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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 16 No. 3 (Summer 2002)

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The Central Role of Entrepreneurs in Transition Economies

Article Citation

McMillan, John, and Christopher Woodruff. 2002. "The Central Role of Entrepreneurs in Transition Economies." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 16(3): 153-170.

DOI: 10.1257/089533002760278767

Abstract

The authors summarize entrepreneurial patterns in the transition economies, particularly Russia, China, Poland and Vietnam. Markets developed spontaneously in every transition country, but they were built at varying speeds. Some governments impeded the entrepreneurs' self-help by creating conditions that made it hard for informal contracting to work; others created an environment that was conducive to self-help. The spontaneous emergence of markets, furthermore, has its limits. As firms' activities became more complex, they came to need formal institutions. Some governments fostered entrepreneurship by building market-supporting infrastructure; others did not. The authors argue that the success or failure of a transition economy can be traced in large part to the performance of its entrepreneurs.

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Authors

McMillan, John
Woodruff, Christopher

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