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(119) ECONOMIC TRANSITION PATHWAYS INSOUTHEASTERN EUROPE: DISRUPTIONS, CHALLENGES, PROSPECTS 

 

 

INSTRUCTOR: George Stubos, Researcher, Research Department, Bank of Greece

The course aims at providing students with a theoretical and historical understanding of the command economy structures and policies that dominated Southeastern European economies after the Second World War, and at exploring, in more detail, their transition and evolution into market economies from 1989 to the present.

 The first four weeks are devoted to a comprehensive review of the means, methods and practices used by the ‘command model’ to solve production and distribution problems which, eventually, gave rise to serious dysfunctions leading to the collapse of the system in 1989. Aspects discussed include ownership structures, centralised planning principles, physical distribution of resources, income distribution patterns and consumer satisfaction problems. Students are requested to cover literature topics ranging from the classical writings of Alec Nove and BelaBalassa to individual country reports on macroeconomic performance indicators and their social implications. In the fifth week, students take a mid-term exam on the preceding topics.

 The following weeks focus on the logic, magnitude, scope and nature of the transition process which began in 1989 and led all Southeast European economies from a command to a market model. Initial policies such as privatisation, price liberalisation, democratisation, as well as the reform of state institutions and their functions are reviewed and analysed. The last five weeks concentrate on issues such as FDI flows, trade, banking sector developments, institution building, and the overall macroeconomic performance of these countries up to the present. The EU trajectory of all countries in the region as well as regional cooperation challenges, are also addressed. Literature assignments are drawn from reports and publications of the major financial institutions and relevant academic journals, most of which are provided in a course kit. During this part of the course, students are requested to give country presentations in pairs. The final exam covers the entire course curriculum, with topics being issue-oriented or country-specific.