The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 3

Economics

The Baltics on Their Way towards a Circular Economy

Abstract

Circular economy has been studied extensively both in Europe and worldwide. It is largely viewed as a potential strategy for societal development, aimed to increase prosperity while reducing dependence on raw materials and energy. Many businesses regard circular economy as a way to enhance economic growth and increase profits. Governments across the world actively engage in the discussion about the benefits of a transition to a circular economy and about its impact on employment, economic growth, and the environment. This paper aims to study the major issues of circular economy, to identify its advantages, and to offer an insight into the transition stage the Baltic States are undergoing today on their way to circular economy. It is stressed that the Baltic countries are not fully using the opportunities offered by a circular economy. For example, Latvia’s, Lithuania’s, and Estonia’s recycling rates are significantly below those of other European countries. The Baltics depend heavily on EU financial support. An increase in funding will contribute to the implementation of circular economy technologies.

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Minimising Investment Risks Through Optimising Public-Private Partnership: The Case of the Kaliningrad Region

Abstract

This study undertakes a contextual analysis of economic and legal risks associated with investment in the Kaliningrad region. The authors emphasise the importance of public-private partnership (PPP) in minimising such risks in order to enhance the region’s attractiveness and to solve development problems. PPP has never been studied as a means to minimise regional investment risks in current conditions. This accounts for the scientific novelty of examining investment risks minimisation through proving the essentiality of developing PPP mechanisms on a unique Russian territory — the Kaliningrad region. The article analyses current investment risks, conditions, barriers, and avenues to enhance the investment climate in the Kaliningrad region. The authors utilise data on current investment in the region and consider the principles of the region’s investment policy. The study stresses the need to develop the regional economy’s ‘points of growth’ within PPP schemes. It is proposed that the region and its municipalities should participate in partner projects in a manner that, firstly, is transparent to national and international investors and concordant with best practices and, secondly, enables the executive authorities and businesses to collaborate in developing the most efficient legal framework for partnership. The article identifies the role of PPP in solving the problem of regional development and gives recommendations on overcoming barriers and implementing PPP projects in the region.

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Society

Islamic Diffusion in the Baltics: The Fruit of European Multiculturalism

Abstract

This article considers Western Europe as a principal centre that has been attracting migrants over recent decades, primarily, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The Baltic region states are chosen for demonstration. Although they have different proportions of Muslim immigrants, Muslim diasporas are the most numerous and rapidly growing ones in the Baltics. Undoubtedly, Muslim communities across the region enjoy certain similarities. The differences they have are explained, among other factors, by national policies towards migrant integration. This article aims to identify the features of Muslim migration to the Baltic States in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. The authors analyse the timeline of Muslim immigration to the Baltic region. It is stressed that, despite current difficulties, Germany and Finland are more successful in integrating immigrants than, for instance, Sweden and Denmark. Just like other Western European countries, the Baltic States have not developed a conceptual framework for their migration and integration policies towards Muslim immigrants. The authors describe possible Muslim integration scenarios — the Singaporean and Palestinian ones, simulation, and confrontation. Given their apparent conscientious refusal to adapt and integrate migrants, the Baltic States are most likely to face the Palestinian scenario.

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Human Development Index as a Tool to Assess Social Development in the Baltic States

Abstract

Reinvigorating Russia’s development strategy requires a comparison between the social development of the Russian Federation and other Baltic region states, some of which are world leaders in terms of living standards. The most popular tools for country comparison are composite indices that take into account various components affecting the quality of life. This article analyses the current level and changes in the social development of the Baltic States in 1990—2016. The analysis is based on the values of human development index. Having distinct advantages and disadvantages, this index remains to be the most popular and influential tool for assessing a country’s social development. A statistical analysis carried out with the use of HDI values makes it possible to divide the Baltic States into three groups according to their current development level and advancement trajectories. The greatest gap in progress was observed in 2000. Later, it narrowed as the social advancement of the third group — Lithuania, Latvia, and Russia — accelerated. The nature of the Baltic States’ social improvement in 2015—2016 suggests that a decrease in social development rates will be observed in the coming years across the region, and the gap between the countries will increase.

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Satisfaction of Polish Bank Employees with Incentive Systems: An Empirical Approach

Abstract

This article considers employee satisfaction with incentive systems. Strict requirements for the efficiency of human resource management (HRM) and internal public relations make it a major management problem. The importance of this study lies in the fact that incentives affect all stages of HRM. This work reports the results of an empirical survey of Polish bank employees, which was aimed to establish to what degree incentive systems met employees’ expectations, and to analyse the impact of such incentives on employee satisfaction. The authors advance the thesis that male bank employees are more satisfied with existing incentive systems than their female counterparts. The discussion is supported by empirical research based on a sample of 1, 920 Polish bank employees. The article is divided into five sections. The introductory section is followed by Section Two, which reviews employee motivation and analyses the above thesis. Section Three describes data sources and research methods, and Section Four presents findings and conclusions.

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The Denominational Space of Modern Sweden: Christianity

Abstract

This article considers spatial and temporal diffusion of Christian values in Sweden and examines the features of the country’s confessional space. The work aims to identify historical and geographical characteristics of the formation of Sweden’s Christian space and of its current transformation. Another objective is to introduce data on the economic activities of large religious organisations into scholarly use. The relevance of this work lies in the fact that Christianity is the most popular religion in Sweden, given that it is religion that has a profound effect on worldview in a society. The article describes the transformation of territorial and canonical structure of Christian denominations in Sweden. It is argued that, despite secularisation of Swedish society, religion remains a key component in both host and immigrant cultures, which requires a study of the denominational space. Special attention is paid to recent changes in Sweden’s Christian space. The authors emphasise the growing role of the parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, which is manifested in the rising number of religious facilities and a growing territorial presence. This study is the first in its kind to analyse data on the economic organisation of a foreign country’s denominational space. The authors establish a connection between migration processes in a society and changes in the internal structure of its Christian space.

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Territory

Identifying Key Stakeholder Groups for Implementing a Place Branding Policy in Saint Petersburg

Abstract

Regional brands have become a valuable intangible asset and a crucial competitive resource for forging partnerships. An effective place branding policy is impossible without a precise understanding of the interests of stakeholder groups. It is essential to realize that each region is unique in its own way. Territories differ in the structure of stakeholders, their influence on regional development, and the range of leverages over regional decision-makers. This study aims to give a more precise definition of key groups of stakeholders in Saint Petersburg place branding, and to identify them. The authors employ the method of theoretical and empirical typology of a territory’s stakeholders within a theoretical framework proposed by E. Freeman, P. Kotler, S. Zenker, and E. Brown. The article defines the concept of key regional stakeholders and identifies them. The proposed target audience (stakeholder group) model for a place branding policy is tested on the case of Saint Petersburg. The authors show that each target audience of place marketing requires an individual policy. This is explained by the fact that each group enjoys its unique features that should be taken into account when creating and transmitting messages.

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