Transitional Economies: Banking, Finance, Institutions

By Yelena Kalyuzhnova; Michael Taylor | Go to book overview

Overview: Developing Market Institutions in Transitional Economies

AnimeshShrivastava

Writing in 1991, Robert Solow cautioned: ‘There is not some glorious theoretical synthesis of capitalism that you can write down in a book and follow. You have to grope your way’. 1 Indeed, attempts to develop a market economy in the transitional countries represent experimentation on a gigantic scale. There are several reasons for this. First, the market economy is a system comprising a set of supporting institutions, ranging from economic to legal, political, social and beyond. This means that the set of potential ‘components’ of a market economy is quite large and diverse. Further, observationally, there are marked differences between the institutions of the leading market economies. Hence the desiderata for transformation to a market economy are by no means either unique or uncontroversial. Second, the raison d'être of institutions is to modify the behaviour of economic agents: unless institutions do so they fail in their purpose. However, mere existence or formal adoption of institutions does not necessarily change economic behaviour. An institution's rules and arrangements have to be credible to induce that. But credibility is a complex and somewhat amorphous attribute, having roots in enforcement mechanisms, expected durability of institutional change, commitment to complementary policy changes and so on. Moreover, institutional credibility can be acquired and enhanced in a number of different ways. Thus, even if the ‘targets’ for requisite institutional change are uniquely identifiable, the ‘instruments’ for bringing them about will not necessarily be so. Third, the problem of unclear guiding principles has been compounded by insufficient practical experience. The scale and scope of the attempted transformation to a market economy in the transitional economies is without parallel.

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