WMU News

Scholars to discuss dramatic economic changes

Oct. 2, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- The first of six scholars who will present their views this year on the dramatic economic changes sweeping through Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China will speak at Western Michigan University Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Dr. Marie Lavigne, a research fellow at the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Economics in Paris, will kick off the WMU Department of Economics' 34th annual guest lecture-seminar series. She will present a free public lecture titled "Economic Transition: What Remains To Be Done?" at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall.

The topic for this year's lecture-seminar series is "When Is Transition Over? Economic Reform in Post-Communist and Communist Countries." The economic changes in these countries have attracted a considerable amount of popular attention and academic study in the last decade, including a new field, "transition economics."

"The biggest question facing us now is, 'When is transition over?'," said Dr. Annette N. Brown, WMU assistant professor of economics and director of the series. "At what point can we ignore the very distinct economic pasts of these countries and begin to analyze their economic problems in the same vein as the problems of countries at similar levels of development?"

Lavigne will present her views on what remains to be done in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, in light of the fact that many legacies from the past still exist and many components of a normal market economy are still missing. A professor emerita of economics at the University of Pau in France, she also has taught at the University of Paris and the University of Strasbourg. Her fields of research include the political economy of socialism, international economic relations of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the integration of Eastern Europe in the world economy and the transition to the market in Russia, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia.

Other speakers slated for this year and the topics they will address are:

"The Transition From Plan to Market" with Dr. Alan H. Gelb, chief economist for the Africa region at the World Bank, Wednesday, Oct. 29;

"Getting Rent-Seeking Under Control: The Final Stage of Transition" with Dr. Anders Aslund, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Wednesday, Nov. 19;

"China's Unfinished Economic Revolution" with Dr. Nicholas R. Lardy, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Wednesday, Jan. 21;

"The Relative Merits of the Central European Model of Transition" with Dr. Jan Svejnar, executive director of the William Davidson Institute and the Everett E. Berg Professor of Business Economics and International Business at the University of Michigan, Wednesday, Feb. 18; and

"Reforming the Welfare State in Postsocialist Economies" with Dr. Janos Kornai, the Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics at Harvard University, Wednesday, April 8.

All lectures begin at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall and are free and open to the public. Each scholar also will present a seminar for professional economists, faculty and graduate students.

The Department of Economics co-sponsors the series with the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo.

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