Seven things I learned about transition from communism
Andrei Shleifer 05 February 2012
Twenty years ago, communist countries began their shift towards capitalism. What do we know now that we didn’t know then? Harvard's Andrei Shleifer, the Russian-born, American-trained economist, provides his answers and their relevance for contemporary policymakers.
Recently, I was asked by the organisers of the IIASA conference1 to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of economic reforms in Eastern Europe and former Soviet Union to comment on the lessons of transition. The assignment presumably refers to the things that I learned – as an economist – that are different from what I believed initially. Such a recollection free from hindsight bias is challenging, but I tried. This list might be useful to future reformers, although there are not so many communist countries left.
Development Global economy Politics and economics Welfare state and social Europe
Russia, communism, Transition economies, capitalism
Political protest and economic reform: Lessons from The Great Transition
László Bruszt, Jan Fidrmuc, Nauro F Campos, Gérard Roland 07 May 2010
Do political protests make a difference? This column examines a new dataset focusing on political protests before the fall of communism. Countries that had a strong civil society, and a lenient communist government, have embarked on a path towards sound political institutions, economic reforms and democratisation. Those that had a weak civil society and repressive governments have not.
Throughout the 1990s, two opposing views were put forward about the political conditions that are conducive to the success of economic reforms. According to the first, success of reform depends on factors that can diminish the chances of politicising issues of economic transformation, such as strong power concentration, insulation of reformers from political pressures or a speed of reforms that does not allow time for the potential opponents of reforms to get organised and resist change (Przeworski 1991, Lipton and Sachs 1990).
Politics and economics
communism, political protests, economic and political reforms