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Where are the reforms? How our beliefs influence economy and the reform progress

Photo: depositphotos / jackie2k
6 December 2019
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  • How did attitudes to privatisation change in Ukraine since early 1990s and especially in the five recent years of 2015-2019?
  • Is there any correlation between support of reforms and support of political leaders?

Figure 1. Attitudes towards the privatization of large enterprises

Source: Ukrainian Society survey

Figure 2. Attitudes towards the privatization of land

Figure 3. Evaluation of the progress of reforms in three spheres

Source: own survey

Figure 4. Evaluation of reform progress and electoral preferences

Source: own survey

    • Most of Ukrainians do not support the idea of land privatisation. Shares of Ukrainians who disapprove land privatisation increased dramatically from 1992 to 2018. Thus, one should not expect support of land liberalisation soon. Any land reform will face inevitably a strong resistance from people.
    • Our previous studies show that people tend to have more negative views about free markets when they face economic hardships and also interpret these hardships as a consequence of market transformations.
    • At the same time, there is a political cost of such attitudes. People who do not think that reforms are on the way are less likely to support the incumbents. This also means that when people do see at least some reform progress, they remain supportive of the incumbent politicians. These findings contradict the popular belief that reformists are always unpopular. Reformists can get support in transition societies when people agree that reforms are in progress.

Brik, T. and Shestakovskiy, O. (2019). Market orientation in the shadow of communism: 25 years of changes in attitudes about the economy. In Ukraine in Transition. Palgrave Macmillan. Forthcoming.

Denisova, I. (2016). Institutions and the support for market reforms. IZA World of Labor.

Denisova, I., Eller, M., Frye, T., & Zhuravskaya, E. (2012). Everyone hates privatization, but why? Survey evidence from 28 post-communist countries. Journal of Comparative Economics, 40(1), 44-61.

Guriev, S. (2018). Fairness and Support for the Reforms: Lessons from the Transition Economies (No. 24). SUERF Policy Note.

Ukrainske suspilstvo (2018). Monitorynh sotsyalnyh zmin. ISNASU. Kyiv.

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