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Chapter 1. Review of existing research
papers on typology
of Russian regions

The attempts to carry out typology of the country’s regions by their levels of development were undertaken over the whole XX-th century. While the first typologies mostly dealt with the research into economic capacity of the regions, they mostly constituted academic research. In the Soviet era, thanks to the combination of objective and subjective factors, one of which was personal acquaintances of a prominent economico-geographist N.N. Baransky with high-rank authorities and particularly with I. Stalin, and Prof. Baransky’s work in Gosplan of the USSR, the researchers managed to create and successfully use a regional net of the Subjects of the USSR (Central, Central-Chernozemny, Northern, etc.). Whereas, in addition to geographers, it was primarily administrative structure with their pre-set aspiration to preserve any structure that were consumers of the noted typology, the regional net was used until the collapse of the USSR. During last decade, with the soci0-economic and political situation in the country changing rapidly and the circle of the said consumers widening, the research and practical interest in the typology has intensified.

According to V.D. Ermak1, a>

The author formulates some rules that must be complied with in the course of>

  • The division should be proportional (the volume of the divided concept should be equal to the total amount of the volume of its elements - types,>
  • the same basis ( some totality of substantial signs);
  • The elements of the division should exclude each other (should not overlap, nor be a part of one another).

The author reminds that the simplest type of>

One should consider the polysemantic nature of the term typology. That is the concept of>

Proceeding from the aforementioned concept of typology, the author draws a conclusion concerning the sphere of its application: Classifications and, accordingly, typologies have their own, clearly set limits and capacity- they become clear from the above definition itself- that is, to group the descriptions of phenomena (objects, items) that are similar to each other and connections between them, if possible, as a totality of parameters, and, if one is fortunate, in a form of models (the latter is very desirable!) and to provide all that to the science for the further analytical research based on the models, identification of characteristics and regularities, and formation of the results of the solution of the pre-set problems and synthesis of recommendations to reach the pre-set objectives.

Whereas in many of its directions geography deals with territories and their variety, initially it attempts to regulate such a variety. During last years, geographer pay a special attention to methodological aspects of the problem that particularly are tackled in the monograph Classification in geography, by V.S.Tikunov2.

The author argues that while applying the>

Classification also suggests taking into account different levels of significance of the indices that are used to characterize the complexes. This requires the weighing of the indices, which is a complicated and in many aspects unresolved problem, and sometimes there are attempts to solve that by employing an expert survey.

The author notes that whereas a significant part of the data taken into account in the course of>

According to the author, to understand and- that is crucial- to estimate the prospects for Russia’s regional development, it is necessary to see behind numerous (though not always accurate) statistical parameters and justify qualitatively different types of a socio-economic situation in regions, their painful, though absolutely inevitable adjusting to market (i.e. normal) conditions of functioning and development.

While Mr. Tikunov pays a great deal of attention to theoretical problems of typology, the group of experts of the Expert Institute primarily deals with concrete methodological devices of a comprehensive evaluation of a socio-economic situation in the regions based upon the following methodological device3: according to them, the socio-economic situation in a region is characterized with a certain combination of indicators that show: first, the impact of objective, steady factors of regional development and, secondly, the impact of compensatory mechanisms (compensators) being specific for each region, which characterize its specifics and potential for adjustment to the transitional conditions.

The next, main Section deals with the review of typologies existing in the national and foreign papers. The total number of described typologies amounts to 40, of which 30 were evaluated by the means of table that contains the list of main indices grouped by 12 directions. The Table as well as all the typologies, their description, and list of indicators are provided in Annex 1.

On the basis of difficulties identified by various experts in the course of building typologies, the concluding part of this paper represents main directions of improvement of such a work.

This section provides a review of 40 different regional typologies, the majority of which are put in a final Table of typologies and their respective main indices provided in Annex 1. In the course of the elaboration of the typologies in question, we used several hundreds indicators, while the final Table comprises 92 main indicators distributed across 12 groups.

All the typologies are divided into 2 big groups: theoretical and applied ones. The specifics of many Soviet typologies was their clearly theoretical nature with ideologization elements. However, during the last years one can note an evident prevalence of applied typologies that serve as data bases for a decision making by politicians, entrepreneurs, investors, etc. alike. Foreign typologies are attributed to theoretical or applied ones, due to the declared specifics of their purpose.

In the first Section below - Theoretical typologies- all the typologies were distributed by paragraphs, depending on the scale of the research (the world, a country, a region), while in the second Section - Applied typologies- due to the objective set by their authors.

Theoretical typologies.

1) Typology of countries by the level of their socio-economic development

The building of countries typologies constitutes a subject of economic and social geography. Naturally, it is the typology of countries by the level of their socio-economic development that prevail in this area of research. At the same time the selection of indicators and methods of interpretation of both the indicators and the typology based upon them is very important.

Among the typologies represented in this paragraph some are the examples of ideological approach which implies the emphasis on indicators of the economic group (indicators-factors), while their selection has an extra-economic nature (see Annex 1). The approach employed by the UN experts implies the prevalence of social indicators as indices of economic state. It is also worth noting a typology of non-socialist countries developed yet in the Soviet period that combines the both approaches.

