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Agricultural transformation: Lessons from experience


  • Swinnen, Johan F.M.


It is now fifteen years ago that the Berlin Wall fell, the start of a vast set of changes throughout the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Reforms in the Communist world had started earlier further east: first in China in the late 1970s and in Vietnam in the mid 1980s. The changes affected society in a multitude of ways. They affected the way the political and economic system operated but also the social organization of society, the psychology of the people living in the countries, and the culture of day-to-day life. In this essay I focus on how these changes affected the rural economy and the agricultural and food sector. I will discuss developments and performances of the countries during transition, the causes behind them, and the policy lessons they imply. My analysis relies heavily on work I have done with various co-authors on these issues and I refer to these publications for details on some of the issues and arguments which I will forward here somewhat too brief to do justice to their complexity. For more detailed arguments and analyses I refer in particular to Rozelle and Swinnen (2004) and Macours and Swinnen (2000, 2002).

Suggested Citation

  • Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2005. "Agricultural transformation: Lessons from experience," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31717

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gérard Roland & Thierry Verdier, 1999. "Transition and the output fall," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, March.
    2. Macours, Karen & Swinnen, Johan F. M., 2000. "Causes of Output Decline in Economic Transition: The Case of Central and Eastern European Agriculture," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 172-206, March.
    3. Erik Mathijs & Johan F. M. Swinnen, 2001. "Production Organization And Efficiency During Transition: An Empirical Analysis Of East German Agriculture," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 100-107, February.
    4. Hanan G. Jacoby & Guo Li & Scott Rozelle, 2002. "Hazards of Expropriation: Tenure Insecurity and Investment in Rural China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1420-1447, December.
    5. Loren Brandt & Dwayne Benjamin, 1999. "Markets and Inequality in Rural China: Parallels with the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 292-295, May.
    6. Csaki, C. & Lerman, Z., 1997. "Land Reform in Ukraine: The First Five Years," World Bank - Discussion Papers 371, World Bank.
    7. Nivelin Noev & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2004. "Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," Chapters,in: The World's Wine Markets, chapter 9 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    8. Macours, Karen & Swinnen, Johan F M, 2002. "Patterns of Agrarian Transition," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(2), pages 365-394, January.
    9. Sedik, David & Trueblood, Michael & Arnade, Carlos, 1999. "Corporate Farm Performance in Russia, 1991-1995: An Efficiency Analysis," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 514-533, September.
    10. Scott Rozelle & Johan F.M. Swinnen, 2004. "Success and Failure of Reform: Insights from the Transition of Agriculture," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 404-456, June.
    11. Lin, Justin Yifu, 1992. "Rural Reforms and Agricultural Growth in China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 34-51, March.
    12. Sabates-Wheeler, Rachel, 2002. "Farm Strategy, Self-Selection and Productivity: Can Small Farming Groups Offer Production Benefits to Farmers in Post-Socialist Romania?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(10), pages 1737-1753, October.
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