Theoretical Frameworks and Conceptual Approaches to Economic Development in East and Central Europe. Romania-Case Study
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The development literature considers Romania from both the sociological and economic standpoints as a developing country with a large agricultural sector. Due to the specific nature of the structure of its economy and society Romania encountered a series of specific problems in its process of social and economic development, a process that began in the mid 19th century. A constant problem for the Romanian policy makers over the last century has been how to shrink the country's agricultural sector and develop the industry and service sectors to reach a level comparable to that of more advanced economies. Romania tried to solve this problem with various policies based on and inspired by a set of sociological and economic views, theories and models. Those policies were only partially successful and today the problem of underdevelopment and unsatisfactory economic performance is still largely unsolved. In the hypothesis of a rational policy making process (defined as conscientious relationship with past experiences based on a rational learning process) the post 1989 agricultural reforms should have been informed by the lessons provided by both the pre-communist and communist periods. Taking as a starting point this premise my study is constructed around the following hypothesis: If the policy process was a rational decision-making process, we would expect that the ideas, concepts, and theories that led to policy failure and mixed results in the past be rejected or correspondingly adjusted to the new context. In order to test this hypothesis the study develops a twofold approach: First, it identifies the main sequences of ideas - policies - results - lessons that characterized each of the pre-communist, communist, and post-communist periods. Second, it compares the ideas, policies, and lessons that could have been drawn from past experiences in regard to agricultural development with the actual ideas and agricultural policies that have been implemented in the post-communist period. The comparison reveals the extent to which the rational decision making model was displayed. In order to make this comparison operational the research design proceeds along the following lines: The key post-communist legislation regarding agriculture that was passed after 1989 is identified. By the detailed analysis of this body of legislation and of one of the most comprehensive reports on agriculture issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food in Romania in 1999-2000, the dominant agricultural policy paradigm of the period, the key ideas that were behind it, and the main consequences that followed for agriculture are distinguished. The major agricultural reform policies in the pre-communist and communist periods (1864-1948 and 1948-1989) and the basic concepts and theories that informed each of them are documented. Thereafter, an overview of the economic, sociological and structural consequences of these ideas and policies is provided and pinpoints the main lessons that could be eventually derived by looking in retrospect to each of the periods. In accordance with these objectives the study is structured as follows: Chapter 1 outlines the Romanian reform legislation between 1989-2000 and, in line with point one above, uses this legislation as a vehicle to reveal the key ideas, policies and consequences for agricultural development in the last, post-communist decade. Chapter 2 and 3 fulfill the objectives stated in point two above. More precisely, chapter 2 starts by looking at the policy reforms in the pre-communist period, while in parallel outlining the main ideas, policies, consequences, and lessons of the period. Similarly, chapter 3 describes the main policy reforms of the communist period and pays special attention to the lessons that could have been drawn from this period's policies and their consequences. The conclusions wrap up the analysis and discuss the extent to which the study's main hypothesis has been supported or infirmed.
- Masters Theses