Experts predict the formation of large agglomerations in Vladivostok and Kaliningrad

Panel Discussion “Electronic atlas of Russian industry: machine learning for economic statistics and regional studies” was a logical continuation of one of the main plenary sessions of the third day of the Gaidar Forum named “Priorities of transport development: new quality of life”. The discussion was moderated by Georgy Idrisov, Vice-Rector of RANEPA, Director of the Institute of Industry Markets and Infrastructure.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the shifts in the geographical location of economic activity, the study of which is important for the development of public policy and forecasting of economic growth.

Tatiana Mikhailova, Senior Research Fellow at the Laboratory for Infrastructural and Spatial Studies of RANEPA, announced the main task of the research: to help the economy by providing the sociological sampling, to draw conclusions from the data. She spoke about two economic factors: the global mechanisms and processes – the transport infrastructure, which changes the actions of economic agents, as well as the mechanisms that are unique to Russia due to geographical, economic and historical features. According to the expert, the second type of factors makes economic geography very inert. “After the transition from planned economy to market economy, Russia joined the processes and transformations that took place in the 20th century in other countries, and now the country is moving at an accelerated pace much faster,” Tatiana Mikhailova said.

She explained that the collected microeconomic and geographical data clarify ideas about the patterns of development of regions and industries and open up prospects for new research. Tatiana Mikhailova demonstrated a comparison of maps of employment density in the manufacturing industry in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. It turned out that, due to technological development, there was not only a uniform distribution, but also a regional redistribution of population density, which was concentrated in the Central regions of Russia. In particular, the share of the redistribution of industry along the axes of the Urals - the Volga region and the Urals – Siberia has increased. As a result, at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the existence of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, industry was less geographically concentrated.

24 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Russia, there was a large concentration of small and medium enterprises in Moscow and St. Petersburg due to the high survival of enterprises in large cities and the entry of new companies in the transition period. The bulk of small and medium-sized enterprises are concentrated in the two capitals.

According to Tatyana Mikhailova, Russia still has a big problem of integration of ports and port regions into the overall infrastructure of the country. According to her, the solution of this problem depends on the country’s integration into international trade.

“We do not have enough population to form full-fledged agglomerations in all million-plus cities. Therefore, some of them will win, and some will lose in the battle for the resettlement of the population,” the expert said.

In her opinion, the centers located near the cities with the greatest mobility of the population can win. The cities of the North Caucasus and the South have great demographic potential, and Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk can merge into one large agglomeration in the Urals. Experts suggest the formation of large agglomerations in Vladivostok and Kaliningrad at the expense of economic corridors and transport routes.

Alexey Rey, Head of the Laboratory for Data Analysis and Industry Dynamics of RANEPA spoke about the analysis of data by sectors of the market, and shared best practice on the collection of disaggregated data. “There is a difference in the effects of economic policy measures. We need to know exactly where the company is located, how many people work for it and what their economic indicators are,” Alexey Rey explained. “Otherwise, we will not be able to come to reasonable and well-founded conclusions about economic policy measures and certain effects that are characteristic of economic processes, including scientific and technological progress and the development of the labor market,” he said.

Methods of machine analysis help to find the right company, upload data from programs for external access for further use in analytical activities. In addition, machine learning methods will be used for combined analysis of text data and satellite imagery to obtain more accurate data on economic activity.

Concluding the panel discussion, Alexey Rey noted the relevance of machine analysis developments, which, according to him, “actually compete with more accurate official data”. Alexey Rey and Tatiana Mikhailova stressed that the primary analysis helps to avoid mistakes and gaps in the work, and the expansion and improvement of the analytical and methodological arsenal becomes an important need for experts and for government bodies.

All records of live broadcasts from the Gaidar Forum 2019

10th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Prosveshcheniye publishing house, Coca-Cola, Pharmstandard group, ACIG Group of Companies, the Russian Textbook Corporation, SANOFI, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Russian Railways, MSD, and Mastercard; EY, Cisco and Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners. This discussion’s partners are Philips, Cherkizovo and RVC.

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