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DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES CONFRONTING ECONOMIES IN TRANSITION

RICHARD J. ESTES
Social Indicators Research
Vol. 83, No. 3 (September 2007), pp. 375-411
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20734495
Page Count: 37
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DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES CONFRONTING ECONOMIES IN TRANSITION
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Abstract

"Economies in Transition" (hereafter EIT or EITs) are countries in the process of shifting from "command" to "more open", liberalized, free market economic systems. In addition to achieving major structural adjustments to their economies, the transformational process requires the introduction of a high degree of transparency in both the economic and political spheres of society. The transfer of state assets to private ownership is one part of the process as well, as is the creation or opening of "political space" that permits the emergence of private enterprise, multiparty political systems, and the introduction of a broad range of non-governmental organizations that carry out missions and functions which people themselves prefer to perform. Thus, the process of economic transformation requires a major socio-political-economic paradigm shift…one that places people and their needs at the center of the transformational process. The process is extremely difficult to achieve and is fraught with many dangers for countries that enter into it without substantial guidance from more economically advanced countries. This paper reports on the social development successes and failures of 31 economies in transition over the 15-year period 1990-2005. Included in the analysis are EITs located in East and South East Asia (N = 5), Central and Eastern Europe (N = 10), all 12 members of the Commonwealth of Independent States including the Russian Federation (N = 12), Turkey (N = 1), and the three Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (N = 3). Using the author's extensively pre-tested Weighted Index of Social Progress (WISP), the paper reports data at three levels of analysis: (1) WISP performances for all 31 EITs-as-a-group; (2) sub-regional performances on the WISP and its component sub-indexes for each of the six EIT sub-regions included in the analysis; and (3) country-specific performances on the WISP for each of the 31 countries included in the analysis.

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