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With the collapse of the socialist regime in East Germany in late 1989 and the rising political call for unification in early 1990, a deep change of the institutional structure became necessary. The (agricultural) administration had to be totally restructured. This referred not only to substance, functions and tasks which had to be adjusted – similar to all other transition economies - to the market-economic and pluralistic democratic system, but also the whole administrative set-up had to be re-established in line with the West German system. Hence, a new administrative system had to be built up from scratch in the East, while the socialist one had to be dismantled in a short period. Overall, this institutional change seems to have been accomplished successfully as billions of Deutsch Mark could be processed by the agricultural administration in 1990 in order to avoid an imminent collapse of the agricultural sector. This administrative transformation was characterised by few rules, but a “pioneer spirit” among the staff involved which allowed a large degree of liberty in decision-making. The staff had to improvise and act pragmatically in order to get the tasks accomplished


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