WORKSHOP: ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN POST-COMMUNIST EMERGING ECONOMIES: HISTORICAL LEGACIES, INSTITUTIONAL PRACTICES AND POLICY PERSPECTIVES
Three decades after the breakdown of Soviet communism, the historically unique challenge of transforming administrative command economies to market economies has resulted in diverse institutional patterns of economic, social, and political affairs. Following complex historical processes of institutional change, post-communist emerging economies exhibit substantial variations in the prevailing sets of formal and informal institutions, covering a wide domain of legal rules and market regulations as well as social norms and cultural values. These institutional varieties form the actual context of entrepreneurship. In this setting, entrepreneurship in the operation of firms may be defined by diverse functions that cover a range from the discovery of market opportunities to the introduction of technological novelty. Likewise, entrepreneurship comes in diverse forms. It ranges from local family businesses in traditional industries via large oligopolistic and oligarchic industrial and service conglomerates to vibrant knowledge-intensive start-ups.
Crucially, in view of this diversity of entrepreneurial activities and their institutional settings, we would like to inquire whether there is a distinct quality of entrepreneurship in these post-communist emerging economies. Three key issues stand out in requiring further exploration:
· Historical legacies and their impact on entrepreneurship and its institutional context.
· Institutional practices of entrepreneurship in market and policy environments.
· Policy perspectives on the governance and regulation of entrepreneurship.
The matter of historical legacies points at the interplay of rupture and persistence in institutional change. Key topics are historically rooted patterns of cultural values, habits, and modes of behaviour, as well as economic structures, modes of economic organization, and government-business-relations, all of which might stem from the Soviet era or even Pre-Soviet traditions. Historical legacies are expected to prevail even though the legal foundations of economic and political systems may be subject rapid and disruptive change.
The matter of institutional practices refers to the circumstance that the establishment of market systems in political-economic transformation involves not only the introduction of price-regulated markets but also the establishment of a moral order of competition and commodification that may conflict with weak legal underpinnings and market-averse value orientations. This tension impacts the efficiency of market structures both regarding the top-down design by government and bottom-up spontaneous ordering by local actors.
The matter of policy perspectives refers to specific patterns in the governance and regulation of entrepreneurial affairs. Entrepreneurship requires an effective role of the state in governing markets, involving the promotion of good governance and the rule of law, paralleled by redistributive policy schemes of taxation and subsidies. In many post-communist emerging economies, however, the prevailing empirical reality is often marked by governmental inefficiency, rent-seeking, and corruption, framed by oligarchic influences and patronage networks that obstruct entrepreneurial activities.
In exploring these issues, the workshop “Entrepreneurship in Post-Communist Emerging Economies: Historical Legacies, Institutional Practices and Policy Perspectives” invites papers that address theoretical or empirical perspectives on the South Caucasus region as well as Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet republics. In disciplinary terms, institutional analyses from all fields of the social sciences are set to be addressed, involving sociology, political science, economics, business, history, anthropology, and geography.
The workshop will take place from 4 to 8 October 2021 in Tbilisi, Georgia. It is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, DAAD), which covers travel and accommodation costs for all invited participants. Due to the unforeseeable development of the Covid-10 pandemic, we are planning for a hybrid meeting, which combines in-presence and video presentations and discussions. Keynote speeches are scheduled to be held by Prof. Dr. Abel Polese (Talinn University, Dublin City University), and Prof. Dr. Friederike Welter (University of Siegen, to be confirmed).
Prof. Dr. Alexander Ebner, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany
Prof. Dr. Irina Guruli, Economic Policy Research Center, Tbilisi, Georgia
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