Political Economy and Reforms: the popularity paradox

By EBRD  Press Office

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Political Economy and Reforms: the popularity paradox

Sergei Guriev, the EBRD’s Chief Economist, discusses rulers, ruled and reforms in a new episode of EBRD’s podcast, Pocket Economics.

The second episode of the “Pocket Economics” podcast discusses the popularity of reformers in the context of political economy. Do they have to be popular to be successful?

The podcast features the EBRD’s Chief Economist, Sergei Guriev, who looks at how the concept of political economy has evolved and discusses the dynamic between rulers, ruled and reforms.  

He also highlights the risk that reforms are put into reverse if economic change is attempted without political support.

“We saw examples in some of our countries of operation where the early costs of reforms resulted in populist politicians taking over and then creating institutions of “crony” capitalism that precluded further reforms,” he told Jonathan Charles, the EBRD’s Managing Director, Communications.

“Not only did we see reforms stuck but we also saw reforms reversed.”

Mr Guriev also analyses the importance of leaders’ popularity in both democratic and authoritarian regimes and previews our next Transition Report, which focuses on inequality.   

 “It’s the first Transition Report that looks specifically at equality and inclusion,” he explained.

“This is very important, as after 25 years of transition we can look back and see whether inequality has increased, whether populations have benefitted from the reforms.”

The EBRD’s Transition Report 2016-17 will be launched on 8 November 2016.

The next episode of “Pocket Economics” will feature Mattia Romani, EBRD’s Managing Director for Economics, Policy and Governance, and concentrate on climate finance.

 The EBRD’s strategic plan for the period 2016-18 has three priorities: strengthening economic resilience, addressing global challenges and supporting regional integration.


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