A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Patterns in the Catching-up Performance of the Former Soviet Union Republics

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Zenonas NORKUS, Sociology Department, Faculty of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Lithuania
There is no consensus about the causes of dissolution of USSR. But surely Soviet Union most probably would not have dissolved, had it fulfilled the promise to catch up economically with U.S. – even if this would have happened only in 1990 or in 2000, and not in only in 1980 (as was solemny promised in the III Programme of the CPSU adopted in 1961). Although Perestroika initiators did not promise that „shock therapy“ style market reforms („500 days“ or so) will enable reformed Soviet Union to catch up with U.S. in some 20 years, the hope and promise was that they will lead Soviet economy out of low growth trap. The market reformers in Boris Yeltsin circle believed that „sheding off“ the internal empire will boost catching up performance of Russia even more. Nationalists in other Soviet republics believed the same about the economic effects of the independence. The paper uses „American standard“ (did a fSU republic decrease the GDP per capita gap, separating it from U.S., or failed to do this during recent 25 years?) to measure economic success of the restoration of capitalism and national state independence. After division of the fSU republics into two subsets (the „success“ and „failure“ cases), qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) is applied to explore the causes of the difference in the catching-up performance. The pride of place is given to the institutionalist explanation: did the differentiation of fSU economies into the liberal market capitalism, state capitalism, political oligarchic capitalism etc. varieties matter? Or was the economic success (defined by „American standard“) conditional on other interacting or counteracting causal forces?