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Building Social Capability for Economic Catch-up: The Experience and Prospects of the Post-socialist Countries

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The post-socialist countries are, by the standards of the EU, poor countries. The major developmental task facing these countries is, therefore, that of catching up with their more prosperous neighbours. The scope for catch-up is defined in terms of the levels of social capability exhibited by these societies and their capacity to establish technological congruence with the leading firms from the advanced industrial economies. S&T systems in the broadest sense are shown to be key factors in relation to both social capability and technological congruence. Detailed analysis of the transition countries indicates that the catch-up process is hampered across the board by specific gaps in social capability and elements of technological incongruence. These can in turn be traced to specific structural trends, in particular in relation to foreign investment, and to specific weaknesses of institutional development, cutting across the public/private dividing line, notably in relation to R&D systems and banking systems. Consideration of all these factors suggests that there can be no assumption that the transition countries will automatically catch up with western Europe, and that some disfavoured transition countries may, indeed, continue to fall behind.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2001

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