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On the web since fall 2000

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.

2024. Vol. 25. No. 2

Full text of the journal

Editor’s Foreword (Vadim Radaev)
P. 7–10

New Texts

Marina Shabanova
Unnecessary Items, Waste Issue and Solidarity Practices Among Russian Consumers
P. 11–42

Drawing on the results of three all-Russia representative surveys (2017, 2020, and December 2022, N = 2000 in each case), this study for the first time reveals the data on the level, dynamics and factors related to how Russians engage in various practices of handling underutilized items that have not lost their consumer properties, but no longer needed by their owners. Special emphasis is made on solidarity practices, such as free transfer of such items to strangers and acquaintances (with the exception of relatives) as compared to market practices (sales through Internet platforms, second-hand shops, etc.) and disposing of items in the landfill. The results demonstrate that Russians with different values, socio-demographic and status characteristics exhibit different probability to engage in these practices. Young people (18–34) are a problematic group since they tend to throw items away and engage in market practices rather than in charitable giving. It has been shown that donors’ resource potential (willingness to transfer unwanted items in good condition to other people for free) has substantially declined in 2022 as compared to 2020. However, the donors’ potential has not been fully realized and it still remains fairly significant. Recommendations are made for measures to enhance the role of civil society and productive practices, while reducing the destructive ones in this sphere. The conclusion is made that the practices of discarding unnecessary items are increasingly becoming a tool for manifesting civic responsibility and expanding the boundaries of civil society in Russia.

New Translations

Amitai Etzioni
Happiness is the Wrong Metric: A Liberal Communitarian Response to Populism (excerpt)
P. 43–57

In his Happiness is the Wrong Measure: A Liberal Communitarian Response to Populism, Amitai Etzioni assigns a central place to the issues of ethics, which is considered in an applied way and in various aspects, taking into account the current global and local challenges of specific societies. This book provides a liberal communitarian response to the rise of populism occurring in many democracies. It highlights the role of communities next to that of the state and the market.
The Journal of Economic Sociology publishes the second chapter, which provides a brief overview of diverse perspectives on human nature in various social sciences (economics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology). The author believes that the main problem of the social sciences is that they ignore the idea of a moral fighter. The idea of a moral fighter presupposes an approach according to which a person is involved in an irreconcilable conflict between the search for happiness and the desire to live in accordance with their moral values, which generates a sense of self-affirmation in a person. According to Etzioni, much of the dynamics of human behavior reflects this conflict between the desire for pleasure and the desire for self-affirmation. In this regard, the author believes that the inclusion in social sciences of the idea of a moral fighter, which is present in key religions, would help to advance scientific understanding of what makes people better in society.

Beyond Borders

Ivan Iudin
The Socio-Demographic Portrait and Values of Russian Investment Apps Users
P. 58–87

The past decade saw a rapid increase in the number of retail investors. The number of people holding brokerage accounts in Russia increased from 1 million in 2012 up to 23 million in 2022. This was mostly due to the lower market entry barriers and the widespread adoption of mobile investment apps. This paper examines the factors that influence the use of mobile investment apps, which have become the main tool for mass retail investors in the Russian stock market. This study employs data from the Monitoring Study of Society’s Digital Transformation conducted by ISSEK HSE in 2022. The sample was comprised of 9452 respondents aged 18 and above. The data suggests that despite a rapid increase in number of people with brokerage accounts, only about 4% of adult Russians engage in investment activities using mobile apps. Next, the associations between the use of investment apps and several groups of factors— socio-demographic characteristics, human capital, technological proficiency, and basic human values— were tested. It was demonstrated that investment apps users are typically young, affluent men with higher levels of human capital. They have higher education and engage in additional education and self-education activities. They also show strong innovativeness and low levels of technological discomfort. Their value orientations are characterized by autonomy, power, and universalism, while they do not value conformism and tradition.

Debut Studies

Elizaveta Korotkikh
Educational and Career Trajectories of the Students Completed Vocational and Then College Degree
P. 88–119

This research is aimed at studying the transit trajectory of students’ progress to higher education after achieving vocational qualification. The purpose of this study is to identify factors related to the choice of transit educational trajectory (socio-economic status, academic achievement, personal characteristics) and to assess the return of transit trajectory on the earnings of graduates. In this research, a transit educational route is classified into two types—completed transit (admitted to the university immediately after graduation from college) and continuing transit (admitted to the university some time after graduation). Data for the study were obtained during the national panel within the research project “Trajectories in education and occupation” (TrEC). Regression analysis is used as a method.
There is a significant correlation between the transit trajectory and the student’s high socio-economic status (compared to those with only a TVET diploma) and school performance. However, the entry into transit is more dependent on socio-economic status, as the importance of learning outcomes is significantly reduced when this variable is added to the model. Thus, the transit educational route is not a channel of social mobility, but rather a tool of reproduction of high-status positions.
The work experience of a “transit” graduate gives a significant return on wages, but graduation from college by 24 years does not create such a return. Thus, in terms of human capital theory, recent “transit” collegecollege graduates have a more specific human capital return compared to those who completed their education and accumulated total human capital.

