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What is success and what is failure of transition? A critical review of two decades of agricultural reform in the Europe and Central Asia region

  • Agricultural Science


This article reviews the outcome of the transformation of a centrally planned into a market economy over the past two decades in the case of agriculture in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region. It focuses on the question of how transition progress in the region's agriculture can be evaluated and compared adequately. The article presents a set of arguments to question some of the conventional wisdom in the existing literature on what success and failure are in the transition of the ECA region's agriculture. In particular, it challenges the usefulness of counterfactuals that are commonly used in the existing literature to appraise transition progress such as pre-reform output levels, individualised farming structures and WTO-conforming agricultural market regulation. Against this background the widespread view that agricultural reform in the advanced CIS countries has, in general, been less successful than in the new EU member states is questioned.

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