Morrill Hall 211B
1465 Mt. Vernon Avenue
Areas of Expertise
- Sociology and criminology of Eastern Europe
- PhD in Sociology from Cornell University
"I was always interested in the general philosophical question of’ how the society works’. Being born and raised in the former Soviet Union (specifically Ukraine) made me ask questions about the experiences of transitional societies ... the reasons why transitions are made and their consequences for individuals in the various strata of society. This puzzle led me to study corruption and the possibility that a disruptive transition such as the one experienced by the successor states of the USSR might lead society from one imperfect equilibrium to another. In the process of trying to understand corruption I realized that other social phenomena are influenced by a similar factor; namely, the discount people place on future outcomes as compared to more temporally immediate things. This has led me to focus on the relationship between individual time preferences and social phenomena such as drug addiction, gang membership and prisoner recidivism. What might drug addicts, criminally inclined youth, and prisoners have in common and what are the psychological parameters that participation in AA programs and prison rehabilitation programs are intended to impact? I address questions of this sort from the assumption that people's time preferences are not constant and are subject to change due to the exposure to a new culture, life changing events and interaction with others in the new social settings. More work needs to be done do determine the role of different social factors and the way they interact and affect the change in individual time preferences. Of course, my origins still have a profound impact on my interests and perspectives and thus my other project is a study of electoral fraud in Ukraine."