Economic Policy Review ISSN 1313 - 0544

The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and Higher Wages for the Employed Scientists

Author: Veliko Dimitrov / 26.04.2007
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Ever since before elections (local and the ones for the EU Parliament are now approaching) civil activities of certain social and professional groups have been energizing above the average level[1]. Following the demands for higher wages of the employees in the transportation sector, the teachers, the medical personnel and the pensioners, the state-subsidized Bulgarian scientists also requested a better paycheck - higher fixed remuneration in accordance with the obtained degree and an overall increase in the state allocated money for science from 0,2% to 0,33% of GDP.        

It is sensitive to be known that all the social groups listed above have something in common - their income depends on the state, i.e. on individual or collective administrative decisions and in this sense the pre-election period seems to be at the highest productive. However, within this category, two qualitatively different types of subgroups can be specified, namely the ones who depend on the state under the stress of circumstances (pensioners) and those for whom it is a personal choice (all state budgetary funded workers and officials), i.e. the former does not and the latter does have a choice. 

The following table reveals information about the financial security of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) employees over the past two years and what has been set for the current financial year.

Budget of the BAS – thousands of leva

Indicator

200520062007Percentage change  2007/2006
1. Revenue13 000.020 000.023 000.0-
2. Expenditures,74 290. 685 240.691 098.46.86%
    Incl. capital ones2 154. 04 000.04 209.25.23%
3. Subsidy61 290. 665 090.668 098.4-
Regular employees-8 4088 4080%
Expenditures for one regular employee-10 13910 8356.86%
Source: Report on the State Budget Act for 2006 and 2007, own calculations

As it is evident, the overall expenditure for a regular employee has been envisaged to increase by 6.86% on average. The capital expenditures are supposed to grow less than the current ones, that also include payments for labor, which means that the increase of the latter is even over 6.86%.

How far the demands of the BAS scholars as paid by the budget are grounded?

If we leave aside arguments like "... contribute for the development of the world science ... and subserve for the growth of intellectual and material values of the nation" [2] and focus on the objective economic reality, we shall come to the following conclusions:

The projected GDP growth for 2007 is about 6%, i.e. if that comes to be a true prognosis, the colleagues (in the broadest sense) of the BAS scientists who are employed in the private sector will create 6% more value than they did in the previous year. At the same time, even more than this additional increase in value is supposed to be redistributed for science, which makes the relation GDP/expenditures per a regular BAS employee change and that in favor of the BAS scientists.  

The question, how much exactly should the state allocate for "science" has always been highly controversial not only in Bulgaria. The reality shows that the stronger the academic lobby is the more the governments are ready to redistribute through the budget (which of course applies to all the others state expenditures as well). At the same time, it is not immediately clear if the allocation of more resources (or any at all) is justified because it always happens by evading the market mechanism, which on its own has two major consequences: the created value may not correspond to what is really needed and secondly even if there is a relation between resources allocated and output achieved, it could be determined in advance only somewhat and moreover using solely quantitative parameters; the work of the research units is however to be measured qualitatively.

As a conclusion, no matter how many resources the state allocates for science, they will certainly be never enough in the point of view of the state scholars. Unlike the pensioners however, as already stated, the BAS scientists, if not satisfied with certain conditions, still have a choice and could start working in the private sector.    


 


[1] Here I mean solely the group expression of will on certain questions because for the moment that is the main form of manifestation of civil self-awareness

[2] As stated in the BAS statute