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Syllabus of course for ma students, 1st year

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Syllabus of course for MA students, 1st year

Course title: Comparing Societies in Transformation: Trajectories and Systems


Prof. L.Kosals,

Department of Economic Sociology,

Faculty of Sociology, State University - Higher School of Economics

Modules No 3-4

Course brief description

Course examines transformation as a systemic change in three dimensions: social, economic and political. In the focus is the comparison of transformation trajectory and emerging socioeconomic system in Russia with those in Eastern/Central Europe and China. Theoretical foundation is the theory of social change. Various socioeconomic models of capitalism in Russia and in Eastern Europe are comparing with each other and with the Chinese “market socialism”. Vast body of literature on transformation and comparative studies as well as global empirical datasets (sociological surveys, including World Value Survey, European Social Survey, etc.; datasets generated by the World Bank, UN and other international organizations) are used. Students have to prepare papers studying peculiarities of transformation in a specific country and to present them during seminars.

Course Requirements:

  • Country-paper 40%

  • One-page essays 20%

  • Participation in discussions 20%

  • Final exam 20%

Total 100%

Course schedule

Course consists of two sections:

  1. Lectures and discussions of one-page essays;

  2. Preparing and presenting of country-papers with analysis of transformation, its peculiarities, successes and failures. It includes practical exercises in computer lab with sociological datasets.

First Section: Lectures.

1. Soviet system as a starting point of transformation.

Mancur Olson. Why the Transition From Communism Is So Difficult. Eastern Economic Journal, Volume 21 Issue 4; Fall 1995. pp. 437-461

Valerie Bunce. Domestic reform and international change: The Gorbachev reforms in historical perspective. International Organization, Winter 1993. Vol. 47, Iss. 1; pp. 107-138

Осокина Е.А. За фасадом «сталинского изобилия»: Распределение и рынок в снабжении населения в годы индустриализации. 1927—1941.— М.: РОССПЭН, 1999. Глава 3. Предпринимательство и рынок в эру «свободной» торговли

Козлов В. А. Массовые беспорядки в СССР при Хрущеве и Брежневе. (1953 — начало 1980-х гг.). Новосибирск: Сибирский хронограф, 1999. «Беспорядочный» застой. Массовые волнения второй половины 1960-х — начала 80-х гг. Вместо заключения

Шубин А.В. От «застоя» к реформам. СССР в 1977—1985. – М.: РОССПЭН, 2000


Гайдар Е.Т. Гибель империи. Уроки для современной России. М.: РОССПЭН), 2006, Глава 4. Трещины в фундаменте. Советский Союз начала 1980-х годов, §8. Распад СССР: неожиданность, ставшая закономерностью

^ 2. Transformation as a societal change. Theory of anomie.

Piotr Sztompka. The Sociology of Social Change, Wiley-Blackwell, 1993. Chapter 1. Fundamental concept in the study of change, pp. 3-23

Steven F. Messner, Helmut Thome, Richard Rosenfeld. Institutions, Anomie, and Violent Crime: Clarifying and Elaborating Institutional-Anomie Theory. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, Vol. 2 (2) 2008, pp. 163 – 181


Beth Bjerregaard, John K. Cochran. Want Amid Plenty: Developing and Testing a Cross-National Measure of Anomie. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, Vol. 2 (2) 2008, pp. 182 – 193


Baumer, Eric P., and Regan Gustafson. Social Organization and Instrumental Crime: Assessing the Empirical Validity of Classic and Contemporary Anomie Theories. Criminology, 2007, 45:617–63.

^ 3. Trajectories of Transformation: variations and types.

Stark, David and Bruszt, Laszlo. 2001. One Way or Multiple Paths: For a Comparative Sociology of East European Capitalism, American Journal of Sociology, Volume 106, Number 4 (January 2001): 1129-37


Oleh Havrylishyn. Divergent Paths in Post-Communist Transformation. Capitalism for All or Capitalism for the Few? Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Chapter 9. Diverse Outcomes: Liberal Societies, Captured States and Undetermined Politics, pp.255-276

M. de Melo, C. Denizer, A. Gelb, S. Tenev. Circumstance and Choice: The Role of Initial Conditions and Policies in Transition Economies. World Bank Economic Review, Volume 15, Number 1, 1 September 2001, pp. 1-31(31)

John S. Dryzek and Leslie Holmes, Post-Communist Democratization: Political Discourses across Thirteen Countries. Cambridge University Press, 2002. Chapter 16. Differences that matter – and those that do not, pp.255-273

Bonnell, Victoria E. and Thomas B. Gold, eds. The New Entrepreneurs of Europe and Asia: Patterns of Business Development in Russia, Eastern Europe, and China (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2002):

8. Entrepreneurial Strategies and the Structure of Transaction Costs in Russian Business (Vadim Radaev), pp. 191-213;

9. The Embedded Politics of Entrepreneurship and Network Restructuring in East-Central Europe (Gerald A. McDermott), pp. 214-255;

12. Marketing Civility, Civilizing the Market: Chinese Multilevel Marketing's Challenge to the State (Lyn Jeffery), pp. 325-346

David Lane and Martin Myant (eds.). Varieties of Capitalism in Post-Communist Countries. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Post-State Socialism: A Diversity of Capitalisms? (D.Lane)

^ 4. Success and failure in Transformation: from imperfect democracy and market economy to civil war.

