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Social Capital, Institutional Building and Environmental Governance in CEE Transition Countries

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Gatzweiler, Franz
Conference: Institutional Analysis and Development Mini-Conference and TransCoop Meeting
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Conf. Date: December
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9310
Sector: General & Multiple Resources
Social Organization
Region: Europe
Subject(s): social capital
resource management
governance and politics
transitional economics
institutional analysis
Abstract: "Transition in several aspects effected social capital in Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) and vice versa. This led to an institutional polarisation between the national level, where strong efforts have been made to meet the requirements for EU accession and at the local level, which among others are needed to guarantee sustainable resource management. As change provokes learning, this paper aims at explaining the role and importance of social learning and building of social capital for the evolution of institutions of sustainability during the transition process in Central and Eastern (CEE) European countries and patterns of human and social capital formation are described in several countries. Building formal institutions, introducing new legislations and restructuring administrations will remain ineffective if the social foundations of an economy are neglected. This paper will provide particular evidence for the hypothesis that social learning has lagged behind the rapid political and economic changes during transition and pre-accession and that this situation together with the continuity of pre-accession decision makers has led to institutional void, hindering the implementation of policies and the building of institutions of agri-environmental sustainability. The result is a missing or underdeveloped intermediate political and institutional dimension between highlevel policy making and local institutions. New institutional frameworks at the global, international and national levels are built faster than those at the local level are able to change. This leads to a void where economic activities take place and surrogate institutional structures (such as the mafia) dominate without the institutions of trust. The rate of change at higher levels of society during transition tends to outgrow the capacity to learn, especially in respect to the successful management of agri-environmental resources."

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