The article elaborates methodological tools for the study of institutional factors of the socio-economic development of depressed areas of Russia on the example of the Republic of Karelia. The authors demonstrate theoretical approaches of the study, such as the concept of sustainable development, institutional economics, economic sociology, the human capital theory, the social capital theory, reflecting the relationship of economic, institutional and sociological categories, as well as the issues of the development and management of the areas. Foreign and Russian scientific schools’ studies on the given topic are considered. The methodology includes institutional analysis, involving in addition to the institutional approach economic, sociological and mathematic-statistical research tools. The article emphasizes opportunities and constraints of the socio-economic development of depressed areas (using the example of the Republic of Karelia), considering their specificity (northern geographical location, borderland, raw material economy, ethnic component). The article addresses the development of management tools enabling to obtain operational information on the social status of territories at the level of regional authorities. The authors reveal that such problems can be solved by improving the tools and technical means of sociological research, as well as their implementation. The article describes the stage of the sociological research program development. The empirical base is a pilot economic and sociological survey of the municipality of the Republic of Karelia. The main empirical sources are materials of formalized interviews (questionnaires) of households. A technical tool for solving the problem of correctness of measuring sociological data is a client-server automated information system, developed and tested by the authors.
depressed areas, design of development institutions, institutional analysis, empirical study, sociological methods, questionnaire, database, client-server automated information system