The typology of countries worldwide developed by Prof. V.V. Volsky4, Director of the Institute for Latin America under the Russian Academy of Sciences appears the most comprehensive and in-depth research into the area of typology of countries in Russia (See Annex 1).

The main objective of Mr. Volsky’s typology is the systematization of the countries of the world as objects for cross-country research, establishment of interrelations and interdependencies between them as parts of the global system. At the same time he correctly assumes that a typology of countries by objective indicators requires its specification by the means of expert procedures in the course of which one should also take into account the specifics of a civilization approach, knowledge of historical roots of the formation of nations which helps understand their real specifics rather than any contemporary ones.

The typology is built upon 18 indicators from 7 groups: general- 3 out of 6, demographic 1 out of 7, social- 2 out of 7, those characterizing the labor market 2 out of 7, economic 8 out of 18, financial- 1 out of 18, structural and economic- 1 out of 3. The selection of the indices clearly shows its ideological nature: thus, there is a prevalence of economic indicators that nowadays partly practically are not used any more (for instance, a relative level of industrialization, the newly created produce in the manufacturing sector). The typology poorly considers social indicators, while judging the indicators representing population rather than the respective ideological claims, the population appears a production factor: the share of economically active population; the share of the population employed in different sectors; labor productivity in different sectors.

The typology’ nature is hierarchical, and it comprises three levels: 3 groups, 8 types and 13 sub-types, and it is experts that played a significant role in the respective distribution of countries by these levels.

The typology may be employed to evaluate both the countries at different stages of their economic development (taking into account dynamic changes) and regions in single countries, particularly in Russia and other large federative states with a serious cross-regional differentiation (with a proper adjustment to concrete conditions in the country in question). The results of the typology may be also used to analyze the current situation in the world, specifics of economic and strategic policies of single countries, and to forecast economic development in single states and whole macro-regions.

The typological>5 in the late ‘80s (see Annex 1).

The typology de facto is a testing for the previous one: the similar objectives, list of indicators, while the only difference is the selection of countries subject to>

The respective results may be used to conduct research into the area of developing countries, as well as to analyze economic capacity of single nations.

The typology of non-socialist countries6 developed by a group of authors comprising economists. sociologists, and mathematicians: V.L. Tyagunenko, L.A. Fridman, L.A. Gordon, P.F. Andrukovich, and A.T. Terekhin - can also be attributed to research of the previous type (see Annex 1).

The research can be called one of the most fundamental country studies in the Russian academic world, although one cannot help but note that this monograph was written in the spirit of the Soviet time, that is why it cannot be called objective and ideologically unbiased. Nonetheless one should note that it is still a shining example in terms of thoroughness of selection and analysis of the indices employed. The typology uses 8 groups of indices: general -2 out of 6, demographic- 2out of 7, social- 2 out of 7, living standards- 4 out of 10, those characterizing the labor market- 1 out of 7, economic- 1out of 18, financial- 2 out of 18, transport and communication- 2 out of 7. This typology shows an even selection of indicators, and those characterizing living standards hold a substantial place; in addition, though there is just 1 indicator in the economic group, it is qualitatively complemented by the transport network development indicators.

The paper has the following virtues: a detailed description and justification of approaches methods and comparisons employed in the>

Classification of countries worldwide developed by UN which implies the existence of 11 civilization macroregions (See Annex 1).

Specifics of this typology is employment of just three indicators out of three groups: social – 1 out of 7, living standards- 1 out of 10, structural economic ones- 1 out of 3. In this case minimum of indicators is compensated by their implicitly containing enough information on the state of the respective area of the society.

Economic and political>7 It reflects centro-peripheral structure of the world economy. According to the clasification, all the countries are>

  • center of the world economy;
  • semi-periphery integrated with the center;
  • transitional type form periphery to semi-periphery;
  • periphery intensively involved in a regional cooperation and world economy;
  • periphery loosely involved in a regional cooperation (remote economic periphery);
  • periphery semi-isolated from the world economy (basing on ots own resources).

Several large countries (Russia, Canada, Australia, Brazil) are divided into regions that belong to different types. It is developing countries that represent periphery and semi-periphery in this>

There also are other typologies of developing countries. Thus, the International Monetary Fund8 singles out the category of reforming countries in the developing world that opted for the economic liberalization strategy and foreign trade, and attributes 35 countries to this category. The IMF also singles out the backyard of the world system and god-forsaken places which comprise a number of African, Asian and Latin American countries.

Since the ‘50s the foreign references increasingly began to note the outspread of political geographic research efforts dedicated to typology of countries by their military, demographic and economic capacities, their level of dependence from foreign markets, relation to international conflicts, engagement into territorial disputes and claims, morphology and other characteristics of their borders and estimates of their favorable positions. During the initial stage, it was a macro-regional research agenda (at the level of the whole global system or single macro-regions) that prevailed, but the last decades showed an increasing number of papers focusing on a single country or its parts9. It is broadly considered in the West that one of those ho initiated politico-geographic research into, and political>10. Harshthorn was focusing on the evaluation of the correlation between the centrifugal and centripetal forces in place in each state and on identification of that key idea without which, he believed, the state would fail to maintain the integrity of its territory and loyalty of the majority of its citizens.

2) Typology of intra-country regions according to the level of socio-economic development.

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