International research projects
Financing institution: Interreg Baltic Sea Region
Description: Sohjoa Baltic researches, promotes and pilots automated driverless electric minibuses as part of the public transport chain, especially for the first/last mile connectivity. The project brings knowledge and competence on organizing environmentally friendly and smart automated public transport. It also provides guidelines on legal and organizational setup needed for running such a service in an efficient way. Sohjoa Baltic consortium has partners from Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Norway and Denmark with area and public transportation planning expertise as well as legal expertise combined with strong technical understanding which are the requirements for enabling autonomous traffic. Sohjoa Baltic brings autonomous small buses to drive demo routes in six Baltic Sea Region cities in the following years. Autonomous bus drives along its route like a lift. It scans its surroundings and knows when to slow down or stop completely, if there are obstacles in the way. During the pilots there is always an operator on board, like there used to be one inside a lift when they were introduced. The Sohjoa Baltic project is funded from Interreg – Baltic Sea Region programme.
Description: In the current comparative research concerning public sector modernization, the local level of government is blatantly absent. Databases on local public sector reforms are fragmented, incomparable, incoherent, nationally scattered and confined in their methodological approach. This Action is intended to remedy those deficits. It will generate coherent data bases for systematic comparison with a view to streamlining analytical approaches and synthesizing research outcomes using methodological triangulation (qualitative/quantitative techniques). The Action will provide a platform for establishing a new set of comparative (descriptive, explanatory, and evaluative) knowledge on local public sector reforms and for integrating the fragmented research activities in this neglected area of investigation. It aims to enhance the scope of the conceptual foundations as well as the methodological rigour of comparative public administration. The Action will prepare the basis for a systematic evaluation of local public sector reforms within a European scale of comparison. Action activities will yield policy relevant knowledge concerning local reform measures from a European perspective, which can then be utilized to improve policy making for future public sector modernization.
Financing institution: Norwegian-Estonian Research Cooperation Programme
Project leader: Prof. Rainer Kattel
Description: This project aims to bridge the gap in policy change research between macro- and meso-level research on the one hand and micro-level research on the other. In concrete terms, this project proposes to research financial and fiscal bureaucracy engaged in the supervision of the financial sector via central banks and other agencies, and managing and auditing government’s own finances (including the central banks, the ministries of finance, the ministries of economic affairs) of the Baltic Sea region as a case study to understand how policy ideas and their implementation are intertwined. The project looks at four countries: Estonia and Latvia from the east of the region (or the cases from the Baltic countries), Norway and Sweden from the west (or the cases from the Nordic countries).
Financing institution: The Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
Principal investigator: Prof. Rainer Kattel
Description: In a typical modern economy, government not only finances significant part of R&D spending, runs some sort of public venture capital funds, but also procures massive amounts of goods and services and does so increasingly with innovation in mind; together these outlays can come to as high as 20% of GDP, annually. If we add to these increasing attempts to use innovation in public sector activities, governments have come to play a very important role in funding innovations. In academic literature on innovation an innovation policy, governments figure mostly as policy makers; accordingly, academic debate centers on questions of polcy choices. In essence, academic literature assumes that governments possess capabilities and capacities to act upon whatever is deemed the right policy choice; capacity to implement, in other words, is assumed to be exogenous.
Principal investigator: Dr. Veiko Lember
Description: The scope of this proposal is to develop the theoretical basis for PPPs in the transport sector (a shift from descriptive to normative approach). Key objectives to be addressed on a national and modal perspective by the 3 working groups are: (1) A decision making process for selection, implementation and operation of PPP transport projects considering ‘sustainable procurement’ and ‘value propositions’; (2) Identification of critical success factors, test criteria and knowledge-bases for improved PPP performance; (3) Implications of the financing arrangement.
Principal investigator: Prof. Rainer Kattel
Description: What started as a burst of a speculation bubble in the US real estate market has developed into the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression. Characteristic of the Subprime Crisis was the tight connection between the American real estate credit market and the structures and processes of global markets. The slicing and dicing of subprime was made possible by modern financial instruments like derivates, modern practices like securitization, and new actors like Credit Rating Agencies who provided first class ratings and thereby suggested what turned out to be false security, and Hedge funds that generated demand. The crisis is therefore as much a crisis of the modern capitalist system as it is of finance. It has led to greater transformation of the American and European financial markets than any planned reform. Discursively, the crisis has challenged core ideas of monetarism and led to a revival of Keynesian monetary and fiscal policies. This interdisciplinary Action critically assesses sources, dynamics and consequences of the global financial crisis. It aims to develop a completely new approach to financial stability, reach a better understanding of financial crises in general, and formulate specific policy goals to make financial markets more secure.
Principal investigator: Prof. Tiina Randma-Liiv
Description: New trends changing the structuring and functioning of the public sector are observed. Specialization within large bureaucracies results in the establishment of autonomous "agencies", urging stricter coordination of policy sectors and governmental levels, and new ways of contract based result control. Although governments are adapting to these trends at an increasing pace, there remains lack of scientific proof of the beneficial effects of these trends for the performance of the public sector. Most research efforts suffer from a lack of internationally comparative data, longitudinal data, and ill-concerted research methods. Action IS0601 aims to resolve these drawbacks by bringing together scholars on a European platform for comparative and longitudinal research, which will lead to empirical, theoretical and methodological advancements in the field. Also, results that are grounded in scientific research will inspire policy-relevant recommendations to guide decision makers in their policies on the organization of the public sector. The main objective of the Action is to increase knowledge about current trends in public sector organization in Europe from a European perspective, in an international context, in order to deepen theoretical rigour and optimize methodologies, which will inspire sound and policy-relevant research conclusions.