Economic Institutions, Markets and Competition: Centralization and Decentralization in the Transformation of Economic Systems

The decentralization of economic institutions in the West since the 1970s and in Eastern and Central Europe since 1989 is a significant and ongoing process which has implications for the nature of economic systems. This major new book explores the importance of institutions in economic systems and challenges the traditional assumption of antagonism between tendencies to centralize and tendencies to decentralize. An international group of authors from Europe and the US addresses different aspects of the centralization-decentralization issues including privatization, fiscal federalism, the recent experience of Russia and Eastern Europe, and the role of quasi-markets and non-profit organizations. Drawing on theoretical approaches and empirical material, they argue that the real achievement of efficiency requires the presence of certain key criteria in the structure of the market. Every move towards decentralization, such as privatization, is shown to entail counter-balancing moves towards centralization, such as the introduction of improved, central regulation. Economic Institutions, Markets and Competition will be welcomed for exploring the implications of centralization and decentralization in the transformation of economic systems and for emphasizing market structure as well as market competition.