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Institutions and the Allocation of Talent: Evidence from Russian Regions

Michael Alexeev (), Timur Natkhov () and Leonid Polishchuk
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Timur Natkhov: National Research University Higher School of Economics, (HSE) University of Moscow, Russia

No 2019-003, CAEPR Working Papers from Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Department of Economics, Indiana University Bloomington

Abstract: Strong institutions attract talent to productive activities, whereas weak ones raise the appeal of redistribution and rent-seeking. We propose a theory that describes the impact of institutions on occupational choices over a range of abilities, and predicts that the sensitivity of such choices to the quality of institutions rises in talent when the latter increases from low to intermediate levels, and declines thereafter. To test these predictions empirically, we use a unique micro data set describing the choices of fields of studies by newly enrolled university students in Russian regions in 2011-2014. We show that the popularity of sciences and engineering, on one hand, and law and public administration, on the other, are linked to the quality of regional investment climate and other measures of institutional quality in a manner predicted by our theory. This confirms that investments in human capital reflect the quality of institutions, pointing to a mechanism connecting institutions to economic outcomes.

Keywords: institutions; allocation of talent; rent-seeking; human capital (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D02 I25 J24 O43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 38 pages
Date: 2019-03
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