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Journal of Economic Sociology is indexed by Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) from Web of Science™ Core Collection

Funded by the National Research University Higher School of Economics since 2007.

2016. Vol. 17. No. 1

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 8–12


Thomas Piketty
Interview with Thomas Piketty: “One can Push History Out but It Immediately Comes in through the Window”
P. 13–21

Thomas Piketty, Professor of Economics at the EHESS and at the Paris School of Economics, was interviewed by Olessia Kirtchik, Leading Research Fellow at the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities at the Higher School of Economics. The interview was conducted during Prof. Piketty’s visit to Moscow in November 2015 when he gave lectures and introduced the Russian translation of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Moscow: Ad Marginem Press, 2015). The Piketty's lecture at Higher School of Economics was arranged by the Laboratory for Studies in Economic Sociology (HSE) and the Franco-Russian Research Center in Moscow with support from the French Embassy and French University College in Moscow.
In the interview, Prof. Piketty expressed his skepticism about economists’ tendencies toward using formal models. Early on, he recognized the limits of an economic approach that was applied in ignorance of history. This profoundly affected his future academic career. He admits that his successful research on inequality was possible only in cooperation with other social disciplines. In addition, Prof. Piketty talked about main ideas of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and its restrictions. In particular, he pointed out that there has been insufficient attention toward economic growth.In his opinion, in order to explain economic growth, one should take into account historical perspective and analyze government’s policies toward public education and the health system. The French economist also noted his intention to reconcile Karl Marx and Pierre Bourdieu’s conflicting views on a relationship between economic and cultural forms of inequality.

New Translations

Robert M. Solow
Stray Thoughts on How It Might Go
P. 22–29

The idea of the book, In 100 Years: Leading Economists Predict the Future, edited by Ignacio Palacios-Huerta (MIT Press, 2013), is to demonstrate the predicting powers of economics. Relying on practical experience, theoretical knowledge about mechanics of the economy, and professional intuition, distinguished economists make their century-ahead forecast. The book contains ten essays, including ones written by Nobel Memorial Prize Laureates Angus Deaton (2015), Robert J. Shiller (2013), Alvin E. Roth (2012), and Robert M. Solow (1987). Prominent social scientists try to predict what kind of future awaits labor, inequality, world economy lineup, technology, etc.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the Russian translation of the essay “Stray Thoughts on How It Might Go” by Robert M. Solow. The author sounds modestly pessimistic, expecting the coming decades to be far more troubling and difficult than the twentieth century. The main sources of uncertainty and future changes are the evolution of decisions about work and leisure, relative growth of developed countries and emerging economies, the impact of climate change on economic growth, changes in proportion in which income is divided between labor income and capital, and the overall political environment.

Beyond Borders

Irina Monakhova
Factors of Satisfaction with Work–Life Balance: A Case of Freelancers
P. 30–61

The present study focuses on an analysis of the factors in satisfaction with work–life balance in the case of Russian-language freelancers. The study is based on the demands-resources approach, which divides all factors of satisfaction with work–life balance into demands reducing the satisfaction and resources increasing it. The general purpose of the research is to study factors of satisfaction with work–life balance in terms of demands and resources among freelancers.
The study is conducted in the context of a sequential strategy of biphasic mixed methods design with the following sequence of stages: preliminary qualitative input and quantitative research. The first task is to classify factors as belonging to demands or resources in work or family pheres on the basis of the literature review. The second task is to determine whether freelancers think in terms of demands and resources, or whether these categories are only abstract theoretical constructs. The third task is to examine the theoretical connection of factors to demands or resources.
The list of factors in satisfaction with work–life balance, which contains factors, their theoretical and empirical descriptions (regression coefficients and qualitative interpretations), is presented as the final result of the study. It indicates not only the increase in the knowledge of factors in satisfaction with work–life balance but also the contribution to mixed methodology through description of the integration of quantitative and qualitative data.

Debut Studies

Anastasiya Dushina, Yuliya Kersha, Tatyana Larkina, Darya Provorova
Legitimation of Commercial Surrogacy in Russia
P. 62–82

In modern life commodification has become a widespread phenomenon. A prime example of unique object commodification is commercial motherhood surrogacy motherhood, within which maternity turns from “the women’s social mission” into a service where human life is a final product of monetary transaction. According to Igor Kopytoff, violation of the border between commodities and unique objects leads to the undermining of social order [Kopytoff 2006]. Nevertheless, the existence of commercial surrogacy does not bring disorder, and therefore, the question is: how can this commercial service be functional and legitimate in society? The study is based on the analysis of 14 interviews with staff members of Moscow reproduction clinics and agencies providing the legal support services for surrogate mothers. The authors show that identification of the child’s status, selection of potential parents and surrogate mothers, as well as the regulation of relations between them by staff members, are formed in a way to fit the notion of kinship in accordance with the Euro-American theory of David Schneider [Schneider 1980]. The theory has at its core the idea that kinship relations are primarily determined by common genetic substance and secondarily by social relationships based on specific behavior patterns in the family. This leads to the priority of genetic kin in the creation of kinship ties perception and the decreasing significance of the gestational relationship. Thus, staff members’ recognition of the genetic ties as dominating above all allows for legitimation of commercial surrogacy as a whole and in its organizational aspects through decommodification of the child, who is no longer considered an object of market transaction.

