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More than ten years after the departure of the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) towards market economy and democracy now it seems to be possible as well as necessary to analyse the present settings, the developments so far, and relevant problems faced during the transition. The main tasks are making the transition process empirically transparent and investigate its determinants. This has to be done in order to understand the particular trends and – based on that – to conceptualise sustainable policy concepts as well as adjusted reform measures. According to this challenge an analytical dilemma arise regarding a general focus on the subject on hand side (universal validity of the results) and the desire for diversified and precisely answers to the empirical questions on the other side. For the present study this conflict has been solved by selecting the Russian Federation as one of the most heterogeneous research subjects with a predominant position among the transition countries. In order to capture the variety of the transition process Russia has been analysed along its territorial units (simplified: regions)9 divided into four sectors: industry, services, agriculture and construction, respectively, analysed aggregated as well as separately for the period 1993-2000. Beside the transition process on a sectoral and regional level the main determinants of these developments as well as their relevant political aspects are from particular interest. Accordingly, for this study three general objectives have been formulated.10 (1) Explore and record (quantitative comparable) the individual transition path, (2) Discover and verify the determinants of the transition process, (3) Derive policy implications (call for action, priorities, agenda, etc.). This successive structure of objectives – depict the transition, verify determinants, summarise policy implications – has been transferred directly into a three stage approach: (analytical step 1, 2, 3 (realised in the chapters V, VI, VII). The analytical idea is to approximate the progress of transition by individual developments of productivity. According to the analytical concept (see: chapter II) positive welfare effects have to be expected as a characteristic result of a successful transition due to an overcome of co-ordination and incentive problems which are typically inherent in a planned economy. Hence, the way from "a plan toward a market" can be properly illustrated by Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and its components (technological change, technical efficiency, etc.). The chapters (III, IV) discuss the relevant theoretical and methodological aspects and develop appropriate models for the analyses. The empirical foundation of the study are sectoral production frontier analyses which are used to calculate technological change (TCH), technical efficiency (TE) and their trends. The determinants of the transition process can be verified by regressing a sample of explanatory variables with respect to these scores. The results of the various analytical steps can be summarised as follows: The sectoral as well as regional transition paths are much more heterogeneous than expected (see analytical step (1)). For the Russian economy (in total) as well as for industry and service sector similar trends characteristics (common path but different levels) were found. The common patterns are dominated by certain macro-economic indicators. Accordingly, four stylised phases of transition were extracted. These patterns have not been that clear for the construction sector and have to be rejected for agriculture. Occasionally, the sectoral transition paths diverge. In analogy this is also true for the regional level.11 Almost everywhere in Russia some regions can be found which have been more successful in the transition process (in general or at least with respect to certain sectors) compared to the mean trends and/or related to their direct neighbours (who had very similar initial conditions).12 Admittedly, for some regions, however, a development clearly below the average trends has to be stated.13 The same variety which were found with respect to the sectoral/regional transition paths has to be quoted regarding to the corresponding determinants. In analytical step (2) for a number of variables a significant influence on the transition process (rather than on TCH, TE, etc.) at a general/inter-sectoral as well as at sector specific levels has been detected. The causalities of these variables14 and related policy measures have been discussed and, afterwards, along their political relevance grouped. Analytical step (3) has – based on that – a sequence of political calls for action exposed. Some general aspects were addressed to the federal level. Indeed, the majority of the necessary actions and measures (acute needs, call for actions, open questions and discussions) have to be realised by the regions.15 As one of the most important tasks with Russia's regions a formulation of a decided political vision regarding the further transition process and the regional 'destination' has been indicated.16 This seems to be the precondition for any sustainable political programme. The questions, which measure has to be primary and how should be the agenda accentuated have been discussed along a hierarchic structure. Furthermore, the implementation of policy measures and the potential influence of certain Russian society groups in the upcoming reform debate have been reviewed. All these aspects were implemented in a conceptual guideline which can be used to specify regionally adjusted reform policies. In view of the discussion about transition paths, relevant determinants, and the related political implications it has to be summarised: the necessary preconditions for a successful transition in Russia are almost everywhere given. But, partly sufficient conditions and positive impulses are missing in order to initiate substantial transition progress. The call for action and the responsibility have to be addressed to the regions. Hence, the configuration of the individual transition path, the agenda setting, the political initiative and, therefore, the final success of Russia's way from a "plan towards a market" are basically in the responsibility of the regions. But, the regions have to be aware of these challenges, should develop the chances actively and finally take advantage from the opportunities. If this will be successful then a substantial growth process can be expected for Russia's economy.


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