Economic Ideas in the Transition from Communism
This book was an attempt to explore the ways the economics epistemic communities in Eastern Europe embraced the pro-market neoliberal ideas inspiring the massive transformation in institutions and policies in that part of the world in the 1990s. While engaging in this task, it reviewed a signiﬁcant part of the relevant literature, brought to the fore fresh facts and perspectives, challenged some old assumptions shaping the perception of the issue, and suggested new interpretations. As such, besides being an attempt to better understand the Eastern European case, the project was also an attempt to use the case as a vehicle to shore up our grasp of the processes associated with the spread and change of economic ideas. With these ends in view the book had to walk a ﬁne line between empirical observations and abstract theoretical frameworks, between the macro-level and the micro-level, between economics and sociology, between epistemology and intellectual history, and indeed, between competing interpretations of existing and new data. The result is a modest but, we hope, constructive step advancing an important research agenda. Probably the best way to mark the progress made in this respect is to simply restate some of the most signiﬁcant observations emerging from the study. First of all, the book challenged the widespread practice to approach the case of the rise of pro-market ideas in Eastern Europe as if it was possible to have one single, simple way of framing, explaining and understanding it. How ideas, interests and institutions interact...
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