Li Bennich-Björkman. The Cultural Roots of Estonia's Successful Transition: How Historical Legacies Shaped the 1990s. East European Politics and Societies, May 2007; vol. 21: pp. 316 - 347.

Richard Whitley, Marco Jaklic, Marco Hocevar. Chapter 14. Success Without Shock Therapy in Eastern Europe: the case of Slovenia, in : Sigrid Quack, Glenn Morgan, Richard Whitley (eds). National Capitalisms, Global Competition and Economic Performance. John Benjamins Publishing, 2002, pp. 291-310

Pavel K. Baev. Defining Civil War by Examining Post-Soviet Conflicts. Terrorism and Political Violence, 19:247–268, 2007

Shale Horowitz. War After Communism: Effects on Political and Economic Reform in the Former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Journal of Peace Research 2003; vol. 40, no. 1, 2003, pp. 25–48

^ 5. Public sector and market system under Transformation: lack of incentives and drive of corruption.

Dagmar Radin. Too Ill to Find the Cure?: Corruption, Institutions, and Health Care Sector Performance in the New Democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and Former Soviet Union. East European Politics and Societies, Feb 2009; vol. 23: pp. 105 - 125.

Keith Darden. The Integrity of Corrupt States: Graft as an Informal State Institution. Politics & Society, Mar 2008; vol. 36: pp. 35 - 59.

Andrew Barnes. Comparative Theft: Context and Choice in the Hungarian, Czech, and Russian Transformations, 1989-2000. East European Politics and Societies, Aug 2003; vol. 17: pp. 533 - 565.

Albats E.M. The Shakedown State: Working paper WP4/2005/01. — Moscow: State University Higher School of Economics, 2005, 40 p.; http://new.hse.ru/sites/infospace/podrazd/uvp/id/preprints/DocLib/WP4_2005_01.pdf

Olga Kolennikova, Leonid Kosals, Rozalina Ryvkina, Yuri Simagin, Deborah G. Wilson. The ‘economic activities’ of Russian police. ^ International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume 10 Number 1, pp. 65-75

Sergey V Shishkin, Vasiliy V Vlassov. Russia’s healthcare system: in need of modernization. BMJ, Volume 338, 2009, pp 21-32

Josse Delfgaauw and Robert Dur. Incentives and Workers.Motivation in the Public Sector. Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper, TI 2004-060/1, 2004, p.34; http://www.tinbergen.nl/discussionpapers/04060.pdf

Rocco Macchiavello. Public Sector Motivation and Development Failures. Paper presented at the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004, p.47; http://repec.org/res2004/Macchiavello.pdf

Public Services Productivity Panel. Making A Difference: Motivating People to Improve Performance, p.27; http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/3AB/45/Making%20a%20Difference.pdf

Nick Manning and Neil Parison. International Public Administration Reform. Implications for the Russian Federation. Washington, D.C., World Bank, 2004. Chapter 7. Implications for the Russian Federation, pp. 54-61; http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2004/01/13/000090341_20040113101409/Rendered/PDF/275820PAPER0In1ublic0administration.pdf

^ 6. Russian capitalism: between bureaucracy and clans.

L.Shevtsova. Russia—Lost in Transition: The Yeltsin and Putin Legacies. Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, 2007. Chapter 11. The Triumph of Bureaucratic Capitalism, pp. 118-131

David Lane and Martin Myant (eds.). Varieties of Capitalism in Post-Communist Countries. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Russian Political Capitalism and its Environment; (P.Hanson & E.Teague)

J.R. Wedel. Clans, cliques and captured states: rethinking ‘transition’ in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Journal of International Development, 2003, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp. 427-440

L. Kosals. Essay on clan capitalism in Russia. Acta Oeconomica, 2007, Vol. 57 (1) pp. 67–85

^ 7. Eastern/Central European capitalism: EU anchor and “bumpy road” to market economy and democracy

David Lane and Martin Myant (eds.). Varieties of Capitalism in Post-Communist Countries. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. Diverging Pathways in Central and Eastern Europe; (M.Knell & M.Srholec); Eastern Germany's Incorporation into the Federal Republic; (R.Schmid); The Czech Republic: From 'Czech' Capitalism to 'European' Capitalism; (M.Myant)

Elena A. Iankova. Eastern European Capitalism in the Making, Cambridge University Press, 2002; Chapter 1. Hybrid Capitalism in the Making, pp. 1-28

D.Stark, L.Bruszt. One Way or Multiple Paths? For a Comparative Sociology of East European Capitalism. American Journal of Sociology. January 2001, vol. 106, no. 4, pp. 1129-1137.

