banks were imposed consecutively between 2014 and 2019, allowing banks that would potentially be targeted in the future to adjust their international and domestic exposures. This column explores the informational effects of financial sanctions, showing that compared to similar private banks, ‘not yet sanctioned’ financial institutions immediately reduced their foreign assets while, rather unexpectedly, expanding their foreign liabilities. These informational effects crucially depend on geography, with targeted banks located further from Moscow decreasing their foreign assets by more and raising foreign liabilities by less than those located near the Kremlin. 

,

The Social and Economic Development of Russia’s Regions, 1800-2000 Data-hub 
Tuesday 20th April, Online
7 am PDT, 10 am EDT, 3 pm BST, 4 pm CEST, 5 pm MSK

Russian history has so far played a rather modest role in the dynamically expanding field of knowledge known as global history. This was due in the very first place to the absence of good and readily accessible data in the data-hubs and large data-sets that have been instrumental in the rise of the discipline. This in spite of the fact that the scope and quality of Russian statistics of the past few centuries are of exceptionally high standards compared to many other countries.

The New Economic School (Moscow) and the International Institute of Social History (Amsterdam) took up the challenge to bring Russian data to a global audience by bringing them online. Standardized, well-annotated, and with a regional break-down, essential data are made available on population, labour, industrial output and agricultural output for five cross-sections of Russian history of the 18th-21st centuries. The repository caters to the needs of the scholarly community, teachers and students in the social sciences and humanities, and to comparative and transnational research agendas on social and economic development.

CEPR marks the official launch of the Electronic Repository of Russian Historical Statistics (ERRHS) with an online public event. Project leaders Gijs Kessler (IISH) and Andrei Markevich (NES and CEPR) talk about their mission and motivation in creating the data-hub and present two use cases of research on Russia’s social and economic development based on the data. Economist and economic historian Amanda Gregg (Middlebury College), a leading specialist on Russian economic history, will act as a discussant.

Format:

  • Welcome by moderator (5 minutes)
  • Introduction ERRHS (10 minutes)
  • Use-case 1: Andrei Markevich, “Historical Regional GDP estimates and Russian economic development” (10 minutes)
  • Use-case 2: Gijs Kessler & Timur Valetov, “Occupational change and industrialization in Russia and the Soviet Union, 1900-2000”(10 minutes)
  • Discussant:  Amanda Gregg (10 minutes)
  • Questions (20 minutes)

Register Here:
https://cepr-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/3016179796971/WN_eH--T5d7RT-90ObiAcpPFg

Matthieu Crozet, Julian Hinz, Amrei Stammann, Joschka Wanner, 05 March 2021

Sanctions are imposed on a target country to exert political and economic pressure. But there is little evidence on how exporting firms regard trade with the sanctioned country. This column uses detailed monthly customs data from French firms to investigate the extensive margin of trade in episodes of sanctions-use against Iran, Russia, Cuba, and Myanmar. It finds the impact of sanctions is heterogeneous along firm dimensions and advises caution in the use of a policy tool with imprecise and unpredictable results.

Bengt Söderlund, 04 November 2020

Strict travel restrictions are preventing business partners from different countries from meeting in person. This column explores the effect of business travelling time on trade using data from the liberalisation of Soviet air space in 1985, which radically reduced flight times between Europe and East Asia. The findings reveal that travelling time can account for most of the trade frictions that cause bilateral trade to sharply decline with geographical distance, suggesting that the current travel restrictions could have large negative effects on trade.

Maria Petrova, 14 August 2020

Xenophobic attacks are on the rise around the world. Does social media help cause them? Maria Petrova tells tim Phillips about shocking new research from Russia.

Vladimir Otrachshenko, Olga Popova, José Tavares, 22 December 2019

There is evidence that hot climatic temperatures and crime are linked. With climate change raising temperatures around the world, it is possible we may see higher levels of personal aggression. Based on data from Russia, this column shows that on hotter days, women are more likely to be killed in homicides, especially over weekends. Colder days have no similar effect on violence. Lower wages and higher unemployment contribute to higher homicide rates, so policies promoting employment may mitigate victimisation during extreme temperature days.

Ruben Enikolopov, Alexey Makarin, Maria Petrova, 17 December 2019

Social media has been labelled a ‘liberation technology’ that empowers ordinary citizens, makes politicians more accountable, and leads to faster democratisation in authoritarian countries. This column estimates the causal effect of social media on politics in a non-democratic environment, using the case of Russia during 2011–2012, a period with the largest wave of anti-government protests since the fall of the Soviet Union. It exploits quasi-random variation in the spread of VKontakte, the most popular social network in Russia, across cities and finds that VKontakte penetration affected both the incidence and the size of the demonstrations by reducing the costs of collective action. 

Irena Grosfeld, Seyhun Orcan Sakalli, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 03 October 2019

It is commonly argued that political instability increases the likelihood of civil conflicts, while economic downturns can trigger civil conflict and aggravate ethnic violence. This column examines how political and economic factors interact to drive pogroms in an environment of widespread antisemitism, using data from the Russian Empire of the 19th and early 20th centuries. It finds that pogrom waves took place when and only when economic shocks coincided with political turmoil, and that occupational segregation between the Jews and the majority played an important role in triggering ethnic violence.  

Çağatay Bircan, Ralph De Haas, 10 August 2019

Recent debates about the global productivity slowdown point to a large and increasing productivity gap between firms operating at the global technological frontier and those trailing behind. This column analyses whether better access to bank credit can accelerate technological diffusion and narrow the productivity gap between leading and lagging firms. Using data from a large emerging market – Russia – it shows that while bank loans can encourage firms to adopt new technologies and become more productive, long-run benefits vary substantially across industries and regions.

Matěj Bělín, Jan Hanousek, 29 April 2019

The annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian Federation in 2014 led to sanctions by the US and the EU, among others, and counter-sanctions by Russia. This column estimates that the value of trade lost due to Western sanctions over 2014-2016 amounts to $1.3 billion, while trade lost due to the Russian counter-sanctions amounts to $10.5 billion. There appears to be no evidence that Russian importers switched between suppliers from sanctioning countries to competitors from non-sanctioning countries.

Andrei Markevich, 09 March 2019

Prior to World War I, many authorities believed that countries with substantial agrarian sectors and grain exports, including the Russian Empire, could overcome war hardships more easily than those countries that imported grain. This column asks why the experts got it wrong in the case of Russia, and concludes that the economics and politics of the Russian grain and labour markets provide the answer. It was impossible simultaneously to mobilise 15 million males into the Russian army, procure the grain to feed them as soldiers, and avoid revolution. 

Filip Novokmet, Thomas Piketty, Gabriel Zucman, 09 November 2017

Russia has undergone a dramatic economic and political transformation since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, yet the consequences on the distribution of income and wealth are not very well documented and understood. This column attempts to combine the various available data sources in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day.

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, 08 March 2017

Over the past decades, economists working on growth have ‘rediscovered’ the importance of history, leading to the emergence of a vibrant, far-reaching inter-disciplinary stream of work. This column introduces the third and final eBook in our three-part series which examines key themes in this emergent literature and discusses the impact they have on our understanding of the long-run influence of historical events on current economics. This volume focuses on the Americas and Europe and examines how events from history have helped shape their post-war economic identities.

Ralph De Haas, Steven Poelhekke, 22 September 2016

The extraordinary expansion in global mining activity over the last two decades, and its increasing concentration in emerging markets, has reignited the debate over the impact of mining on local economic activity. This column analyses how the presence of nearby mines influences firms in eight countries with large manufacturing and mining sectors. Mines are found to out-compete local manufacturing firms for inputs, labour, and infrastructure. However, mining activity is found to improve the business environment on a wider geographic scale.

Matthieu Crozet, Julian Hinz, 05 July 2016

Economic sanctions serve as a foreign policy tool, but they can also hurt domestic firms doing business in the target country. This column looks at the effects of sanctions imposed by 37 countries on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. The estimated loss of exports to Russia totalled $3.2 billion per month between December 2013 and June 2015. This loss was mostly incurred by European economies and in products not targeted by retaliations. French firm-level data points to a deterioration of trade finance services as the dominant mechanism.

Ruben Enikolopov, Maria Petrova, Konstantin Sonin, 20 June 2016

In addition to the traditional mass media, social media has become a channel through which citizens can hold public officials and corporate leaders to account. But social media commentators can be vulnerable to manipulation and reputational damage. This column uses data on a popular blogger in Russia to show that blogs are critical of corruption in state-controlled companies can lead to decreased profit diversion and corruption by the targeted companies. Social media appears to play an important role in improving accountability, particularly when traditional media is censored or political competition is limited.

Pages

Events

CEPR Policy Research