Varieties of Transformation: Short- and Long-Term Stability and Instability in the Pattern of Regional Development Inequalities in (Former) Communist Countries

Authors: Ferenc Gyuris*, ELTE
Topics: China, East Europe, Economic Geography
Keywords: China,Eastern Bloc,post-communism,regional development,transition
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Calvert Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Economic transformation in former communist countries constituted a popular research topic during the 1990s, also from a spatial perspective. Beyond reporting about actual trends, contemporary studies mainly aimed to identify what they regarded as general and inherent regularities of post-Communist transition. In the last two decades China as a country still governed by a communist leadership has become a new focus of research. Yet, related studies are predominantly framing the Chinese case as a “variety of neoliberalism” instead of a variety of transition to an increasingly market economy based framework. Hence, comparative studies on transition in China and countries of the former Eastern Bloc in Europe are scarce, including those concentrating on inequalities of regional economic development. My goal is to contribute to filling this void by comparatively analyzing long term trends in both contexts, mainly stabilities and instabilities in the geographical pattern of regional development inequalities. My focus is whether different paths of economic transition in Communist and post-Communist countries have rather produced pendulum like swings in the geography of regional development inequalities (with a transitory period of fluctuations finally compensating each other and resulting in a regime of disparities much similar to the one before the transformation), or trend like changes, with short term (e.g. annual) alterations reinforcing each other in the long run and resulting in a robustly new geography of disparities. I will discuss some major conceptual issues, potential analytical methods, and opportunities of putting empirical results into a comparative analytical framework on varieties of transition.

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