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Regular version of the site
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Ageing Can Drive Progress

Population ageing is likely to boost medicine, nanotechnology and robotics, but increase political risks.

July 25

Mathematics to Help Diagnose Cancer

HSE researchers have developed a new mathematical model to predict breast cancer growth and the occurrence of metastases.

July 04

Higher Wage Expectations Can Bring Higher Wages

According to HSE researchers, the higher a job applicant's wage expectations, the more likely they are to earn a higher wage in their next job.

June 07

Russian Researchers More Likely Than Foreign Peers to Work Simultaneously in More Than One Country

One in ten Russian researchers who publish prolifically are working simultaneously in more than one country. According to HSE researchers, they are usually attracted to countries such as the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K.

June 06

Publications

THE RECIPE FOR DEMOCRACY? THE SPREAD OF EUROPEAN DIET AND POLITICAL CHANGE

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.

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Basic research program. WP BRP. National research university Higher School of economics, 2016. No. 70.
Jun 21, 2016

Formation of homophily in academic performance: students prefer to change their friends rather than performance

Homophily, the tendency of individuals to associate with others who share similar traits, has been identified as a major driving force in the formation and evolution of social ties. In many cases, it is not clear if homophily is the result of a socialization process, where individuals change their traits according to the dominance of that trait in their local social networks, or if it results from a selection process, in which individuals reshape their social networks so that their traits match those in the new environment. Here we demonstrate the detailed temporal formation of strong homophily in academic achievements of high school and university students. We analyze a unique dataset that contains information about the detailed time evolution of a friendship network of 6,000 students across 42 months. Combining the evolving social network data with the time series of the academic performance (GPA) of individual students, we show that academic homophily is a result of selection: students prefer to gradually reorganize their social networks according to their performance levels, rather than adapting their performance to the level of their local group. We find no signs for a pull effect, where a social environment of good performers motivates bad students to improve their performance. We are able to understand the underlying dynamics of grades and networks with a simple model. The lack of a social pull effect in classical educational settings could have important implications for the understanding of the observed persistence of segregation, inequality and social immobility in societies.

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Smirnov I., Thurner S.
arxiv.org. physics.soc-ph. Cornell University, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

The Efficiency of Regional Higher Education Systems and Competition in Russia

The paper explores the correlation between the degree of competition between higher education institutions (HEIs) and the efficiency of regional higher education systems using evidence from the Russian Federation. The choice of the regional system of higher education as a unit of analysis is explained by the features of the Russian system of higher education, especially by “closeness” in the borders of regions. We propose a special approach for the evaluation of the regional higher education system efficiency from the public administration perspective. Using data envelopment analysis (DEA), we investigate the efficiency of higher education systems in the regions and compare the results with the extent of higher education competition within them. The results indicate that higher efficiency scores and higher competition between HEIs in Russian regions are positively correlated. Moreover, by introducing socio-economic context status as a grouping parameter, we are able to specify the conditions of this relationship. The study explores that correlation between efficiency and competition is stronger in developing and low-performing regions. At the same time, higher education systems in developed regions consist of different HEIs, which create a competitive environment, although their efficiency level varies considerably. Taking into account all limitations of the study, these results contain several important issues for policy-making and higher education research discussions. They challenge the universalistic assumptions for the direction of higher education development.

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Экономика региона. 2016. No. 2. P. 417-426.
Jun 6, 2016

