Toward a Unified Theory of Economic Reform
49 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2017 Last revised: 4 Oct 2017
Date Written: September 17, 2017
The dichotomy in the economics of transition literature with regard to the reform speed (Gradualist vs Radical Approach) and reform strategy (incremental reform vs structural reform) fails to capture the essence of the transitional process of a transitional economy that was ever under the control of planned economic system. In this paper, we construct a system dynamics model to provide a unified theoretical framework to illustrate that reform speed and reform strategy are inherently intertwined. We propose 4 optimal reforming combinations between reform speed and reform strategy to track the transitional trajectories of different transitional economies since 1980s. These 4 optimal reforming combinations are: (1) Incremental reform in radical speed. (2) Incremental reform in gradualist speed. (3) Structural reform in radical speed. (4) Structural reform in gradualist speed. In this paper, we demonstrate that a transitional economy would adopt one of the aforementioned 4 optimal reforming combination if and only if it minimizes the reforming cost incurred during the shock period of radical reform as well as the dual track period of gradualist reforms. Several factors in our model affecting these 4 optimal reforming combinations are also discussed. These factors include the spillover effect (both vertical and horizontal) of a newly established reforming promotion sector on other old sectors in a transitional economy, the endogenous reform damping coefficient determined by one transitional economy’s initial conditions and the reform damping coefficient determined by the dual track system during the gradualist reform process.
Keywords: Keywords: Reform speed; Reform Strategy; Gradualist speed; Radical speed;; Incremental reform; Structural reform; System Dynamics; optimal reforming combination, spillover effect, Damping coefficient
JEL Classification: J41, H53, P26
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation