February 22, 2008

Inflation in Armenia: What is Happening to Armenian Prices?

CRRC-Armenia and the Department of Economics of Yerevan State University jointly organized a lecture-discussion on "Inflation in Armenia: What is Happening to Armenian Prices?" conducted by IMF Resident Representative in Armenia Dr. Nienke Oomes on February 22, 2008.

The lecture-discussion was focused on the issues such as inflation measurement in Armenia, the activity of the Central Bank, as well as rapid increase of food prices and the low inflation rate. According to Nienke Oomes, Armenian inflation is relatively low compared to other CIS countries and Armenian prices are relatively low compared to prices in advanced countries. However, Armenian import prices are relatively high compared to other CIS countries. Policy recommendations from the IMF Resident Representative in Armenia include making inflation targeting more effective, facilitating reduction in Armenian import prices, tightening fiscal policy and increasing the public’s knowledge of inflation targeting. The lecture-discussion was attended by around 100 researchers, students, business people interested in socio-economic developments in Armenia.

The event was also of high interest to mass-media. As a result, the following articles appeared on the web: IMF indicates lowest inflation in Armenia in CIS and According To IMF Official, More Efficient Policy Of Inflation Targeting Should Be Conducted In Armenia For Neutralization Of Inflation Risks

Presentation slides are available here.

Ms. Nienke Oomes holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), and M.A. degrees from the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and the University of Notre Dame (USA). She has been with the IMF since 2001, and previously held positions as Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as Visiting Professor at the American Institute of Business and Economics in Moscow. Her research covers a wide range of macroeconomic topics, including exchange rate regime choice, money demand, output gaps, equilibrium real exchange rates, diamond smuggling, and dollarization hysteresis. Her work has been published in reputable journals such as International Finance, Economic Systems, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Development Economics, and the Journal of International Money and Finance.

February 21, 2008

Some Results from Data Initiative 2007 Survey Presented to International Community

On February 15, 2008 UN House hosted a presentation of some results from the Caucasus Research Resource Centers Data Initiative 2007 survey conducted by Dr. Hans Gutbrod, CRRC Regional Director. The presentation was specifically targeted at representatives of the international community and international organizations, and also included an overview of how to use our freely available data sets.

Representatives from the variety of organizations including IREX, USAID/ SPSS, Yerevan State University, UNIDO, WHO, UNDP, World Vision Armenia, American Chamber of Commerce in Armenia, IFES, Center for Regional Development Transparency International Armenia, Fund for Armenian Relief of America, Local Government Project III/RTI, Russian, Romanian and Georgian Embassies, TEMPUS, Embassy of USA, ProSME - Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, UN AIDS attended the event.

Presentation slides are available for download in PPT format in English and in Armenian. The brief description of the survey is available as well both in English and in Armenian.

February 11, 2008

Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods of Sociological Research: from Explanation to Understanding

The three hour lecture on "Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods of Sociological Research: from Explanation to Understanding" was conducted by Mr. Victor Voronkov, Director of the Center for Independent Social Research in St. Petersburg on February 8, 2008. The event attracted more than 40 participants from variety of organizations, such as Institute of New Sociological Research, Institute for Ethnography and Anthropology, American University of Armenia, APS Consulting, IREX, MCA Armenia, YSU, Japonica Intersect, Center of Evaluation and Testing, Ministry of Education and Science, ACDI VOCA and others.
The lecture touched upon the problems of the paradigm shift in social sciences, the qualitative vs. quantitative research, and the issue of power. While quantitative research has an advantage of having a higher level of scientific nature, Mr. Voronkov spoke very critically about quantitative research as a way of exploring social reality.

In particular he argued that (1) there is no social fact without its interpretation, (2) even in cases when quantitative methods are justified (i.e. marketing), one can interpret sociological survey anyhow they please.
You can find some of the publications of the Center for Independent Social Research here.