A Comparative Perspective on Latin America and Eastern Europe
Edited by Werner Baer and Joseph L. Love
Chapter 13: Institutions and property rights across time and space: lessons from Eastern Europe and Latin America
Baer 04 chap 12 19/10/00 11:51 am Page 305 13. Institutions and property rights across time and space: lessons from Eastern Europe and Latin America1 Lee J. Alston History matters.2 This statement is intuitively appealing to scholars researching transition economies as well as to the casual observer. A large part of its appeal is its vagueness: it can mean different things to different people. Yet, to be useful to the analyst, we need to specify the myriad ways in which history determines where you can go from here. By so doing, we will be able to construct testable hypotheses about the importance of different historical factors. In this way we can help policymakers limit the extent to which ‘history repeats itself.’ In this chapter I will explore the possible ways history mattered and will matter in the future. In so doing, I will draw on examples from the chapters in this volume. HISTORY BEFORE THE TRANSITION/PRIVATIZATION PROCESS ‘When You Ain’t Got Nothing, You Got Nothing To Lose’3 This quotation captures the concept of opportunity cost. A greater discontent with the past allows a leap of faith to markets. In short, societies risk little if the past was miserable. For Central Europeans the bitterness toward past ‘invaders,’ in particular the most recent period of Soviet control, encouraged them to adopt markets more quickly than they otherwise might have. For example, Kochanowicz argues that for Czechoslovakia, ‘For all its isolationism, the experience of 1968 seemed to bury whatever sympathies existed...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.