The Economic Prospects of the CIS

The Economic Prospects of the CIS

Sources of Long Term Growth

Edited by Gur Ofer and Richard Pomfret

This book brings together ten original studies on the transition and growth experience and the foundations for long-term growth of the newly independent states created by the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Gur Ofer and Richard Pomfret

Extract

Gur Ofer and Richard Pomfret This book brings together ten studies on the transition and growth experience and the foundations for long-term growth of the new independent states created with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991. The 15 republics of the Soviet Union and their successor nation states exhibit a huge range in size and in income levels (Table 1.1), as well as in historical and cultural backgrounds and in resource endowments. Despite the variety of initial conditions, the number of countries and their shared Soviet experience provide us with a unique natural experiment of the effects of different approaches to establishing and organizing a market-based economy. The country studies of ten members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are mostly based on collaborative work by incountry and external researchers. In this introduction, we provide an overview of the common pre-1992 background and comparative information about the post-1992 performance of the CIS countries. In the concluding chapter we will revisit the comparative aspects, bringing out the common and country-specific features of their growth experience since independence. The first section reviews the Soviet background and the second section the post-independence experience, emphasizing the uniformity and diversity of the 12 CIS countries’ recent history. The third section focuses on the problems of explaining economic growth in transition economies and outlines the individual country studies. 1. THE SOVIET BACKGROUND1 Most of the literature, even more so the economic literature on the Union of the Soviet Socialist...