Volchik, V. V. & Maskaev, A. I. (2021). Narrative Economics and Qualitative Studies of the Russian Innovation System. Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 18(4), 570-583. https://doi.org/10.31063/2073-6517/2021.18-4.7
Narrative economics holds a vast potential since it can expand the array of questions and data covered by the analysis of economic change. The ideas that narratives contain reflect the actors’ perceptions of the rules structuring recurring interactions. Therefore, analysis of popular narratives can provide valuable insights into the relevant rules and behaviour patterns in their relation to the social context.
In this study, we identified the most significant sources containing narratives and selected the most relevant narratives with biographical elements. The biographical method implies that narratives about events and phenomena are examined by looking at the actors’ biographical stories. Our research aims to test the applicability of the biographical method within the narrative economics approach to study the Russian innovation system. The analysis has revealed the most widely spread ideas associated with rules and institutions, such as researchers’ dependence on the funds that the government or companies are willing to invest in their studies. Another problem is the production of the next generation of academic workforce in Russia. We systematized the problem situations linked to the spreading of narratives and found that they are related to the setbacks in the state management of the Russian innovation system. We conducted a qualitative study of narratives combined with quantitative content analysis. The changing frequency of the key words and phrases reflects the dynamics of narratives and shows their ‘viral’ quality.
Further analysis and systematization of qualitative data on innovation systems will create a better understanding of complex non-ergodic processes. It would also be productive to analyze official documents on the current rules and institutional development and compare the results with the evidence obtained through the narrative approach.