Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Central and Eastern Europe Related Abstracts

7 The Role of Privatization as a Moderator of the Impact of Non-Institutional Factors on the Performance of the Enterprises in Central and Eastern Europe

Authors: Margerita Topalli

Abstract:

In this paper, we analyze the impact of corruption (business environment, informal payments and state capture), crime and tax time, on the enterprise's performance during economic transition in the Central and Eastern Europe and the role of privatization as a moderator. We examine this effect by comparing the performance of the privatized enterprises and the state-owned-enterprises, while controlling for various forms of selection bias. The present study is based on firm-level panel data collected by the BEEPS for 27 transition countries over 2002, 2005, 2007, and 2011. In addition to firm characteristics, BEEPS collects valuable survey information on different forms of corruption, crime, tax time and firm ownership. We estimate the impact of corruption, crime, tax time on the different performance measures (sales, productivity, employment, labor costs and material costs) of the enterprise, whereby we control for firm ownership, with a special focus on the role of the privatization as a moderator. It argues that in general terms, the privatization has positive effects on the performance of enterprises during transition, but these effects are significantly different, depending on the examined performance measure (sales, productivity, employment, labor costs and material costs). When the privatization is effective, the privatized enterprises show a considerable performance improvements, particularly in terms of revenue growth and productivity growth. It also argues that the effects of privatization are different depending on the types of owner (outsider or insider) to whom it gives control. The results show that privatization to insider owners has no significant performance effect.

Keywords: Corruption, effects of privatization, enterprise performance, state capture, firm ownership, economic transition, Central and Eastern Europe

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6 Social Movements of Central-Eastern Europe: Examining Trends of Cooperation and Antagonism by Using Big Data

Authors: Reka Zsuzsanna Mathe

Abstract:

The globalization and the Europeanization have significantly contributed to a change in the role of the nation-states. The global economic crisis, the climate changes, and the recent refugee crisis, are just a few among many challenges that cannot be effectively addressed by the traditional role of the nation-states. One of the main roles of the states is to solve collective action problems, however due to their changing roles; apparently this is getting more and more difficult. Depending on political culture, collective action problems are solved either through cooperation or conflict. The political culture of Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries is marked by low civic participation and by a weak civil society. In this type of culture collective action problems are likely to be induced through conflict, rather than the democratic process of dialogue and any type of social change is probably to be introduced by social movements. Several studies have been conducted on the social movements of the CEE countries, yet, it is still not clear if the most significant social movements of the region tend to choose rather the cooperative or the conflictual way as action strategy. This study differentiates between a national and a European action field, having different social orders. The actors of the two fields are the broadly understood civil society members, conceptualized as social movements. This research tries to answer the following questions: a) What are the norms that best characterize the CEE countries’ social order? b) What type of actors would prefer a change and in which areas? c) Is there a significant difference between the main actors active in the national versus the European field? The main hypotheses are that there are conflicting norms defining the national and the European action field, and there is a significant difference between the action strategies adopted by social movements acting in the two different fields. In mapping the social order, the study uses data provided by the European Social Survey. Big data of the Global Data on Events, Location and Tone (GDELT) database offers information regarding the main social movements and their preferred type of action. The unit of the analysis is the so called ‘Visegrad 4’ countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary and the research uses data starting from 2005 (after the European accession of these four countries) until May, 2017. According to the data, the main hypotheses were confirmed.

Keywords: Civil Society, Big Data, Social Movements, Central and Eastern Europe, GDELT

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5 Civic E-Participation in Central and Eastern Europe: A Comparative Analysis

Authors: Izabela Kapsa

Abstract:

Civic participation is an important aspect of democracy. The contemporary model of democracy is based on citizens' participation in political decision-making (deliberative democracy, participatory democracy). This participation takes many forms of activities like display of slogans and symbols, voting, social consultations, political demonstrations, membership in political parties or organizing civil disobedience. The countries of Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 are characterized by great social, economic and political diversity. Civil society is also part of the process of democratization. Civil society, funded by the rule of law, civil rights, such as freedom of speech and association and private ownership, was to play a central role in the development of liberal democracy. Among the many interpretations of concepts, defining the concept of contemporary democracy, one can assume that the terms civil society and democracy, although different in meaning, nowadays overlap. In the post-communist countries, the process of shaping and maturing societies took place in the context of a struggle with a state governed by undemocratic power. State fraud or repudiation of the institution is a representative state, which in the past was the only way to manifest and defend its identity, but after the breakthrough became one of the main obstacles to the development of civil society. In Central and Eastern Europe, there are many obstacles to the development of civil society, for example, the elimination of economic poverty, the implementation of educational campaigns, consciousness-related obstacles, the formation of social capital and the deficit of social activity. Obviously, civil society does not only entail an electoral turnout but a broader participation in the decision-making process, which is impossible without direct and participative democratic institutions. This article considers such broad forms of civic participation and their characteristics in Central and Eastern Europe. The paper is attempts to analyze the functioning of electronic forms of civic participation in Central and Eastern European states. This is not accompanied by a referendum or a referendum initiative, and other forms of political participation, such as public consultations, participative budgets, or e-Government. However, this paper will broadly present electronic administration tools, the application of which results from both legal regulations and increasingly common practice in state and city management. In the comparative analysis, the experiences of post-communist bloc countries will be summed up to indicate the challenges and possible goals for further development of this form of citizen participation in the political process. The author argues that for to function efficiently and effectively, states need to involve their citizens in the political decision-making process, especially with the use of electronic tools.

