Transition Economics

ECTS credits: 
Course Description: 

students will have the opportunity to examine and understand the scope, nature, structure and contemporary meaning of a 20th century economic and societal system: Soviet communism and its development, history, achievements, failures, ideas and crimes. Soviet communism was a historical attempt to resolve the perceived problems of 19th century capitalism. Theoretical and practical comparison will be made between the command and market economies. Ideological antecendents and justifications will be discussed. Characteristics of the command economy, totalitarian state and society will be analyzed in detail. The 3 most important historical models of Soviet communism will also be reviewed: the classical Stalinist system, the Hungarian modified model and the Yugoslav version: workers’ self-management. The historical progress and regress of Soviet communism will lead to a better understanding of its demise and ultimate collapse.


Transition means the transformation of a command economy into a market orientated one and a totalitarian one-party dictatorship into a democratic polity. This unprecedented historical process will be analyzed as it unfolded in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former Soviet Union. The main instrument of analysis will be the matrix of structural reforms. Timing and sequencing of structural reforms will be discussed. Macroeconomic policy, structural reforms, and institution building in society will be analyzed in detail. In addition, the dynamics of the reform process will be understood by reviewing the consequences of each reform steps. An ample sample of country-specific examples will also be offered to show the practical problems facing reformers.


Finally, the question will be asked weather transition has been completed or not. The remaining or ongoing reform agenda is particularly relevant in light of the regression experienced by several countries in the transition world. Examples of reversal of structural reforms will be given to understand the fragile nature of democracy and the rule of law in CEE.

Learning Outcomes: 



attendance, active participation, preparation of a short essay and, finally, exam in writing. The exam has an ovewhelming weight in determining grades. Nevertheless, all of these requirements are indispensable for grade. Attendance and active participation are required for signature.


No prerequisites

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