Professional Reviews

Mariya Goleva, Ivan Pavlutkin
Social Networks and Fertility
P. 83–98

Despite the predominant view of fertility as a rationally planned and independent behavior, more and more papers appear that emphasize the need to include measures of social networks and social interactions in fertility research. In this review we discuss several arguments to consider fertility as a socially embedded process. The notion of social embeddedness expresses the shift from the macro and micro levels of analysis to the meso level, disclosing the influence of weak ties (friends, peers and co-workers) and network mechanisms on bearing children and becoming parents. The integration of social influence models into the research on fertility behavior enables students to explain the gap between intentions to have a child and actually becoming a parent in terms of interaction between weak and strong ties. The impact of network mechanisms is tested for different number of births, timing of marriage, and transition to parenthood. Several types of network mechanisms are distinguished: social learning, social contagion, social pressure and social support. Social learning concerns circulation of relevant information and experience exchange with friends, peers and co-workers. Social support involves mobilization of strong and weak ties for material and emotional maintenance in pregnancy, childbearing, childcare, and decision making on new births. Social learning and social support play a decisive role in reducing uncertainty and costs related to childbearing and childcare, especially for countries will low levels of economic sustainability and generalized trust. Social contagion and social pressure are mechanisms that express vertical and horizontal processes of social diffusion related to the spread of social norms and settings on marriage and parenthood. A network approach provides new insight on the role of education, age and religiosity in fertility decisions.

New Books

Daniel Shestakov
On Inequality of Outcomes. Book Review: Piketty Т. (2015) Kapital v XXI veke [Capital in the Twenty-First Century], Moscow: Ad Marginem Press (in Russian); tr. from: Piketty T. (2014) Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press
P. 99–112

The much awaited appearance of the Russian translation of Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Tomas Piketty marks a milestone, and also brings an occasion to discuss the book’s main arguments as well as the arguments of its critics. Piketty charts the evolution of income and capital inequality in developed nations through the last two centuries. He states that despite what has been said in previous literature, inequality evolves in a U-shaped pattern with the bottom of the U being the three postwar decades. Piketty suggests that capitalism is hardwired to increase inequality due to what he calls three fundamental laws of capitalism. The most important third law states that inequality will grow as long as return on capital (r) is greater than output growth rate (g). While Piketty’s data seems like an accurate description of what occurs, Piketty’s theory had been met in a most unwelcome manner. Critics claimed that Piketty’s laws are not laws at all, and are actually either accounting identities or plainly incorrect statements. In this review, I also trace Piketty’s work to two particular traditions in social sciences: cliometrics — particularly the version known as series history — and to analytical Marxism. Seeing both of these traditions will help us to place Piketty’s book within the context of twentieth-century social science rather than isolated phenomena.

Greg Yudin
Debt Books and a Book on Debts. Book Review: Graeber D. (2014) Dolg: pervye 5000 let istorii [Debt: First 5000 Years], Moscow: Ad Marginem Press (in Russian); tr. from: Graeber D. (2011) Debt: First 5000 Years. Brooklyn, New York: Melville House
P. 113–121

David Graeber’s Debt is certainly among the most prominent social science books of the last decade. It undertakes a careful analysis of the nature of debt and suggests a new vision of a number of economic and political phenomena — money, exchange, market, state. The research is particularly interesting for shedding a light on the moral foundations of economic behavior. Graeber studies the moral dimension of markets and develops a powerful tool for concrete analysis of contemporary economy in its relation to power, inequality, and international politics. The book takes for its main objective an explanation of why we tend to believe that ‘one has to pay one’s debts’ regardless of circumstances. A historical-anthropological investigation demonstrates that money debts are closely linked to both expansion of markets and strengthening of states. The book is addressed to a wide audience; however, it is also a highly valuable source for anthropologists, sociologists, historians and political philosophers.
In the published book review, G. Yudin continues to discuss Graeber’s monograph.1 He unfolds the key ideas, demonstrates their contributions to research discussions on moral economy, and indicates the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian translation.

Supplements (in English)

Vadim Radaev
Relational Exchange and the Degree of Embeddedness: An Empirical Study of Supply Chains
P. 122–134

This paper focuses on the relational aspect of embeddedness and examines direct interfirm exchange in supply chains. We distinguish between the transactional and the relational forms of exchange and construct an original typology of their constitutive elements, which we attach to the phases of the interfirm contract cycle. An index of relational exchange is built measuring the degree of embeddedness in the supply chain relationships. Regression models are used to reveal the factors that facilitate relational exchange, including the firms’ location in the supply chain, the type of product, and the intensity of the interactions between exchange partners. Empirical data were collected by the author and the research team in 2010 from the grocery and home electronic appliances sectors, which account for approximately 50% of sales in Russian retailing. In total, 512 questionnaires were completed by the managers of retail chains and their suppliers in five of Russia’s cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, and Tyumen. On average, 50 retailers and 50 suppliers were interviewed in each city area.

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