New Thinking in Political Economy series
Edited by Laura E. Grube and Virgil Henry Storr
Chapter 14: Between community and society: political attitudes in transition countries
The puzzle of how open, market societies came about is deserving of additional research. My research focuses on the beliefs and values among citizens of former Soviet-controlled countries. These former Soviet countries transitioned away from a centrally planned economy toward market economic institutions at the same time that they developed their democratic institutions. As North (2005) has stated, simply replacing one institutional structure by another does not guarantee its survival as long as there is not also a transformation of values. Several Austrian scholars have highlighted the importance of culture in explaining economic and political processes (Boettke 1998; Lavoie and Chamlee-Wright 2000; Storr 2010; Chamlee-Wright 2011b; Runst 2013, 2014; Boettke et al., this volume, Chapter 6). Both Lavoie and Chamlee-Wright (2000) and Boettke (1998; Boettke et al., this volume, Chapter 6) stress that successful development depends on a transformation of value and belief systems, and without such a transformation the political reforms will be incomplete at best, or they are subject to policy reversals. Runst (2013, 2014) shows empirically that certain cultural aspects affect the decision to become self-employed and how to vote in post-socialist countries.
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