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The Intensifying Capitalist Revolutions of Eastern Europe

The newly independent countries of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe have been among the most enthusiastic adopters of free market reforms. In the 1990s, not only did they adopt most of the policies of the “Washington consensus” advocated by the international financial institutions, such as trade and price deregulation, enterprise privatization, currency convertibility, and monetary stabilization, but they went beyond the Washington consensus to adopt second generation reforms like the flat tax and pension privatization—programs that most conservative parties in Europe and the United States consider too extreme for mainstream democratic politics. While not widely accepted or practiced in the advanced industrialized countries, these bold, if not radical, anti-statist reforms spread throughout Eastern European countries during a short period of time from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. What accounts for the adoption of these programs in the region, long after the honeymoon period of anti-Communist revolution ended across the region? What role did the EU, the United States, the IMF and think tanks play in the diffusion of these policies? Professor Appel will shed light upon this phenomenon and seek to account for the momentum behind the continued intensification of free market reform in Eastern Europe.

Hilary Appel is the Podlich Family Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow at Claremont McKenna College. Her research examines the politics behind post-Communist economic reforms, fiscal governance, policies of retrospective justice, and issues of identity and politics in Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. Professor Appel’s publications include two authored books: Tax Politics in Eastern Europe: Globalization, Regional Integration and the Democratic Compromise (University of Michigan Press, 2011) and A New Capitalist Order: Privatization and Ideology in Russia and Eastern Europe (University of Pittsburg Press, 2004) and two edited volumes. She has also published scholarly articles on the politics of economic reform in World Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Review of International Political Economy, Post-Soviet Affairs, East European Politics and Societies, and others. Professor Appel is a recipient of fellowships and grants from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Harriman Institute at Columbia University, the Social Science Research Council, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Institute for the Study of World Politics.