The Baltic Region

2016 Issue №4

Socially efficient entry barriers?

Abstract

Stagnation of the Russian economy lends a new urgency to the question of whether reserves of competition incentives can be used to overcome the current negative economic tendencies. The lowering of entry barriers is traditionally considered a universal instrument of promoting competition. However, lower entry barriers can be mistakenly associated with bringing the market closer to the state of the so-called ‘perfect’ competition. The authors aim to show that the absence of entry barriers does not improve competition in certain markets. On the contrary, it may result in a decrease in social welfare. This is particularly true of capital-intensive goods, for instance, large diameter pipes for gas pipelines. Lack of proper competition in such sectors of the market necessitates entry barriers, for they help to achieve a separating equilibrium at the market. Since there are costs associated with creating a separating equilibrium, it is necessary to assess both costs and benefits of the pooling and separating equilibria.

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Changes in the Population Distribution and Transport Network of Saint Petersburg

Abstract

The authors explores the interdependence between demographic changes and transport network centrality, using Saint Petersburg as an example. The article describes the demographic data for the period 2002—2015 and the transportation network data of 2006. The authors employ several methods of demographic research; they identified the centre of gravity of the population, produce the standard deviational ellipsis and use the kernel density estimation. The street network centrality of Saint Petersburg was analyzed using the Multiple Centrality Assessment Model (MCA) and the Urban Network Analysis Tool for ArcGIS. The analysis of the population distribution in Saint Petersburg shows that each area of the city has seen their population grow over the last thirteen years. However, it is the population of suburban areas that increased the most. The core area of the city has the tendency of outward diffusion, and the population gravity centre has been moving northwards. Spatial characteristics of the population growth, changes in the population gravity centre, the standard deviational ellipse and characteristics of the street network centrality show that Saint Petersburg is at the final stage of urbanization and its development pattern is similar to that of other major cities.

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Geography of Electoral Volatility in the Warmia and Mazury Voivodeship of Poland

Abstract

The authors describe the impact of administrative reforms on the electoral volatility in the Warmia and Mazury voivodeship of Poland. The administrative reforms resulted in the formation of a new territorial organization of power. Using three large administrative units of Poland as an example, the authors analyse the experience of the formation of a geographic region by merging several politically diverse territories. The merger took place in a changing political environment. It inevitably affected the strategy and tactics of the development of local self-governance. The formation of the region has been going on in such a manner that differences in the electoral preferences and political behaviour of the urban population (the regional metropolis) and the periphery remain unchanged. Having performed the index analysis and a comparative analysis of the electoral data, the authors conclude that the consistency of administrative decisions on the formation of the region and the electoral performance have been weakening over time. During the initial phase, the electoral volatility was mainly due to the sluggishness and inertia of the previous territorial organization. After the phase of stabilization, the electoral volatility indices in different geographical areas changed due to a combination of social and political factors. The authors show that the ‘looseness’ of the Polish party system affect the electoral volatility in the region more than institutional decisions of the administrative reforms.

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