11 January 2012

Economies in Transition – learning from past success and failure

Laxenburg, Austria – 11 February: The success or failure of past economic transitions, primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, is the focus of a conference being hosted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the New Economic School, Moscow, in Laxenburg, Austria, 13-14 January.

The Economies in Transition – 20 Years After conference will focus on how our understanding of successful reforms in transition economies has changed in the past two decades, and how this understanding – based on successful and unsuccessful transitions – can help support economic transitions in the future. The event also commemorates 20 years since IIASA hosted a series of seminars and meetings on “planned to market” economies (1990-1992). These meetings laid the foundation for what was to become the Blueprint for the reform of the Russian economy.

The conference will be opened by Professor Detlof von Winterfeldt, Director of IIASA and Dr. Petr Aven from the New Economics School, Moscow, Russia. It involves leading economic reformists, academics, and politicians from eastern and western economies.

Participants include:

  • Dr. John Williamson: Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Anders Åslund: Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
  • Professor Leszek Balcerowicz: Department of International Comparative Studies, Warsaw School of Economics, Poland
  • Professor Václav Klaus President of the Czech Republic
  • Dr. Vladimír Me?iar: Former Prime Minister of Slovakia, leader of the People's Party - Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (?S-HZDS)
  • Professor Richard Cooper: Harvard University, FAS Department of Economics, Center for International Affairs, Cambridge, MA.
  • Professor Aleksandr Shokhin: President of the State University Higher School of Economics, Russia
  • Dr. Kakha Bendukidze: Free University of Tbilisi, Georgia

INTERVIEWS: While the conference is not open to the public or press, speakers will be available for interviews with the press by appointment on Friday 13th or Saturday 14th January. Please contact Leane Regan on or +43 6644 430 368 as soon as possible to arrange an interview.

LOCATION: The conference will be held at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Schloss Laxenburg, Schlossplatz 1, Laxenburg, Austria.  On Friday please enter via the front doors and wait at reception. On Saturday please phone +43 6644 430 368 to be given entry to the building. Directions to Schloss Laxenburg to found here.

Conference Background

Twenty years have elapsed since a series of seminars and conferences on the transition from “planned to market” economies were held at IIASA. The most representative conference took place in Sopron (Hungary), where participants discussed detailed reforms that were under way in Eastern Europe and made a blueprint for reforms in Russia. The conference will commemorate 20 years of economic transformation and 20 years since the IIASA meetings. It will focus on how our understanding of successful reforms in transition economies has changed in the past two decades, and how this understanding can help support economic transformation in the future.

The conference will involve approximately 40 people, including participants of the IIASA meetings in 1990–1992, prominent reformers in formerly planned economies, and leading academic scholars of economic transitions. The conference will consist of nine sessions:

  1. Economies of CEE 20 Years Ago and Now: The place of CEE economies in the world then and now, major economic indicators of transition, successes and failures.
  2. Macroeconomic Stabilization: Fiscal and monetary stabilization policies, budgetary and tax reforms, inflation, exchange rate policies, central bank goals, etc.
  3. Privatization: Large, medium and small-size privatization, methods of privatization and public support for reform, ownership concentration and size of a firm.
  4. What Academics Learned from the Transition Experience: Reflection on academic expectations and approaches before transition, changes.
  5. The Political Economy of Free Markets
  6. Non-Economic Factors of Economic Reforms: Economics of policy reform, electoral support of reform, cultural legacy of the socialist past.
  7. Labor Markets and Social Policies: Concerns about unemployment in pre-reform period, unemployment benefits, labor mobility, pension reform, social safety net.
  8. Trade Liberalization: Trade regimes, tariffs, currency controls, foreign investments, external debt.
  9. Economic Freedom and Government Regulation: Ease of doing business, forms of state controls, aid and support for manufacturers, cross-subsidies, anti-monopoly policies, etc.


IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

About the New Economic School, (NES)

NES was established in 1992 through the joint efforts of Academician Valery Makarov (CEMI RAS, Russia) and Gur Ofer (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel). NES is a cooperative effort between Russian and Western economists.

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Last edited: 19 July 2013

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313