Capitalism from Outside? Economic Cultures in Eastern Europe after 1989

By János Mátyás Kovács; Violetta Zentai | Go to book overview

Beyond Basic Instinct?
On the Reception of New Institutional Economics
in Eastern Europe

János Mátyás Kovács

I did not use the term “institution” in every second
paragraph as it recently has become fashionable to
do, but I think I understood what a system means
,
and what the difference is between socialism and
capitalism…

-János Kornai (2000)

Even the Ponzi schemes could be considered as
“schools.”

—An interview excerpt from Bulgaria

In planning our study of East-West cultural encounters in economics, we were looking for a school of thought that is popular enough in our region to provide us with a sufficient amount of empirical information for a meaningful comparative analysis, and at the same time, identifiable enough to target our inquiry as precisely as possible. New institutional thought seemed to guarantee a large set of scientific theories of rapid expansion that have been “doomed” to flow in Eastern Europe during the past few decades. By new institutional thought we mean, first of all, what is usually called “new institutional economics” (NIE), that is, a great variety of expanding research programs ranging from property rights and transaction costs theory, through public choice, all the way down to evolutionary economics. Owing to the fact that NIE is famous/notorious for a profound interpenetration of economics with other social sciences, interdisciplinary fields such as new branches of economic history, economic policy, economic sociology, law and

I owe special thanks to Paul Dragoş Aligică, Roumen Avramov, Vojmir Franičević, Aleksandra Jovanović, Jacek Kochanowicz, Alice Navratilova, Aleksander Stevanović, Horia Paul Terpe, and Tjaša Živko for their participation in the project.

-281-

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