Impressions from the 19 th April Conference

After the conference is over it’s time to reflect on what this year has brought to plan for the participation in the next year’s event, and The HSE Look talked to several internationally recruited HSE faculty members about what they value most about participating in the April Conference and what topics and discussions they found most interesting this year.

Christian Welzel,  Academic Supervisor of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research:
First of all, the academic and scientific quality of the conference is really high, and second, it brings together people from all the corners of the world, and it is a great networking opportunity. I would also highly recommend it to young researcher, as I see how our PhD students have grown their network over the years of attending the April Conference, which is important for their future career as researchers. Last but not least, it is quite interdisciplinary – you have people from sociology, political science, economics, psychology, urban studies – it’s a great way to learn more from other fields.
The conference is a great chance to see many things in contrast and how they differ between countries, between regions, between cultures, and it’s very relevant to our Lab’s work. In the past we mostly did cross-country comparisons, now the trend is more towards zooming in and doing comparison between different regions inside one country. We want to see if we find the same mechanisms and dependencies as we find across countries. There was one paper, for instance, which looked upon regional differences in Russia in terms of levels of democracy, and was also mapping it to per capita income level, number of peaceful protests, and other variables.
Christian Fröhlich, Assistant Professor at the School of Sociology, Academic Supervisor of the MA programme ‘Comparative Social Research’:
The April Conference has two great assets: first, you get the opportunity to welcome your international colleagues in Moscow, catch up and discuss your current research as well as future collaborations. But, second, the broad topical width of the conference´s sessions provides the wonderful opportunity to get updated on the most current research undertaken by your colleagues in Russia and abroad.
I was very positively surprised by very interesting presentations on urban development. Also, there have been presentations of fascinating and important research on the relation between regional political institutions and popular mobilisation in Russia.

Anastasiya Antsygina, Assistant Professor at the Department of Theoretical Economics:
The conference brings scholars from different fields of Economics and Social Science together. It gives a great opportunity to discuss ongoing research and exchange new ideas. Also, the conference helped me to learn what the colleagues from other departments and centers are working on. This experience provides the ground for future academic collaborations and joint projects.
Tim Jaekel, Assistant Professor at the School of Public Administration:
The April conference to me is an excellent opportunity to get valuable feedback from both my colleagues at HSE and international peers. I presented a recent paper about pay dissatisfaction among Russian civil servants and received extremely useful feedback and critical remarks from the audience and from Professor Tobin Im from Seoul National University in particular who served as a co-chair of the session.
In our session we had three excellent presented papers that all circled around a common theme, namely “what drives people to work as civil servants” and – once they made this choice - whether or not they consider themselves to be “happy people”. Associate Professor Alexander Kalgin presented his latest research result on the link about religiosity and serving in the public sector. Associate Professor

Tamara Nezhina and Professor Alexey Barabashev investigated the work satisfaction of Public Human Resource Managers in Russia. Beyond the originality and findings of individual papers it was great so see that HSE’s School of Public Administration contributes to the current behavioral turn in public management research, since historically public administration in Russia has been analysing rules, and processes, so I am glad to find it taking a turn towards studying the people who work as civil servants.

Read more in The HSE Look May 2018 issue