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Regular version of the site

Events - 2020


On June 4 and 5, 2020, the Institute for Social Policy hold the online workshop on Covid-19 pandemic and social protection policies INCOME, POVERTY AND EMPLOYMENT IN THE ERA OF COVID-19: ANTI- AND POST-CRISIS SOCIAL PROTECTION POLICIES organized in partnership with the World Bank and the Financial Research Institute (NIFI).


The event inaugurated by Lilia Ovcharova, Vice Rector, Director of the Institute for Social Policy, HSE, and Renaud Seligmann,Country Director and Resident Representative for the Russian Federation, World Bank, and Vladimir Nazarov, Director, NIFI, heard experts from China, Germany, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the USA, and gathered more than 100 people all over the world.

For the world economy, the present crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be the deepest one over the last century: according to estimates, the global GDP can contract by 4-5% on the average (according to Oxford Economics and Fitch). The pace of changes and developments make this crisis an unprecedented one.

In response, the governments must act quickly, ambitiously, and resolutely. But what can this forced haste lead to, how will it affect the efficiency of decision making and the outcome of the anti-crisis measures?

As for the efficiency of the decisions taken in the sphere of social protection, it will depend on two parameters. One is the growth of poverty – globally, the poverty rate can increase for the first time since 1998 (according to the World Bank). The other is the contraction of incomes caused by unemployment, whose growth caused by lockdowns is noted everywhere – from China, Eurozone and the USA, to Russia, where unemployment doubled over a single month, reaching 1.4 million.

Even a quick look at how the decisions on social support policies were taken in different countries and at what these policies are shows that the differences in national approaches go beyond the financial and resource limitations faced by respective governments. Evidently, in each case the policies are shaped by the set of local factors and circumstances.

The topics proposed for discussion were the following:

1. What anti-crisis measures of social protection were taken by the Governments? What approaches lie at the basis of the proposed measures? What circumstances determine the choice of these measures? What are the social risks that the proposed measures are seeking to mitigate?

2. How effective are the proposed anti-crisis social protection measures? More generally, how can one evaluate the efficiency of social protection policies in these new conditions? How the efficiency criteria change, and how they should change in future?

3. What managerial and administrative decisions have been taken by the governments and administrative authorities in order to increase the accessibility of social protection benefits? What solutions proved to be the most fitting ones?

4. What are the key constraints? What will happen should the crisis be protracted? How to finance SP programs? Which programs may be possible/ feasible in a situation of depression, low fiscal revenues, high unemployment and millions of people seeking support?

5. What awaits the systems of social protection in future, in the post-crisis era, how will they evolve? What shall be objectives and priorities of social protection? What will be the roles of the contributory and non-contributory, of the mandatory and voluntary social protection transfers?

The first day were devoted to the International Experience.
Workshop video recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq7EFcUCZls&t=23s (English, June 4)



Ruslan Yemtsov, Human Development Program Leader for China, Mongolia and Korea, World Bank

Learning from countries SP responses to crisis: how Russia and China compare to the global picture?


Nithin Umapathi, Senior Economist, Social Protection and Jobs, World Bank

Roman Zhukovskyi, Strategy Officer, World Bank

Maria Nagernyak, Deputy Vice Rector, HSE, Russia

General Framework and Cases of Byelorussia, Bulgaria, Moldova



Robert Joyce, Deputy Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies, UK

Case of the UK


Jerzy Bohdanowicz, Project Leader, Multi-Agency Project to the Further Integration of Foreigners in the Labor Market, Ministry of Labor of Germany and German Trade Union Confederation

Case of Germany


Mark Blecher, Chief Director: Health and Social Development, National Treasury, South Africa

Case of South Africa

The second day inaugurated by Oxana Synyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, and moderated by Olessya Feoktistova, Head, Social Finance Center, NIFI, Russia and Olga Voron,Counsellor to Vice Rector, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, heard to the Russian Regions’ approaches.
Workshop video recording https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1UtmseL4Rc&t=4s​ (Russian, June 5)



Elmira Zaripova, Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Protection, Republics of Tatarstan 


Ilya Semyashkin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Protection, Republic of Komi

Adar Sumin, Minister of Labor, Social Development and Employment, Republic of Altai


 Olga Evstigneeva, Chairman, Social Protection Committee, Region of Pskov

Dmitri Bychkov, Leading Research Fellow, Social Finance Center, NIFI, Russia and Elena Gorina, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Studies of Income and Living Standards, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, joined the discussion as panelists.

Traditionally, the seminar was summed up by Lilia Ovcharova, HSE vice Rector.