^ 8. Market socialism or first stage of capitalism in China?

Simeon Djankov, Yingyi Qian, Gerard Roland, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. Entrepreneurship in China and Russia Compared. Beyond Transition Newsletter, January-March 2006, Vol. 17, No. 1, p.13

Vladimir Popov. Why Shock Therapy May Lead To Worse Performance Than Gradual Transition. ^ Beyond Transition Newsletter, January-March 2006, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp.14-15

David Lane and Martin Myant (eds.). Varieties of Capitalism in Post-Communist Countries. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. China's Transformation towards Capitalism; (J.L.Wilson)

Sumon Bhaumik and Saul Estrin. How Transition Paths Differ: Enterprise Performance in Russia and China. Journal of Development Economics, Volume 82, Issue 2, March 2007, pp. 374-392

Joachim Ahrens and Philipp Mengeringhaus. Institutional Change and Economic Transition: Market-Enhancing Governance, Chinese-Style. ^ The European Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 3, n. 1, June 2006, pp. 75-102

Mary E. Gallagher. ‘Reform and Openness’: Why China’s Economic Reforms Have Delayed Democracy World Politics Volume 54, No.3, April 2002, pp. 338-372

Christopher Marsh, Learning from your comrade’s mistakes: the impact of the Soviet past on China’s future, ^ Communist and Post-Communist Studies Vol. 36, 2003, pp. 259-72.

Second section. Preparing and presenting of country-papers and one-page essays

One-page essay is preparing for each lecture (except first). It includes short analysis of a chapter (paragraph) of the book or article, length is around 1 page, containing as follows:

  • Brief summary (abstract)

  • Brief criticism, estimation, analysis of weak and strong points, etc.

There are five stages of making country-papers.

Stage 1. Choice of one of the 32 countries in transformation - during two first weeks:

Central Europe and the Baltic states


Czech Republic






Slovak Republic


Eastern Germany

South-eastern Europe


Bosnia and Herzegovina


FYR Macedonia





^ Eastern Europe and the Caucasus







Central Asia


Kyrgyz Republic





East Asia



Initial list of publication for each country will be provided by the instructor.

Stage 2. Analysis of the academic literature and studies done. During this stage student has to write plan of the ongoing country-paper and list of indicators for collection of data to compare situation in country selected with other states. I recommend this plan has to show the following items:

  1. country profile

  2. economic reforms

  3. shifts in social stratification

  4. political reforms

  5. civil society

  6. social consequences of transformation (living standards, inequality, changes in public opinion, values and life happiness, trust)

Student has to create list of indicators to cover major part of these items.

Stage 3. Practical exercises in computer lab with sociological datasets to compute data from the following datasets: Human development index trends (http://hdrstats.undp.org/indicators/10.html), Progress in transition & Transition indicators (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, www.ebrd.com/country/sector/econo/stats/index.htm), Doing Business (World Bank, www.doingbusiness.org), World Development Indicators (World Bank, http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/DATASTATISTICS/0,,contentMDK:20398986~menuPK:64133163~pagePK:64133150~piPK:64133175~theSitePK:239419,00.html), European Social Survey (www.europeansocialsurvey.org), World Values Survey (www.worldvaluessurvey.org), Eurostat (http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page?_pageid=1090,30070682,1090_33076576&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL), Eurobarometer (http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/index_en.htm), Asian Barometer (http://www.asianbarometer.org).

There are planned 3 exercises during 2 hours each in computer lab. Then students have to make data analysis on their own with individual consulting when necessary.

^ Stage 4. Writing up country-paper in genre of academic paper, approximately 20-25 pages, with analysis of transformation course and outcomes in a country selected.

Stage 5. Presentation of country-papers and discussion in classroom - during last 3 weeks.

Sample of the exam task (2011):

Please, choose one of two and write an essay (papers were attached):

1. Yingyi Qian. The Process of China's Market Transition (1978-98): The Evolutionary, Historical, and Comparative Perspectives. Paper prepared for the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics symposium on "Big-Bang Transformation of Economic Systems as a Challenge to New Institutional Economics," June 9-11, 1999, Wallerfangen/Saar, Germany.


Please, explain variations in transformation in China and Eastern Europe (presented in piece: 5. China's Great Transformation: A Challenge to What?) by means of concept of the initial conditions of transformation

2. Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman. A Normal Country: Russia After Communism. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Winter, 2005), pp. 151-174


  1. Agree or not with the basic concept of this paper

  2. Motivation

  3. If agree, whether Hungary, Poland and other Central/Eastern European countries are the normal ones?


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