13 Aug 2020

30 Years of Economic Transformation in CEE: Key Five Lessons For Belarus

Here are the links to our latest publications on the economic situation in Belarus:

CASE Working Paper No. 11: 30 Years of Economic Transformation in CEE: Key Five Lessons For Belarus

Feedback from the Central and Eastern European countries may be very useful for Belarus at this point. Today, 30 years after the beginning of the economic transformation, the relative welfare level in all the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe is higher than in the so-called times of socialism. Despite not being a completely homogeneous group, the CEE countries share a common experience of economic transition. Evidently, countries that started reforms earlier and acted consistently and fast achieved the greatest successes. The continuous development of the institutional environment and structural competitiveness has been a key element of the CEE economic transition, ensuring convergence with the Western European economies. Poland was a pioneer of economic transformation that started in 1989, and it achieved one of the best economic and social results among almost 30 post-socialist countries. The institutional component of the Polish economic reforms proved to be of the most long-term nature, both in terms of implementation and effects, still ongoing nowadays.


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Read also CASE Working Paper No. 12: The evolution of Belarusian public sector: From command economy to state capitalism?

Belarus was among the few post-communist countries to resign from comprehensive market reforms and attempt to improve the efficiency of the economy through administrative means, leaving market mechanisms only an auxiliary role. Since its inception, the ‘Belarusian economic model’ has undergone several revisions of a de-statisation and de-regulation kind, but still the Belarusian economy remains dominated by the state. This paper analyses the characteristic features of the Belarusian economic system – especially those related to the public sector – as well as its evolution over time during the period following its independence. The paper concludes that during the post-Soviet period, the Belarusian economy evolved from a quasi-Soviet system based on state property, state planning, support to inefficient enterprises and the massive redistribution of funds to a more flexible hybrid model where the public sector still remains the core of the economy. The case of Belarus shows that presently there is no appropriate theoretical perspective which, in an unmodified form, could be applied to study this type of economic system. Therefore, a new perspective based on an already existing but updated approach or a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates the duality of the Belarusian economy is required.


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