Gur Ofer and Richard Pomfret The country case studies in this book oﬀer a richness and subtlety that cannot readily be captured in cross-country growth analysis.1 They portray a rich and colourful patchwork made from the complex interaction between a common heritage, yet varied initial conditions and a variety of policy menus, implemented with diﬀerent degrees of success. Despite the common historical background in the Soviet era, initial conditions in the CIS countries in 1991 varied substantially due to geography, resource endowment, the economic impact of the break-up of the Soviet Union, initial income levels and industrial structure. There were also diﬀerences in institutional capital, but here the imprints of the ancien régime as a major obstacle to change were more uniform. The studies of Kyrgyzstan, of Tajikistan and of Armenia emphasize the serious economic disadvantages arising from small size, landlockedness, isolation and inhospitable terrain. Moldova’s economic prospects are strongly shaped by its location and the lack of access to European markets for key agricultural crops (wine and tobacco). In Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and to a somewhat lesser extent in Russia and Uzbekistan, natural resources played an overwhelming role in the growth history of the ﬁrst decade after independence; for these countries, good natural resource management has been, and continues to be, crucial for economic success. Belarus, Armenia and to a signiﬁcant extent also Ukraine are energy (and other natural resource) importers, in which the political position of the industrialists (that is, managers of large...
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