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Explaining Policy Choices in Transition Economies: Models of Economic Policy in Ukraine

IJED, Vol. 2 No. 1, (2000)

Studies of societies undergoing economic and political transition have focused more on the consequences or effects of governmental policies than on explaining why a specific policy choice was made between the
possible alternatives. Further, many of these explanations do not meet basic standards of explanation for the social sciences. This paper examines the policy implications of these explanations by using post-independence economic policy in Ukraine as a focus. It attempts to make the assumptions underlying different policy explanations explicit, identify the variables that have been used to explain policy decisions, and then group explanations into different models according to these variables. Four basic explanatory models can be identified from the literature on Ukraine: the volunteeristic/executive leadership model, the incremental/pluralist model, the structural/institutional model, and the power elite model. Three other models are found to be less useful: the rational model, the majoritarian model, and game theory. Making these models explicit permit empirical tests of their explanatory usefulness and relevance for developmental policy strategies.

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