The use of medical care and out-of-pocket payments in Russia

Background: Despite the constitutional right of all Russian citizens to free medical care, out-of-pocket payment is a widespread phenomenon for all types of medical treatment. The aims of this paper are twofold: To present new evidence on the use of, and payment for, outpatient and inpatient treatment in Russia; and to compare the motivations behind both official and informal payments for outpatient services provided in public medical institutions. Methods: This study uses data from a quantitative household survey conducted in April 2014. The sample comprised 1602 individuals aged ⩾ 18 years, representing the entire adult population of the Russian Federation. We studied three types of medical care: inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment and medicines. Results: Our study found that 22.2% of patients pay for outpatient services, 37.5% pay for inpatient services and 91.5% pay for outpatient medicinal treatment. The informal payments are almost equally met in both outpatient (13.4%) and inpatient (12.2%) care; while the official payments are more common in inpatient care (25.2%), compared to outpatient care (8.8%). The main reasons for informal payment include: improvements in the quality of care and gratitude for medical staff. The official payments are more frequently motivated by an inability to receive a certain treatment free of charge. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that both official and informal payments for medical treatment are widespread in Russia: Informal payments are strongly preferred over official payments for outpatient care, while official payments dominate in inpatient care.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2016. Vol. 44. No. 5. P. 440-445.
May 21, 2016

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves! A Study of User-Innovation in Russia

  This paper studies the specificities of Russian user-innovators on a sample of 1670 home interviews. The percentage of end users who innovate in their daily life in the Russian population and the willingness to share one’s ideas and developments is much higher in comparison to western countries and probably historically rooted in long-standing community activities which spread during soviet times. Our data suggests the existence of two different groups of user- innovators: one group of urban, male, well educated, and financially better-situated individuals who innovate for career reasons (or for fun) vs. a much more diverse group of small town folks who innovate out of necessity. While the first group confirms findings well described in the literature, the second group seems to be unique to developing markets and to Russia in particular. User-innovation happens also in remote areas, and among user groups outside of the working age. As these user-innovators are reluctant to share their innovations with others and would rather keep them for themselves, a great source of ideas and commercial opportunity remains untouched. Russia’s innovation system has so far concentrated on the classical innovation modes around major cities or big companies. Given Russia’s extensive presence of user-innovators, it might be a promising policy move to provide greater support to existing and emerging amateur communities. We believe that our study adds insights into the informal and totally neglected viewpoint on Russia’s innovation.  

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SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, INNOVATION. НИУ ВШЭ, 2016. No. 59.
Jun 21, 2016

Attitudes to homosexuals in Russia: content, structure, and predictors

Despite the growth of negative attitudes to homosexuals in Russia the research into this topic has been extremely scarce. Based on the analysis of social discourse, we have created a pool of items and undertaken three empirical studies aimed to develop and validate the Russian Attitudes to Homosexuals Inventory (RAHI) and investigate the associations of homophobic attitudes with a range of demographic and psychological variables. In Study 1 we used an online sample (N = 1,007) and explored the structure of the item pool, finding 8 factors, 5 of which referred to different dimensions of perceived threat of homosexuals (to individuals, morals, society, Russian culture, and heterosexual lifestyle) and 3 described social strategies directed at homosexuals (criminal punishment, medical treatment, and discrimination vs. protection). The scales were highly reliable (α = .82-.91) and formed a single second-order dimension, labelled general index of homophobia. Negative attitudes to homosexuals were stronger in males, religious respondents, and those heterosexuals who denied having experienced any feelings of same-sex attraction in their life. In Study 2 (paper-based sample, N = 292) we cross-validated the second-order structure of the RAHI. Using hierarchical multiple regression we found that homophobia was positively predicted by authoritarianism and negatively predicted by experience of same-sex attraction and social contact with homosexuals as friends. We also found weaker positive associations of homophobia with religiosity, social identification with gender, masculinity, extraversion, and social desirability, as well as a negative association with openness. In Study 3 we used contrast groups of neutral and anti-homosexual online community members (N = 330 and N = 107) to check the criterion validity of the RAHI. The findings are in line with the existing body of research from other countries, but reveal the culturally-specific features of the content of Russian homophobia (e.g., homosexuality is viewed as a result of Western influence). The RAHI emerged as a valid and reliable tool, which can be used for future Russian-language studies.

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Gulevich O., Osin E. N., Isaenko N. et al.
Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics. 2016. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 79-110.
May 15, 2016

Videos

Dr. Matteo Feurra: "Brain Stimulation and Cognitive Functions"

May 27