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Transition, Recession and Mortality Crisis in the Former Soviet Bloc: an update to the year 2014

Giovanni Andrea Cornia

Working Papers - Economics from Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa

Abstract: The transition to the market economy and liberal democracy of the former communist countries of Europe represents the most vivid example of how potentially favourable economic and political reforms may lead to massive mortality crises. The transition of these countries was universally greeted as a key step towards world peace and economic progress. The months preceding the beginning of this historic watershed were characterised by widespread hopes for improvements in political freedoms, economic growth, living standards, and life expectancy which, during the prior 20 years had improved more slowly than in capitalist OECD countries, or had deteriorated. Despite these hopes, the years after 1989 were characterised by a severe transformational recession, a fall in output and incomes, the rapid impoverishment of large sections of the population, rising income and assets concentration, widespread social dislocations and an acute mortality crisis. Despite its magnitude and a growing number of studies, the transition mortality crisis has attracted limited political attention by national authorities and international agencies. When it was acknowledged, it was attributed to past shocks or irrelevant factors, retarding in this way the introduction of appropriate policy responses. In a way, the recent European mortality crisis is a telling example of how potentially favourable reforms may lead to large health and social costs.

Pages: 39 pages
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cis and nep-tra
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