Thursday, August 18, 2011

Using Social Science in Russia

. Thursday, August 18, 2011

In Russia, social scientists use competing metrics to try to influence policy:

Social science was part of that from early on; one factor in Mr. Putin’s selection as president was a survey that showed that Russians’ most-admired figures were fictional tough guys — the undercover spy Max Otto von Stirlitz and the homicide detective Gleb Zheglov, said Igor V. Zadorin, who headed the Kremlin’s in-house sociology department at the time. ...

The opposite argument is coming from a liberal set of social scientists, who say the data shows the public is demanding a more open and competitive political model.

The economist Mikhail E. Dmitriyev — whose research group was originally founded to shape Mr. Putin’s economic platform— began warning of a “pretty abnormal” spike in dissatisfaction he observed in political focus groups, first among middle-class Muscovites and then appearing in other large cities.


This brings to mind Fabio Rojas' post from the other day. In this case social science is being used to undermine democracy, but only by making Russia's "competitive autocracy" more responsive to citizens. Which is supposedly a key element of democracy. Interesting stuff.

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Using Social Science in Russia
 
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