WMU News

Economist to speak on reforming the welfare state

March 26, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A proposal for welfare state reform in post-communist countries will be presented in a lecture Wednesday, April 8, at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Janos Kornai, the Allie S. Freed Professor of Economics at Harvard University, will speak at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall. His topic will be "Reforming the Welfare State in Post-Socialist Economies."

The free talk is the final session of the WMU Department of Economics' 34th annual guest lecture-seminar series titled "When Is Transition Over? Economic Reform in Post-Communist and Communist Countries." The year-long series focused on the dramatic economic changes sweeping through Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and China.

Kornai will propose that designing welfare state reform begin with a set of guiding principles that include economic, ethical, legal and political concerns, rather than looking strictly at what is best financially or economically. He will illustrate his ideas using examples of health sector reform in post-communist countries such as Hungary.

Kornai also is a research fellow at Collegium Budapest and a research professor at the Institute of Economics at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Council of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, was vice chairperson of the United Nations Committee for Development Planning and has been president of the Hungarian Social Science Association, the European Economic Association and the Econometric Society.

The author of more than 10 books and 50 journal articles, Kornai has been extremely influential in the field of Soviet-type economics and in the new study of transition economics. His well-known book, "The Road to a Free Economy. Shifting from a Socialist System: The Example of Hungary," was published in 15 languages.

The Department of Economics co-sponsors the lecture-seminar series with the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo. It is directed by Dr. Annette N. Brown, assistant professor of economics.

Media contact: Ruth Stevens; ruth.stevens@wmich.edu

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