Autoimmune bullous dermatoses (AIBD), such as pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid or epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, are prototypical organ-specific autoimmune diseases. Clinically they are characterized by widespread mucocutaneous blistering, which is often difficult to treat. Patients with AIBD suffer from a significant morbidity and an increased mortality. In AIBD blistering is caused by autoantibodies targeting structural proteins of the skin. During the past decades animal models of AIBD have been developed. These animal models have greatly contributed to our current understanding of AIBD pathogenesis. Most of these insights, however, still await their translation into clinical use. Recently, AIBD animal models have been used to test the efficacy of known and novel drugs. Hence, these models are now not only employed to unravel the pathogenesis of AIBD, but also to assess therapeutic approaches to address the so far unmet high medical need for new treatments. We here review animal model of AIBD: In addition to spontaneously arising AIBD in animals, AIBD can be induced, mostly in mice, by (i) transfer of (auto)-antibodies, (ii) transfer of (auto)-antigen specific lymphocytes, (iii) immunization or (iv) by genetic modifications leading to spontaneous blistering. In combined use, these models allow dissecting all aspects of AIBD pathogenesis, i.e. loss of tolerance, autoantibody production and blistering. Overall we aim to foster a broader use of AIBD animal models, especially in translational biomedical research, to deepen our understanding of AIBD pathogenesis and to develop novel treatments for patients.
Systemic sclerosis is a systemic connective tissue disorder characterized by the fibrosis of the skin and certain visceral organs, vasculopathy, and immunological abnormalities. Several genetic and inducible animal models of SSc have been developed and are available for research studies. The purpose of this review is to summarize the various animal models of systemic sclerosis and describe the various contributions of these models in terms of understanding the pathophysiology of the condition and searching for new therapeutic strategies for this incurable disease.
This article reviews the commonly used murine strains for studying lupus and lupus nephritis, including strains that develop lupus spontaneously, congenic strains, induced models of lupus, as well as genetically engineered mouse models of lupus bearing transgenes or knockouts. The review then summarizes the main cellular and molecular pathways that lead to the pathogenesis of this autoimmune disease, including autoantibodies. Finally, it concludes with therapeutic insights gained from using mouse models of lupus. To sum, much of what we have learned about lupus has arisen from studying mouse models of the disease, and the laboratory mouse continues to be one of the best tools for studying human SLE.
Inflammation of blood vessels (vasculitis) results from many pathological processes and is found in many different diseases. However, in most situations, the pathological processes inducing vasculitis are unknown. The discovery of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies (ANCAs) in the 1980s opened the door for studies that eventually led to the description of a new previously undescribed disease, ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV). Unravelling the immunopathogenesis of this new disease resulted largely from the development of animal models. The major breakthroughs were the description of ANCA, its association with small vessel vasculitis and the discovery of its target autoantigens (myeloperoxidase and Proteinase 3). Three major disease syndromes comprise the AAVs, microscopic polyangiitis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). Recent human studies suggest that proteinase 3 and myeloperoxidase associated vasculitis are two separate but related diseases. The ability to induce murine autoimmunity to myeloperoxidase including ANCA (with the same immune staining patterns as human ANCA) and the capacity of this anti-myeloperoxidase autoimmunity to induce disease with many of the characteristic features of human AAV is well developed. However, the development of animal models of anti-proteinase 3 ANCA and EGPA is much less well developed. Animal models are important in understanding the human disease and in particular in defining potential therapeutic targets and in early stage therapeutic testing of potential drugs. Clearly the relevance of animal models depends on how closely they mimic human diseases. The current status of animal models of vasculitis will be described in detail with reference to these criteria.
Autoimmune diseases are a group of disorders mediated by self-reactive T cells and/or autoantibodies. Mice, as the most widely used animal for modeling autoimmune disorders, have been extensively used in the investigation of disease pathogenesis as well as in the search for novel therapeutics. Since the first mouse model of multiple sclerosis was established more than 60 years ago, hundreds of mouse models have been established for tens of autoimmune diseases. Each mouse model of autoimmune diseases means an individual way of breaking immune tolerance resulting in subsequent autoimmunity. These mouse models can be divided into three categories based on the approaches used for disease induction. The first one represents the induced models in which autoimmunity is initiated in mice by immunization, adoptive transfer or environmental factors. The second group is formed by the spontaneous models where mice develop autoimmune disorders without further induction. The third group refers to the humanized models in which mice bearing humanized cells, tissues, or genes, develop autoimmune diseases either spontaneously or by induction. This article reviews the history and highlights the milestones of the mouse models of autoimmune diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in industrialized nations worldwide. Of all deaths resulting from cardiovascular diseases, 2% are caused by inflammatory heart disease; specifically, myocarditis. The etiology causing myocarditis still remains unclear. Both infectious and non-infectious factors are capable of triggering myocarditis. Acute myocarditis manifests itself in a variety of ways ranging from subclinical disease to sudden heart failure, as well as the occurrence of chest pain, palpitations, and syncope. Myocarditis can lead to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), this being the most frequent cause for heart transplantation. Since the underlying mechanism and the pathways behind the disease initiation and progression still need to be elucidated, the need for mouse models simulating the human disease is evident. Various mouse models are frequently used to study myocarditis. Inflammation of the myocardium as a result of infectious agents can be investigated with a widely used animal model where mice are infected with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3). For autoimmune (non-viral) myocarditis, several mouse models (including induction with myosin or troponin I) have been established to better understand the role of autoantibodies and their influence on disease progression. With these different models, various phases of the disease can be investigated and these findings are used to develop more specific therapies that can be translated into the clinic as a "bench-to-bedside" approach.
