Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2008

Why Did the Communist Party Reform in China, But Not in the Soviet Union? The Political Economy of Agricultural Transition

Johan Swinnen

January 2007

Asia-Pacific Research Center


The dramatic transition from Communism to market economies across Asia and Europe started in the Chinese countryside in the 1970s. Since then more than a billion of people, many of them very poor, have been affected by radical reforms in agriculture. However, there are enormous differences in the reform strategies that countries have chosen. This paper presents a set of arguments to explain why countries have chosen different reform policies.