Ιdeology, political coalitions and economic performance in Albanian agriculture 
George Karagiannis, National Agricultural Research Foundation & University of Crete
Konstantinos Velentzas, University of Macedonia
Michalis Hatziprokopiou, University of Macedonia
JEL classification : D210, 0470, P270, Q120
Ideological disputes led Albania to successive political coalitions with Tito's Yugoslavia (1946-1948), the Soviet Union (1948-1961) and the People's Republic of China (1961-1978). After the brake of relationships with China, Albania adopted a policy of self-reliance, the economic implication of which was autarky. Changing ideology influenced the amount of foreign aid, trade relations, the state of technology, the quantity and the quality of the productive resources, the managerial and administrative structure of the economy, the allocative mechanisms of the economic system, the distribution of income, the extraction and the use of the surplus etc. The aim of the present paper is to investigate how strong these effects were and to what extent, if any, marked economic performance in the agricultural sector of Albania. More specifically, the evolution of land and labour partial productivity is examined during the period 1950-1990 with respect to the different historical periods of post-war Albania.



The role of state firms and money in the transition economies 
Gerasimos T. Soldatos, University of Macedonia
JEL classification : P270, E290
This paper argues that the neglect of state enterprises in transition economies has been a major reason for the high unemployment experienced by most of these economies. Renewing the interest in such enterprises could improve their performance, thus rendering them more attractive to foreign investors as well. Simultaneously, policy should be aiming at removing credit constraints and ensuring lending discipline. Only then unemployment and the broader problem of principal-agent relations will start to be confronted successfully.



The political economy of the transition and the transformation crisis in Eastern Europe 
George Liodakis, Technical University of Crete
JEL classification : O190, O200, O210, P200, P210, P500
In this article it is argued that an adequate understanding of the character of the former regimes of the so-called ‘existing socialism’ is a requirement for a proper understanding of the transformation and the crisis facing the Eastern European countries. The conclusion of a relevant analysis is that these regimes can be characterised as a specific form of state capitalism. Seen in the context of the plans vs market debate, this characterization makes possible a specific and adequate interpretation of the transformation crisis currently facing these countries. This crisis is specifically associated with the impasses and the legacy of the former regimes, as well as with the difficulties in the institutionalisation and establishment of the preconditions for the development of capital as a specific mode of production. As indicated by the evidence available, these difficulties make the direction of the relevant transformation highly uncertain and far from self-evident.



Investigating the roots of Russia's economic decline since 1990 
John G. Milios, National Technical University of Athens
JEL classification : Β140, P200, P310, P320
Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, the Russian economy has been declining rapidly. Western analyses interpret this economic decline as the more or less inevitable initial phase of a process of radical economic restructuring. The aim of the present paper is to show that the causes of economic decline in Russia should not be regarded as of a legal or technical nature, but that they should be located in the very structure of the economy, as it was shaped in the era of “actually existing socialism”. The system's collapse, from an economic viewpoint, can be regarded as the victory of (Soviet) enterprises over the so-called “socialist” state power. The economic decline ever since, might then be interpreted as the collapsed system's “revenge” on the social forces which decisively contributed to its downfall.



Emerging financial systems in Central and Eastern European countries 
Costas Siriopoulos, University of Macedonia
Dimitris Asteriou, City University Northampton
JEL classification : O160, P270, P340
The aim of this paper is to examine the main challenges in promoting an effective financial system and an effective market economy in the new emerging economies of Central and Eastern Europe. While the paper ranges widely across the spectrum of economic institutions (such as capital markets) and policies, the central theme is the importance of macroeconomic stability for economic growth in the medium and the long run. Examining the recent macroeconomic performance of these countries, the key policies undertaken for the development of their financial systems and the theoretical literature concerning the formation of a market economy, we conclude that the provision of macroeconomic stability is among the essential responsibilities of the state, for economies transforming themselves from centrall planning system into market economies.