July 27, 2010

Methodological Training: Modern Economic Growth Theory: Models and Empirical Implications

CRRC-Armenia organized a Methodological Training on the topic of “Modern Economic Growth Theory: Models and Empirical Implications,” conducted by Vahagn Jerbashian from 12-13th of July, 2010.

During the training several neoclassical models of economic growth were presented, such as the models of Solow-Swan, Ramsey, Lucas, Romer, Jones, van de Klundert and Smulders, as well as Kaldor stylized facts of growth. After presenting those models, their weaknesses and shortcomings were discussed and suggestions were made how those models can be used in real-life economy.

During the last lecture STATA was used for analyzing the data on telecommunication in OECD countries starting from 1980s. It was an efficient way of using the theoretical knowledge learned from models for analyzing certain examples from real life.

The Training was mainly attended by young researchers from different educational institutions, as well as different governmental organizations.

By the end of the course the participants who regularly attended the orientation training, received Certificates of attendance.

Vahagn Jerbashian is a doctoral student in Economics at The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education Economics Institute (Prague, Czech Republic) a joined program of Charles University and Czech Academy of Science. He has received his MA in Economics from the same program and has already co-authored a few publications. He has also been a recipient of several grants and scholarships related to his academic career.

The South Caucasus population asks for a stronger European Union

The results of the CRRC’s 2008 Caucasus Barometer (CB) reveal that the population of South Caucasus (SC) is in favour of the EU taking on a stronger foreign policy stance. The SC is considered a region as a whole here, as EU policy towards the SC arguably tends to adopt a regional approach. However, it must be said that Azerbaijan is slightly less enthusiastic about the EU overall than Armenia and Georgia (usually 10 points fewer), which each have very similar results.

The EU does not seem to be perceived as a credible military power and the disagreement about the Iraq war among EU member states is still weakening the image of a united EU. Indeed, 88 percent of the respondents think that the EU should have a rapid military reaction force and 92 percent of them estimate that the EU should agree on a unified stance towards a conflict when an international crisis occurs.

The EU should have a rapid military reaction force that can be sent quickly to trouble spots where an international crisis occurs

When an international crisis occurs, EU Member States should agree on a common position

The idea of a European common voice is furthermore promoted by 84 percent of the respondents who agree with the following statement: “the EU should have its own foreign minister who can be a spokesperson for a common EU position.”

The EU should have its own Foreign Minister who can be a spokesperson for a common EU position

The SC arguably supports an independent EU policy, as 87 percent of people are in favour of an EU seat at the UN Security Council. Surprisingly, 85 percent of the respondents consider that the EU should have an external policy independent of the US. This second statement seems staggering when most of the critics regarding the lack of the EU's commitment in the post-Soviet countries evoke the fear of the EU to be “seen by Russia as a 'geopolitical adversary'” (Halbach, “The EU fears being seen by Russia as a 'geopolitical adversary' in post-Soviet space”, Caucaz.com, 10 Sept. 2006).

The EU should have its own seat at the UN Security Council

EU foreign policy should be independent of US foreign policy

Generally speaking, the EU is seen as an ally rather than a threat by people in the SC. Indeed, according to the research done by the International Republican Institute in 2010 for Georgia and in 2008 for Armenia, 24 percent of the Georgians and 29 of the Armenians see the EU as a possible political or economic partners, compared with the 6 percent of Armenians and the 1 percent of Georgians who see the EU as the greatest political and economic threat. However, the EU might suffer to be seen as a weak ally compare to other international powers as Armenia still considers that Russia is its main partner in the region, Georgians ranks the US as their main partner and Azerbaijan historically sees Turkey as its first ally.

For all the information on the data, you can have a look at CRRC and IRI websites on http://crrccenters.org/sda/

This post is also available on CRRC regional blog

July 20, 2010

Presentation on Corruption Survey Data in Armenia

Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC)-Armenia under the program of USAID Mobilizing Actions Against Corruption (MAAC) has conducted surveys throughout Armenia among households and private enterprises about Corruption in the Republic of Armenia. The surveys were conducted among 1515 randomly selected adult people (at the age of 18 and older) in October of 2009 and 400 private enterprises in January 2010.

The survey questionnaire circulated among households contained 80 questions about the general perception of corruption, the awareness of government actions against corruption, personal experience and other questions. The questionnaire circulated among private enterprises was created by MAAC and later on improved by CRRC-Armenia, in order to reflect the realities in the Republic of Armenia. Along with questions about the corruption perception, the questionnaire contained questions about business environment, additional bureaucratic costs, judicial system and the like.

Some of the main results of the survey are the following: 84% of households find corruption a serious problem in Armenia, while among the private enterprises 90% think so. 59% of households and 73% of private enterprises participating in the survey think that corruption is a “fact of life” in Armenia. Thus, the findings of the surveys show that the private enterprises are more concerned with the problem of corruption.

Moreover, most of the respondents think that the corruption can be reduced in Armenia only by few percents or not at all. Consequently, these findings show the lack of trust among the population of Armenia in fighting corruption.

This was the second survey about corruption conducted by CRRC-Armenia among households and the first one among private enterprises.

CRRC-Armenia has conducted series of public presentations to introduce the project results to the following audiences: NGO leaders, youth activists, academic community and other interested parties. The two most recent dissemination events were the presentation for the public officials and a press conference.

The presentation for public officials took place on 16th July 2010 in Golden Tulip Armenia. It was attended by 35 public officials from various ministries, marzpetarans and other governmental bodies. The survey results were presented by CRRC-Armenia Country Director Heghine Manasyan. The 30-minutes presentation was followed by a number of questions and a discussion about the survey methodology, the importance of such research and surveys, the potential of the Armenian public to combat corruption and the role of the government in fighting corruption.

The Press Conference was held on 20th July in Golden Tulip Armenia. The Press Conference was mainly attended by representatives of printed press and was followed by an active question and answer session by the interested audience.

July 16, 2010

Orientation Training: How to Get Media Resources

On July 15, 2010, CRRC-Armenia organized orientation training, delivered by Ms. Gohar Khachatryan on the topic "How to find Media Resources." Ms. Khachatryan have been working at CRRC-Armenia library since 2006 and has a vast experience for finding different resources for different researchers, students, scientists and other beneficiaries of CRRC-Armenia. She holds MA degree in Political Science and International Affairs from American University of Armenia, as well as Bachelor's degree in Economics from Yerevan State University.

The orientation training was attended mainly by journalists who currently are doing their research for PhD at the department of Journalism of Yerevan State University.

During the training Ms. Khachatryan referred to the Internet as the main source for finding resources - different books, articles and other useful information for researchers. The training was paralleled with the search of literature on the specific topics that were interesting to the training participants, in this way making the orientation training more useful for the audience.