Professional Reviews

Ilya Ermolin
Illegal Wildlife Trade: Prospects for Economic Sociology
P. 120–147

IIllegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) is ranked as the fourth biggest illegal activity worldwide after arms, drugs and human trafficking. While it has been intensively explored to date, theoretical approaches grounded in economic sociology remain nascent. This article starts from reviewing the interdisciplinary approaches to IWT, with a special focus on whether organized crime can be associated with IWT. After сhoosing the pipeline model to examine the structure of the illegal market, the author consistently reviews the following stages of IWT: extraction, intermediation, and consumption. The research identified organized poaching and deliberate by-catch in marine illegal activities as two interchangeably developed phenomena that have given rise to the IWT commodity chains worldwide since the 1980s-1990s. Deliberate bycatch has been reviewed for the first time. The author connects the origins of the present-day large-scale IWT with the collapse of colonialism and socialism that nevertheless should be treated differently. Intermediary as a key actor in the trade chain is characterized according to functions and roles they play in the IWT: exporter/importer, consolidator, fixer, transporter and craftsman. Sociologists who study IWT primarily examine various aspects of consumption including household consumption, conspicuous (face) consumption, social legitimacy of poaching practices, and consumption of goods used as natural remedies for diseases. Based on the literature review, the author offers economic sociologists to look at the IWT as the one of the most socially embedded phenomena among those studied within sociology of markets. First, it would allow us to research the activities of self-sustaining household as the main actor of IWT. Second, it would give us a chance to understand shifting legal regimes that determine changes in the legality and legitimacy of economic transactions of actors in the market.

New Books

Dmitry Popov
A Professional and His Work: Is Human Capital Important in Contemporary Russia?
Book Review: Tikhonova N. E., Latov Yu. V., Karavay A. V., Latova N. V., Slobodenuk E. D. (2023) Human Capital of Russian Professionals: Current State, Dynamics, Factors. Moscow: FCTAS RAS. 488 p. (in Russian)
P. 148–159

This publication is a review of (and а reflection on) the recent book “Human Capital of Russian Professionals: Current State, Dynamics, Factors” published by the Russian Academy of Sciences. Over the past two decades, research has repeatedly shown that the value of human capital (at least in developed Western countries) has exceeded the value of physical capital, and it is human capital that largely determines modern economic development. Therefore, interest in human capital remains at a consistently high level, especially with regard to the research and assessment of its macroeconomic effects. At the same time, the original theory that appeared in the 1950s–60s within the Chicago school of economics defined human capital at the microeconomic level as the result of a person’s investments in his own life and his own development. The authors of the book under review attempt to comprehend sociologically human capital, revealing that behind the rather abstract idea of capital there are specific social actors—people and social groups. This perspective aligns the idea of human capital more closely with its original interpretation. The authors of the book raise the question about the significance of professionalism and, more generally, human capital (primarily knowledge, abilities, skills) within the social system of modern Russia, exploring whether they give advantages to their “bearers.” Despite its apparent obviousness and simplicity, this question turns out to be remarkably complex. The observed advantages for holders of extensive professional knowledge and skills in the post-Fordist knowledge-intensive economies (expressed in social dynamics, income, social prestige) may not be readily available to professionals in Russia. One of the pessimistic conclusions of the book is that Russian society is “stuck” somewhere in the transition to a postmodern economy and the inevitability of this transition seems to be less evident today. Apparently, professionalism and human capital play a different role in modern Russia in comparison with Western economies, which forces us to look differently at issues of dynamics, structure and social development.

Supplements (in English)

Azamat Valei, Suleiman Mamman
The Impact of Socioeconomic Factors on BRICS Migrants in the Russian Federation
P. 160–176

Within the last decade, the Russian Federation has witnessed an unprecedented growth in migrants’ inflow placing it amongst the top destinations for transnational migrants. This trend includes members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) economic bloc whose obvious increase started in the post-2010 era. Thus, it is unclear whether the economic cooperation has facilitated migration flow or other socioeconomic factors which could be explained by the Pull-Push theory are responsible. The study carried out an empirical assessment of the socioeconomic factors that determine BRICS migrants to Russia on a macro scale using data from the member states that include Brazil, India, China, and South Africa. The heterogeneous panel model was adopted as the analytical method. The result reveals a negative effect of Russian wages on immigrants’ inflow while GDP per capita had a positive effect. For the push factors, unemployment had a positive and significant effect in the short run but not so in the long run. Also, the population had a negative and insignificant effect in the short run but a positive and significant effect in the long run. The income differentials were also found to be positive and significant in the model. Lastly, there was evidence of policy effect on the migrants’ movement; however, concerning BRICS countries, there was rather a negative effect of migration policy on the immigrants mobility.

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