Regional vs. Global Public Goods: The Case of Post-Communist Transition
The paper discusses the role of regional public goods vs. global goods in influencing postcommunist transition in Central and Eastern Europe and former USSR with special attention given to three particular factors: (i) external anchoring of national reform process; (ii) international trade arrangements and (iii) international financial stability. Our main finding is that that the EU, through the Eastern enlargement process, acted as the very effective regional public (club) good provider, whose influence across time and countries was correlated with better transition outcomes. In particular, the consolidation phase in democratization, institution building and structural transformation was successful in countries reforming under EU accession conditionality, but not under other forms of conditionality provided, for example, by the Bretton Woods institutions. In the area of trade, gains from WTO accession were dwarfed by the impact of the opening of the EU trading block for accession countries. Finally, countries participating in EU integration showed more discipline in maintaining macroeconomic stability, while IMF programs were less effective in inducing stability in the absence of the European factor. This the main reason why CIS countries which got neither the EU accession perspective, nor even trade liberalization offer on the EU lag behind Central European, Baltic and Balkan countries in terms of democratization, rule of law, institutional stability and market-oriented economic reforms. However, due to observed 'enlargement fatigue' in the incumbent EU, the future attractiveness of the EU integration perspective and strength of the accession associated incentive system (in respect to countries of Western Balkans, CIS and Turkey) comes under question. There is also unclear whether European experience in providing regional public goods can be easily repeated in other geographic regions and to which extended can be used by the providers of global public goods.
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