Political Science | Comparative Politics and the Study of Economic Transformation
Y657 | 15696 | Smyth

POLS Y657:  Comparative Politics and the Study of Economic Transformation
The transitions from communist authoritarian rule in the Soviet Union
and East Europe presented the unique problem of constructing both a
market economic structures and democratic states. The class will
extend our definition of economic reform beyond the period of
privatization to examine the long-term processes of economic
development.  We will begin by exploring of the starting point of
transitions, with an eye toward the variation in starting points
across states, to understand the influence of the old command economic
systems on market transition.  In the first weeks of class, we will
examine the theories that emerged to explain the relationship between
economic and political reform as well as the variation in outcomes at
both the micro-and macro-levels.  For example, we will explore the
competing explanations for the variation in state privatization
strategies and compliance with neo-liberal policy prescriptions,
social welfare programs, and obstacles to reform as well as the
variation in overall outcomes.   We will also look at individual
behaviors in response to transition:  economic voting, individual
responses to risk and uncertainty, and the level of growth in small
and middle range businesses.  In doing so, we will touch on core
concepts such as corruption, rule of law, and informal institutions.
Readings will be drawn from political science journals as well as two
or three new books on the political economy of transition.  Course
requirements will be adjusted to studentsí goals and programs of study.