The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism

edited by Anders Åslund and Simeon Djankov
November 2014
Book Description

The fall of communism transformed the political and economic landscape in more than two dozen countries across Europe and Asia. In this volume published on the 25th anniversary of the fall, political leaders, scholars, and policymakers assess the lessons learned from the "great rebirth" of capitalism and highlight the policies that were most successful in helping countries make the transition to stable and prosperous market economies. Also discussed in this book are examples of countries reverting to political and economic authoritarianism. The authors of these essays conclude that the best outcomes resulted from visionary leadership, a willingness to take bold steps, privatization of state-owned enterprises, and deregulation. Recent backsliding in Russia and Hungary has cast a shadow over the legacy of the transition a quarter century ago, however. This volume grew out of a two-day symposium of experts and practitioners reflecting on the past, present, and future of reform, held in Budapest, Hungary, on May 6–7, 2014.

Data disclosure: The data underlying this analysis are available here [xlsx].

Selected chapters and sections are provided for preview only.

Preface [pdf]



Anders Åslund and Simeon Djankov

I Early Reformers

1. Poland: Stabilization and Reforms under Extraordinary and Normal Politics
Leszek Balcerowicz

2. Regression: Reform Reversal in Hungary after a Promising Start
Lajos Bokros

3. Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic: The Spirit and Main Contours of the Postcommunist Transformation
Václav Klaus

4. Estonia: The Most Radical Reforms
Mart Laar

5. Russia: The Arduous Transition to a Market Economy [pdf]
Anders Åslund

II Latecomers and No-Shows

6. Slovakia: The Latecomer That Caught Up
Ivan Mikloš

7. Bulgaria: The Greatest Vacillations
Simeon Djankov

8. Georgia: The Most Radical Catch-Up Reforms
Mikheil Saakashvili and Kakha Bendukidze

9. Ukraine: Greatest Hopes, Greatest Disappointments
Oleh Havrylyshyn

III Trends

10. The Microeconomics of Postcommunist Transformation
Simeon Djankov

11. Twenty-Five Years Later: Macroeconomic Aspects of Transition
Charles Wyplosz

12. From Transition to Integration: The Role of Trade and Investment
Daniel Gros

13. Transition in Historical Perspective
Gérard Roland

14. The Political Economy of Change after Communism [pdf]
Daniel Treisman

Timeline of Events in the Region


About the Contributors


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Book Data

November 2014
ISBN paper 978-0-88132-697-0
320 pp.

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Commentaries on This Book

"[The Great Rebirth] provides a good overview of the most momentous political development of the late twentieth century, allowing readers to compare the former Soviet states' early experiences with privatization, macroeconomic stabilization, and foreign trade and investment, as well as their later reforms dealing with taxes, pensions, and the rule of law."

Foreign Affairs

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