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Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus Working Papers, Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business, University of Aarhus

No 00-5:
Missing social capital and the transition in Eastern Europe

Martin Paldam () and Gert Tinggaard Svendsen ()

Abstract: The transition of the »Old Communist« countries of East and Central Europe has been disappointingly slow given the amount of physical and human capital available at the start of the

transition. We argue that this slowness is caused by the lack of social capital, which is an

important factor of production. The Communist system replaced it with an official organization

of society. Further, the communist system needed a set of grey/black networks of »fixers« to give

it the necessary flexibility. These networks were tolerated, but controlled. When the Communist

regime ceased the official organizations collapsed and so did most of the control systems. This allowed a flourishing of the grey/black networks, which can be harmful to the operations of a market economy. The available data are still scanty, but they confirm the argument.

Keywords: Social capital; network; communism; Eastern Europe; Trust; Corruption; Political participation; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: A12; C71; D23; D70; (follow links to similar papers)

21 pages, January 1, 2000

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