Assessing the Impact of Veto Players and Political Skills on the Outcomes of Economic Reforms in Central European Countries

Assessing the Impact of Veto Players and Political Skills on the Outcomes of Economic Reforms in Central European Countries

by Matthes, Claudia & Terletzki, Peggy

Paper delivered at the SASE-Conference 2001 in Amsterdam, NL

Abstract

The initial choice of a certain sequence of constitution building, price liberalisation, privatisation, and stabilisation policy had a significant impact on economic recovery. In particular, those strategies proved successful that gave priority to stabilisation. However, among the Central European countries, there are two deviant cases: Bulgaria and Estonia. Although Bulgaria employed a similar ‚winning‘ sequence, economic recovery is a long time in coming. Estonia, contrarily, is among the best performing countries albeit the stabilisation programme was implemented with delay. When explaining these ‚deviant‘ cases one learns about two more significant factors: the presence (or absence) of veto players, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the government’s capability for coping with problems of political management arising along the reform path. Applying this perspective to the ‚conforming‘ cases as well reveals how far transformational success depended, besides all the structural factors, on considerable political skills.