The post-communist transition in Europe and the former Soviet Union is one of the most important transformations in modern history. Changes were exceptionally large and it was not only political and economic systems which were affected: there were changes in social structures, new territorial boundaries in some cases had to be established and new institutions had to be constructed. Moreover, market-oriented reforms were introduced under democratic regimes.
Leszek Balcerowicz, President of the National Bank of Poland and former Deputy Prime Minister of Poland, one of the leading reformers in eastern Europe, discusses the varying outcomes of transitions in different countries, showing that it was policies, more than initial conditions, which produced the differences. He argues that the larger the scope of market-oriented reforms the better the performance in terms of growth, low inflation and environmental improvement. The presence of competent and determined reformers has also been a crucial factor in successful transformations.
2002, Occasional Paper 127, ISBN 0 255 36533 0, 57pp, PB