Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations
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Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations

Beyond Accession in Central and Eastern Europe

Edited by Agnes Batory, Andrew Cartwright and Diane Stone

Policy Experiments, Failures and Innovations takes a policy studies perspective in considering post-communist EU member states’ experiences since accession. The book analyses policy transfer processes and expands the new and growing sub-field of policy failure by interrogating the binary ideas of ‘failure’ and ‘success’ in the context of the Central Eastern European (CEE) transition, democratic consolidation and European Union membership.
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Chapter 3: Learn from thy neighbor: Emulation and learning in Eastern European mandatory private pensions reforms

Dragos Adascalitei and Stefan Domonkos


This chapter analyzes pension privatization strategies and outcomes in two late-reforming countries: the Czech Republic and Romania. Using a set of pairwise comparisons between the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and Romania and Bulgaria, the chapter shows that privatization was initially imported into the region with the help of international actors and local policy-makers who perceived it as the only solution to demographic aging. Thus, early privatizers adopted variations of pension privatization closest to the World Bank’s ideal. By contrast, through learning, late reformers have deviated from early privatizers. While the decision to privatize among late reformers was determined by the ideological preferences of the policy-makers in charge of pensions, the specific policy choice in each case was adapted to fit the critiques raised by opponents of pension privatization. Late reformers specifically focused on problems experienced by their early-reformer neighbors, whom they perceived as best examples to learn from.

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