On April 14, 2020, the Institute for Social Policy hold the online Academic Workshop Assessing the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Russian Labor Market and Extra-budgetary Funds.

The event inaugurated moderated by Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, heard the discussion assured by Evgeny Yakushev, Head, Laboratory for pension system development, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, Natalia Akindinova, Director, Center of Development Institute, HSE, Vladimir Gimpelson, Director, Center for Labor Market Studies, HSE, and Alexander Safonov, professor, Financial Academy under the Government of the Russian Federation.

The COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the sustainability of labor markets and existing social security institutions. The discussion paper Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Social Security Institution recently published by the Institute for Social Policy tries to simulate the relationship between the Coronavirus pandemic, the measures taken by the State to stem it and the economic activity, the wage fund and extra-budgetary funds. How will the crisis in Russia develop further? What is its fundamental difference from the crises of 2008/9 and 2014? How will the economy, labor markets and social institutions react to it?

The participants of the online discussion considered the features of actual crisis, possible reactions of the labor market to it. They also presented their assessments of structural changes in the economy and the formation of incomes, the impact of the crisis on the formal and informal sectors of the economy, and its impact on social insurance institutions, including taking into account the proposed measures to support the population.

Video is available here.

Yakushev_Online Workshop ISP_14-04-2020 RUS (PDF, 935 Kb) 

Related publication: Kommersant (15/04/2020) 


On February 26, 2020, the Institute for Social Policy at the National Research University Higher School of Economics presented the World Bank book Exploring Universal Basic Income. A Guide to Navigating Concepts, Evidence, and Practices. The book’s presentation was assured by Ruslan Yemtsov, Human Development Program Leader for China, Mongolia and Korea and one of the book’s authors.

The event inaugurated by Lilia Ovcharova, Vice Rector, Director of the Institute for Social Policy, HSE, and Renaud  Seligmann, Country Director and Resident Representative for the Russian Federation, World Bank, heard the discussion assured by Rostislav Kapeliushnikov, Deputy Director, Center for Labor Market Studies, HSE, Evgeny Gontmakher, Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, HSE, Oksana Sinyavskaya, Deputy Director, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, Svetlana Mareeva, Center Director, Center for Stratification Studies, Institute for Social Policy, HSE, Elena Grishina, Head of the Laboratory for Living Standards and Social Protection Research, Institute of Social Analysis and Forecasting, RANEPA, and Elena Nazarbaeva, expert, Centre for Studies of Income and Living Standards, Institute for Social Policy, HSE.

For quite a long time, the idea of universal basic income (UBI) was theorized with hundreds of books and articles. The endless disputes about the feasibility of UBI absorb a lot of effort and attention and confuse with a variety of interpretations and controversial assessments. To understand why it has persistently returned to politics, the press and scientific research, the World Bank is analyzing the place of this idea in the evolution of social policy.

This book brings it into a coherent framework and provides a complete picture of the history, implementation attempts, modifications, and prospects of UBI. Moreover, the methodology of assessing different variants of UBI takes into account all possible contexts, from developing countries to highly developed countries, analyzing the origins, motivations and options of UBI, possible social and economic consequences of implementation, expected impact on the labor market and employment, political factors contributing to and opposing implementation, technical and administrative prerequisites, possible options for interaction with the social protection system as a whole.

It is shown that UBI does not in principle contradict many trends of social policy development, presenting a form of solving current problems associated with the crisis of the traditional model of social protection and labor relations. Undoubtedly in its pure form, basic income would be an extremely costly policy option, where it would represent a step forward in social policy, in countries with underdeveloped social protection systems. In countries with an advanced UBI system, it is administratively and financially possible, but it is in conflict with many existing institutions. Therefore, in all cases, the idea of UBI is modified and integrated into the existing system during implementation attempts.

The book presents three alternative models of UBI and simulates the impact of implementation on the welfare of different groups of the population, on the tax burden, on the budget and on incentives to work by the example of ten countries (including Russia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Brazil and South Africa).

The book describes the experience of UBI implementation, negative and positive experiences of pilot schemes (two countries, Iran and Mongolia, have implemented full-scale UBI within several years, while in Alaska it has a long history and continues). These pilot projects permit to assess real political support for each new modification of the UBI. Proponents expect a positive demonstration effect, but this optimism is not yet justified.

UBI Book Presentation_Ruslan Yesmtsov_HSE 26-02-2020 (PDF, 2.49 Мб) 
         UBI Book Russian Didgest
             Related Publications: HSE Website Article (02/03/2020) and Kommersant Newspaper Article (04/03/2020)




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