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Regular version of the site

Institutions Matter

We investigate causes and consequences of institutional regimes throughout the world and across Russia. We take advantage of the institutional diversity of the modern world, and within the confines of the Russian Federation, to test various hypotheses on the impact of institutions on economy and society, and on social, economic, and historical roots and drivers of institutional regimes. Our analyses are informed by the growing stream of literature on institutional economics and political economy, and on the latest advances in institutional theory.


We see our main tasks in contributing to the institutional theory and general understanding in institutions evolve and work, and in putting in use new ample sources of empirical data for cutting-edge applied institutional studies. A distinct feature of our approach is integrating culture in our studies; we treat culture as a critically important informal institution, and pay particular attention to the capacity for collective action, also known as social capital.


Our research agenda can be further described by the following list of recently completed, ongoing, and prospective projects.



·     Institutions and the allocation of talent (how institutional quality affects the selection of fields of study by university students)

·     Institutions and human capital (how institutional quality affects economic returns to education)

·     Institutions and visa regimes (how institutions and culture shape visa barriers)

·     Institutions and culture in poly-ethnic societies

·     Role of social capital in the performance of national sport teams

·     Ruling elites rotation and institutional quality

·     Measurement and analysis of corruption using observable data

·     Economic consequences of decentralized corruption

·     Comparative institutional analysis in transition economies: a “critical juncture” effect

·     Coproduction of public goods and services by government and society


Contact: Leonid Polishchuk (lpolishchuk@hse.ru)

Participants: Elena Gaber, Timur Natkhov, Anastassia Obydenkova, Anton Shablinsky, Igor Shagalov, Natalia Vasilenok.


Selected publications:


Polishchuk L., Natkhov T. Quality of Institutions and the Allocation of Talent: Cross-National Evidence, Kyklos, 2019, 72(4), 527-569. 

Gaber E., Polishchuk L., Sokolov K., Stukal D. Chronicles of a Democracy Postponed. Cultural Legacy of the Russian Transition. Economics ofTransitionandInstitutionalChange. 2019, 27(1), 99–137.

Libman A., Obydenkova A. Inequality and historical legacies: evidence from post-communist regions, Post-Communist Economies. 2019, 31(6), 699-724.

Vasilenok N., Polishchuk L., Shagalov I. State and society partnership: a theory and Russian realities. (In Russian) Obshchestvennye Nauki I Sovremennost. 2019. № 2, 35-53.

Polishchuk L., Rubin A., Kochnev R. Corruption as one-stop-shop: A theory and empirical analysis. (In Russian) Voprosy Ekonomiki. 2018. № 9, 32-51.

Vasilenok N., Yarkin A. Who Is Responsible for Security? Labor Division between Public and Private Protection from Crime. (In Russian). Voprosy Ekonomiki,2018,№ 3, 102-129.

Polishchuk L., Sharygina Yu. Gating in Russia: Exit into Private Communities, and Implications for Governance, in: A. Lehavi (ed.), Private Communities and Urban Governance. Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives. Springer, 2016.

Lankina T., Libman A., Obydenkova A. Appropriation and Subversion: Precommunist Literacy, Communist Party Saturation, and Postcommunist Democratic Outcomes . World Politics. 2016, 68 (2), 229-274.

Edachev A., Natkhov T., Polishchuk L. War and Values. Problems of Economic Transition,2016, 58:11-12, 1025-1061.

Baranov A., Malkov E., Polishchuk L., Rochlitz M., Syunyaev G.  How (not) to measure Russian regional institutions. Russian Journal of Economics. 2015. 1(2), 154-181

Polishchuk L., Syunyaev G. Ruling elites’ rotation and asset ownership: implications for property rights. Public Choice. 2015. 162(1), 159-182.

Borisova E., Polishchuk L., Peresetsky A. Collective Management of Residential Housing in Russia: The Importance of Being Social. Journal of Comparative Economics. 2014. 42 (3), P. 609-629.

Polishchuk L. Institutional Performance, in: S. Weber, M. Alexeev (eds). The Oxford Handbook of the Russian Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 189-220.


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