Introduction: Conceptual Framework for Comparative Analysis

Part of the Contributions to Economics book series (CE)

The transition from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy in Central and Eastern Europe has been one of the fundamental transformations of the 1990s affecting more than 28 countries and affects over 400 million people. Post-socialist societies experienced immense economic and social changes associated with the restructuring of a monolithic system of central planning and state ownership of assets. The ‘shock therapy’ effectively dismantled the state-owned economy within a few years. Lines of authority, industrial suppliers, and distribution networks, suddenly disappeared. Parallel to that process, large scale privatisation of the industry and an opening up of previously sheltered markets created a new environment of competition. Certainly such a radical transformation within a short time frame is fraught with hazards. Rigid controls gave way in many cases to anarchy or to a series of ad hoc measures which aggravated economic and social hardships. The transition to markets occurred without the supportive institutional structure, and financial and legal transparency to facilitate economic change. This is a crucial, but usually unrecognised barrier to efficient market reforms.

The profound transformation no doubt has major economic, social and political implications for post-socialist societies, and is reflected in the restructuring of national housing systems. As such, it provides a unique opportunity to explore the impact of these reforms on the housing system. Sufficient time has now elapsed for more fundamental trends and patterns of change to emerge. This book attempts to address these issues through comparative analysis and evaluation of housing system performance in South East Europe, a region that has received very little attention in the housing literature. It reflects on the process of economic, societal and spatial change and its impact on housing systems in the region.


Housing Market Housing Policy Policy Outcome Housing System Housing Quality 
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© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

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