The Baltic Region

2016 Issue №2

Economics

Monotowns: A Quantitative Analysis

Abstract

The authors propose an empirical analysis of the current situation in monotowns. The study questions the perceived seriousness of the ‘monotown problem’ as well as the actual challenges it presents. The authors use a cluster analysis to divide monotowns into groups for further structural comparison. The structural differences in the available databases limit the possibilities of empirical analysis. Hence, alternative approaches are required. The authors consider possible reasons for the limitations identified. Special attention is paid to the monotowns that were granted the status of advanced development territories. A comparative analysis makes it possible to study their general characteristics and socioeconomic indicators. The authors apply the theory of opportunistic behaviour to describe potential problems caused by the lack of unified criteria for granting monotowns the status of advanced development territories. The article identifies the main stakeholders and the character of their interaction; it desc ribes a conceptual model built on the principal/agent interactions, and identifies the parametric space of mutually beneficial cooperation. The solution to the principal/agent problem suggested in the article contributes to the development of an alternative approach to the current situation and a rational approach to overcoming the ‘monotown problem’.

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Structural Changes in the Economy of the Russian Northwest: Spatial Dimension

Abstract

This paper identifies and explains the trends in the economic transformations in the Russian Northwest (NWFD). It studies the changes in the structure of the gross regional product (GRP) and economic specialization of the NWFD regions. The authors suggest approaches to managing structural changes in the economies of the NWFD regions. The authors propose a new method for the identification of the regional economic specialization on the basis of the reginal economy sectoral development rate. The article describes a methodology for identifying the development of the regional economic sectors using the ‘gross value added index’ calculated per capita and per sector against the national average. The article presents the analysis of the structural changes in the NWFD gross regional product. The proposed gross value added index helps to identify the upward and downward trends in each sector compared to the national average. Based on this analysis, the authors describe the nature of changes in the NWFD sectoral specialisation, which correlated with the distance to large economic centres — Moscow and St. Petersburg. The authors prove that the economic development of the Northwest macroregion follows the ‘core-periphery’ pattern. The regional economy structure depends on the position of a given region in relation to the core. Concrete approaches to managing structural changes in the economies of periphery regions are proposed.

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International cooperation

EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region: Challenges and Perspectives of International Cooperation

Abstract

This article describes the main characteristics of international cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) within the framework of the EU macroregional strategy. The analysis of the key directions, structure, and the Strategy implementation mechanisms demonstrates its experimental and innovative nature. At the same time, the authors identify problems and contradictions in the very idea of the Strategy, as well as its actual implementation in intergovernmental relations of the BSR countries. The main factor hampering the Strategy activities is ignoring the key role of Russia the BSR. At the same time, Russia and some non-BSR countries are already members of all significant BSR cooperation instruments. Therefore, there is a need to supplement the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region with the Northern Dimension project. The innovative nature of macroregional cooperation in the Baltic Sea region is manifested in interpreting the region as an indivisible whole rather than an administrative unite serving as a pla tform for various cooperation programmes implemented in its different parts. From this point of view, the Strategy for the Baltic Sea region, apparently inspired by ‘rational functionalism’, can assign a new meaning to the concept of the region.

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Norway’s International Development Assistance Policy in the Current International Environment: Mechanisms of Justification

Abstract

This article addresses the basic mechanisms of Norway’s current Development Assistance policy. The author analyses the strengthening of the financial policy and principal mechanisms for justifying Norway’s participation in the ODA as well as the country’s foreign policy objectives attained through assistance. The article examines specific features of Norway’s development policy, which are crucial to understand contemporary international aid practices. The country’s development policy implemented bilaterally and multilaterally is an effective mechanism of promoting Norway’s economic and political interests. It is also an important subject for research. The authors analyses the evolution of the ODA objectives, its institutions and their international expertise. Special attention is devoted to the current shift of the ODA policy to the issues of its effectiveness. The recent shift to social cooperation development by involving NGOs and private businesses and investing in the social sphere is also examined. The a rticle analyses Norway’s official position on humanitarian assistance in crises and armed conflicts. The author examines a number of cases of Norway’s International Development Assistance policy.

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Human geography

Russia’s Coastal Zone as a Social and Geographic Phenomenon: Conceptualisation and Delimitation

Abstract

This article defines coastal zones as a priority subject of studies in social geography and interprets coastalisation of population and economy as a key indicator of the development of a coastal zone. The author stresses the inverted coastalisation in Russia at the macro- and meso-levels and identifies its causes. The article defines the coastal zone as a full-scale, continuum-discrete phenomenon with clear crossborder characteristics and increased potential for cluster formation in the economy. Marine cross-border clusters are identified as independent typological units. Characteristics and conditions for their formation and development are described in view of contemporary geoeconomic trends. The author examines the conditions and prospects for the formation of marine cross-border clusters in the key segments of Russia’s coastal zone.

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Migration Flows in Europe: Space and Time Transformation

Abstract

One of the key manifestations of globalisation is an increase in the spatial mobility of population involving growing numbers of people into international migration processes. This article is an attempt to assess the density of migration connections between European states based on the 1990—2015 quantitative data. An analysis of migration flows and relevant net migration and net migration and migration localisation at the national and regional levels makes it possible to identify key trends in the spatial and temporal transformation of this phenomenon on the European continent. Calculations suggest that an increase in migration has not narrowed the gap between source and recipient countries but, on the contrary, it has made it more pronounced over the recent decades. The article presents an attempt at classifying European countries by the direction and intensity of migration connections and stresses the impact of international migration on the demographic and sociocultural situation in different European states.

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Russian Northwest: An integral Assessment of the Conditions of Regional Social, Environmental and Economic Systems and Quality of Life

Abstract

The article describes the results of an integral assessment of the regional social, environmental and economic systems (SEES) and the quality of life (QOL) in the regions of Russia’s Northwestern Federal District (NWFD). This work aims at giving an integrated assessment of SEES in the Arkhangelsk and Murmansk regions in comparison to the Moscow region. The authors examine the QOL in 10 NWFD regions, including the Baltic ones. The significance of the research work lies in an integrated and comprehensive assessment of the regional SEES and QOL in 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2013 in view of the effect of priorities within and between groups of assessment parameters. Another important result is the identification of ‘stability limits’, when regions retain their QOL whereas their regional environmental characteristics change. The proposed methodology is based on multi-criteria and integrated approaches, the aggregate index method, and the parameter analysis and synthesis. The assessment of SEES and QOL was performed for five classes (from ‘1 — high’ to ‘5 — poor’) based on calculating statistics for 3—6 groups of assessment criteria at two levels of convolution. The analysis of the data obtained shows an upward trend in QOL in the regions. The authors suggest assessing stability of SEES on the basis of critical values of aggregate indices, at which a given SEES maintain its characteristics and regime properties within a certain QOL class.

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Party systems

Supranational party system of the EU

Abstract

The article confirms the hypothesis that a multiplicity of parties of the European and national levels forms the party system of the European Union (EU). The authors describe the main characteristics of Europarties and political groups comprised of them as key actors in the European Parliament’s (EP) political and legislative processes. The authors adopt the institutional approach and make use of the tools of the comparative, structural, and functional analyses. Special attention is paid to the ‘two-tier’ structure — the connection between national and supranational institutions — as a key feature of the European Union’s party system. The study is based on the European Parliament framework laws, election results, Europarties’ political programmes, as well as on the comparison of the composition of the Europarties and EU bodies. The analysis provides a new perspective on the major processes and contradictions in the functioning of the European Parliament and demonstrates that the transformation of the EU from an intergovernmental association to a (con)federation has not completed yet.

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