Keywords: e-Government, post-communism, E-Participation, Central and Eastern Europe

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4 Content of Trace Elements in Agricultural Soils from Central and Eastern Europe

Authors: S. Krustev, V. Angelova, K. Ivanov, P. Zaprjanova

Abstract:

Approximately a dozen trace elements are vital for the development of all plants and some other elements are significant for some species. Heavy metals do not belong to this group of elements that are essential to plants, but some of them such as copper and zinc, have a dual effect on their growth. Concentration levels of these elements in the different regions of the world vary considerably. Their high concentrations in some parts of Central and Eastern Europe cause concern for human health and degrade the quality of agricultural produce from these areas. This study aims to compare the prevalence and levels of the major trace elements in some rural areas of Central and Eastern Europe. Soil samples from different regions of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Greece far from large industrial centers have been studied. The main methods for their determination are the atomic spectral techniques – atomic absorption and plasma atomic emission. As a result of this study, data on microelements levels in soils of 17 points from the main grain-producing regions of Central and Eastern Europe are presented and systematized. The content of trace elements was in the range of 5.0-84.1 mg.kg⁻¹ for Cu, 0.3-1.4 mg.kg⁻¹ for Cd, 26.1-225.5 mg.kg⁻¹ for Zn, 235.5-788.6 mg.kg⁻¹ for Mn and 4.1-25.8 mg.kg⁻¹ for Pb.

Keywords: Heavy Metals, Trace Elements, Agricultural Soils, Central and Eastern Europe

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3 The Role of Interpersonal and Institutional Trusts for the Public Support of Welfare State

Authors: Nazim Habibov, Alena Auchynnikava, Lida Fan

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The exploration of the relationship between social trust and the support of the welfare system in transitional countries has attracted growing interests in recent decades. This study estimates the effects of interpersonal and institutional trust on the support of the welfare system in 27 countries in Eastern Europe the former Soviet Union. We estimate the data sets from the Life-in-Transition Survey 2010 and 2016 with binomial regression models. The results indicate that both interpersonal and institutional trust have positive effects on the support for the welfare system in all the three areas under investigation: helping the needy, public healthcare and public education, both in the less developed countries of the former Soviet Union and in the more developed Eastern European countries. Furthermore, the positive effects of interpersonal and institutional trust on support for helping the needy, public healthcare and public education were found to grow over time. In conclusion, this study confirms that interpersonal and institutional trusts have positive effects for the public support of the welfare system in these transitional countries under investigation, regardless of their level of development.

Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, former Soviet union, international social welfare policy, comparative social welfare policy

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2 Research on the Function Optimization of China-Hungary Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone

Authors: Wenjuan Lu

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China and Hungary have risen from a friendly and comprehensive cooperative relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership in recent years, and the economic and trade relations between the two countries have developed smoothly. As an important country along the ‘Belt and Road’, Hungary and China have strong economic complementarities and have unique advantages in carrying China's industrial transfer and economic transformation and development. The construction of the China-Hungary Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, which was initiated by the ‘Sino-Hungarian Borsod Industrial Zone’ and the ‘Hungarian Central European Trade and Logistics Cooperation Park’ has promoted infrastructure construction, optimized production capacity, promoted industrial restructuring, and formed brand and agglomeration effects. Enhancing the influence of Chinese companies in the European market has also promoted economic development in Hungary and even in Central and Eastern Europe. However, as the China-Hungary Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone is still in its infancy, there are still shortcomings such as small scale, single function, and no prominent platform. In the future, based on the needs of China's cooperation with ‘17+1’ and China-Hungary cooperation, on the basis of appropriately expanding the scale of economic and trade cooperation zones and appropriately increasing the number of economic and trade cooperation zones, it is better to focus on optimizing and adjusting its functions and highlighting different economic and trade cooperation. The differentiated function of the trade zones strengthens the multi-faceted cooperation of economic and trade cooperation zones and highlights its role as a platform for cooperation in information, capital, and services.

Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe, ‘One Belt, One Road’ Initiative, China-Hungary economic and trade cooperation zone, function optimization

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1 The Exchange Rate Exposure of Exporting and Domestic Firms in Central and Eastern European Countries Controlling for Regime Effect and Recent Crisis

Authors: Raheel Asif, Michael Frommel

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This paper focuses on analyzing the exchange rate exposure of exporting & domestic firms in (the so far rarely addressed) largest Eastern European transition economies, i.e., Russia and the three EU accession countries, Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic (CEEC-3). It also controls for possible effects of different exchange rate regimes, Great Financial crisis (2007-08), Russian Financial crisis (2014-15), the formation of EU & turn of year effect. Substantially improving the results from the existing literature on these transition economies, we find for more than 51% of our sample firms in CEEC-3 countries and 29% in Russia shows a significant exchange rate exposure. However, the magnitude and direction of firms’ exposure depends on the particular bilateral exchange rate and differs between CEEC-3 and Russia. We find that share price increases with an appreciation of the domestic currency against the EURO and US Dollar (USD) in CEEC-3; however, the effect is more pronounced for EURO as expected. Whereas, for Russian firms share price increases with a depreciation of the domestic currency against the USD only. Those differences may result from a differing dominance of exposure channels in the respective economies, such as the country-specific export structure, competitiveness channels, and dependence on foreign debt. Finally, the switch from a pegged to a flexible exchange rate regime appears to have a less pronounced effect for the exchange rate exposure of firms in all countries except for USD in Poland and Russia.

Keywords: International Finance, Transition economies, exchange rate exposure, Central and Eastern Europe

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