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The Faculty of Social Sciences is one of the most multidisciplinary faculties in the HSE. It is the product of uniting the faculties of sociology, applied political science, psychology and public administration, which are now schools, and a series of laboratories, research centers and institutes. This kind of synthesis of education and research in the sphere of social sciences is a standard part of global best practice for a modern research university.
We train researchers, analysts and practitioners of sociology, political science, psychology and management, and specialists in education, demographics, public policy and civil society. Our primary strategy in teaching bachelors, masters and doctorate courses is to prepare students to meet global demands and requirements as successful professionals.
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On 21 February 2017, the second meeting of the interdisciplinary seminar of Social Development Challenges Strategic Academic Unit took place at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Andrey Korotayev, the head of the Laboratory for Monitoring the Risks of Socio-Political Destabilization, presented his report entitled Economic Development and Social and Political Instability: The Experience of Cross-national Analysis.
The speaker demonstrated that empirical tests generally confirm the validity of the Olson–Huntington hypothesis suggesting a bell-shaped relationship between the level of economic development and the level of socio-political instability. According to this hypothesis, up to certain values of the average per capita income its growth tends to lead to increased risks of sociopolitical destabilization, and only in the upper range of this indicator its growth tends to be associated with the decrease of sociopolitical destabilization risks. Thus, for higher values of per capita income there is a negative correlation between per capita income and the risk of sociopolitical instability, and for lower values this correlation is positive. As a result, the maximum values of political instability tend to be observed in the mid-range of the GDP per capita spectrum rather than among the poorest or the richest countries.
However, the analysis has shown that for various indices of sociopolitical destabilization this curvilinear relationship can be quite different in some important details. On the other hand, the researchers detect the presence of a very important exception. It should be noted that the relationship between per capita GDP and the intensity of coups and coup attempts is not curvilinear; in this case there is a pronounced negative correlation; a particularly strong negative correlation is observed between this index and the logarithm of GDP per capita.
Professor Korotaev emphasized that this fact makes the abovementioned bell-shaped relationship with respect to the integral index of sociopolitical destabilization considerably less distinct and makes a very significant contribution to the formation of its asymmetry (when the negative correlation between per capita GDP and sociopolitical destabilization among the richer countries looks much stronger than the positive correlation among poorer countries). However, the analysis shows that for all the other indices of sociopolitical destabilization there is indeed the bell-shaped relationship assumed by the Olson–Huntington hypothesis. On the other hand, for example, in relation to such indices, as political strikes, riots and anti-government demonstrations there is such an asymmetry that is directly opposite to that mentioned above — such an asymmetry, when a positive correlation between GDP and instability for poorer countries is much stronger than the negative correlation for richer countries. An especially strong asymmetry of this kind is found for such an important index of social and political destabilization, as the intensity of anti-government demonstrations.