The two sides of a ghost: Twenty years without the wall
This paper compares individual preferences for a market economy in Western and Eastern Europe over more than one decade, since the fall of Berlin Wall. The aim is to understand whether preferences in the two blocks have converged towards the current orientation of the EU's economic policy: a market economy, where the Government decides the rules, but does not enter the game directly. This is important as in a democratic system the approved guidelines need the support of the population to be fully effective and not reversed by a change of the government. In the EU the integration process is still going on, especially since the entrance of several Eastern countries. This paper shows that Eastern and Western Europeans have different preferences: the first would like a larger direct intervention of the public hand in the economy, while the second prefer a more private-oriented market than their Eastern peers. In addition for the citizens of ex-soviet countries, the concept of "competition" seems to represent more the new ideology that defeated the communism rather than a real market mechanism. Nevertheless some convergence emerges from data, especially during the last years, i.e. after the negative impact of transition over Eastern economies left the place to a beneficial recovery.
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