UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SSEES100 Economics and Business Conference: "Achievements and Challenges for the Emerging Economies of Central Europe"

Dates: 22 -24 June 2015

Location: UCL SSEES, 16 Taviton Street, London, UK


Throughout the 20th century, the countries of Central Europe appeared as a laboratory for new political and economic ideas. These countries experienced liberal capitalism in the early 20th century, state protectionism of the 1930s, they then experienced war before transforming into centrally planned economies in its varied forms. From 1989, these countries continued their extraordinary experiments with change and transformation as they embarked on the challenging road back to market economies. Policy choices, political constraints and growth trajectories led to numerous debates on the causes of divergence and possibility of a return to convergence in the region. Until the debate shifted again with the 2008 global economic crisis, as economic gaps between different parts of this mega region increased as well as their institutional and political differences.

Against this rich and complex backdrop, there is much to learn from the region. First, a key area of interests continues to be the debate about institution and economic development. Why are institutions so central to the issues of economic development and growth? What have we learned from the experience of transition? And how does the 2008 crisis fit with this understanding? Second, a growing number of academics argue that different institutions, in a broad sense, are required at different stages of development. The rationale for this is easily illustrated: do countries really need an efficient protection of intellectual property when they sit far from the technological frontier and may benefit more from adopting and adapting existing technologies at the lowest possible cost? Or is the same health care system required by countries with very different demographics? Can this tell us something about the appropriate pace and sequencing of reforms? Finally, a new strand of literature is now developing around the particular challenge of transition from middle income to high income country: what are the type of innovations and investments that are associated with this transition? Central Europe is an especially relevant region in which to investigate all of these burning questions.


With this in mind, this conference aims to take stock of our understanding of recent developments in Central Europe from a variety of perspectives and with a broad set of focal points. Through a mixture of keynote speeches from invited experts and selected contributions received through a call for papers, we will examine the major achievements and challenges in the region.

Conference programme:

Keynote speakers will include:

  • Leora Klapper
    Lead Economist, Finance and Private Sector Development, The World Bank
  • Keun Lee
    Professor of Economics, Seoul National University
  • Michael Landesmann
    Director of Research,The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies
To register to attend the conference please sign up on Eventbrite >
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For more information please contact the conference organiser Dr. Elodie Douarin (e.douarin@ucl.ac.uk)