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INSTRUCTORDr. Ritsa Panagiotou, Senior Research Fellow, Centre of Planning and Economic Research -KEPE

Course Description

The aim of this course is to acquire knowledge of the main characteristics of the centrally planned economy, its strengths and weaknesses, and the complexities inherent in the transition to a market economy. A key focus of the course is the analysis and understanding of how each country’s communist era legacy has informed and influenced its transition process over the years. The theoretical framework will be applied to the countries of Southeast Europe, with an emphasis on how and why their transition path has been so different to that of the Central European countries, and how the uniqueness of the Balkan countries’ experience in the 1990s shaped their transition. Throughout the course, students will be asked to assess how political, social and cultural factors played – and continue to play - a crucial role in the region’s economic transition and development. Overall, by evaluating the successes and failures of the Balkan countries’ transitions, the course will attempt to assess whether this process has brought them closer to a European Union prospect.  

The course is categorized into four core themes: 1) the Communist Era (main characteristics and inherent weaknesses of centrally planned economies); 2) the Transition Era (collapse of the centrally planned regimes, key steps in the transition process, particularities of Southeast Europe, case studies of early and late reformers); 3) Current challenges / Prospects for the Future (economic relations with Greece, impact of the crisis, the role of Russia, evaluation of the transition process and assessment of future prospects) and 4) Student research activities (student presentations of the Annual EBRD Transition Reports and oral presentations of their research papers).