Immune thrombocytopenia or ITP is a debilitating and life-threatening disorder affecting more than 4 in every 10, 000 adults annually. Following a basic understanding of the immunopathology underlying ITP, namely that production of anti-platelet antibodies results in accelerated platelet clearance and thrombocytopenia, animal models of ITP were quickly developed. Rodent models that develop ITP spontaneously or by passive transfer of anti-platelet sera or antibodies have become instrumental in investigating the mechanisms responsible for the breakdown of tolerance in human ITP, understanding the immunopathology that underlies the progression of platelet destruction, elucidating the mechanism(s) of therapeutic amelioration of the ITP, and driving the development of new therapeutic modalities. This review aims to capture the development history and methodology of currently available ITP disease models, and review their advantages and limitations in the study of various aspects of ITP. We also review how closely the various ITP models reflect the pathobiology of human ITP and their usefulness in advancing the development of new therapeutics, which are particularly needed to address the unmet need of patients who are refractory to the currently available repertoire of interventions.
Uveitis is a sight threatening intraocular inflammation accounting for approximately 10% of blindness worldwide. On the basis of aetiology, disease can be classified as infectious or non-infectious; and by anatomical localization of inflammation as anterior, posterior and panuveitis. Non-infectious uveitis is believed to be autoimmune in nature with Th1 and Th17 cells being identified as the prominent effector cell types. Numerous animal models of autoimmune uveitis were developed contributing to our understanding of this inflammatory condition. The classical peptide-induced experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU) model resembles human posterior uveitis due to the recurrent/relapsing nature of the disease; while the intraocular inflammation triggered by administration of bacterial lipopolisaccharide (endotoxin-induced uveitis, EIU) mimics closely anterior uveitis. The clinical need for novel, more targeted forms of anti-inflammatory therapy has emerged as currently available therapeutic strategies are associated with a number of adverse effects and intolerance in patients. This review summarises knowledge about existing mouse models of uveitis, discusses mechanisms driving intraocular inflammation and describes possible customised translational treatment strategies that can be potentially used in the clinic to prevent blindness in patients.
Myasthenia gravis is a muscle weakness disease characterized by autoantibodies that target components of the neuromuscular junction, impairing synaptic transmission. The most common form of myasthenia gravis involves antibodies that bind the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the postsynaptic membrane. Many of the remaining cases are due to antibodies against muscle specific tyrosine kinase (MuSK). Recently autoantibodies against LRP4 (another component of the MuSK signaling complex in the postsynaptic membrane) were identified as the likely cause of myasthenia gravis in some patients. Fatiguing weakness is the common symptom in all forms of myasthenia gravis, but muscles of the body are differentially affected, for reasons that are not fully understood. Much of what we have learnt about the immunological and neurobiological aspects of the pathogenesis derives from mouse models. The most widely used mouse models involve either passive transfer of autoantibodies, or active immunization of the mouse with acetylcholine receptors or MuSK protein. These models can provide a robust replication of many of the features of the human disease. Depending upon the protocol, acute fatiguing weakness develops 2 - 14 days after the start of autoantibody injections (passive transfer) or might require repeated immunizations over several weeks (active models). Here we review mouse models of myasthenia gravis, including what they have contributed to current understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and their current application to the testing of therapeutics.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to progressive accumulation of neurological deficits arising from recurrent episodes of inflammation, demyelination and neuronal degeneration. While the aetiology of the disease is unknown MS is widely considered to be the result of aberrant T cell and antibody responses to CNS antigens giving rise to the common concept that MS is an autoimmune disease or that there is an autoimmune component in the pathogenesis. This idea has lead to the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse models of MS in which immunisation with CNS antigens induces neurological and pathological signs of disease in mice. In addition to EAE models, injection with neurotropic viruses has been used to examine how infections are implicated in the disease process and how they may generate autoimmune responses in the CNS. Viral models are also crucial to investigate the impact of blocking trafficking of immune responses into the CNS since an emerging side-effect of current immunotherapeutic approaches in MS is the reactivation of viruses within the CNS. To investigate myelin damage and repair in the absence of the adaptive immune response, toxin-induced demyelination using cuprizone, ethidium bromide and lysolecithin, which rapidly leads to remyelination when the toxins are withdrawn, are also reviewed. Mice also lend themselves to the vast array of transgenic technologies to probe specific pathways as well as the use of humanised transgenic mice to examine the impact of human molecules. Despite the vast array of mouse models EAE is the most frequently exploited paradigm used to develop therapeutic approaches. However, despite over one thousand compounds used in the treatment of EAE few have become licenced for treatment of MS so far. Thus, this review also debates the reasons for these failures in mouse models as well as discuss how mouse models can be better utilised to provide more powerful preclinical tools to develop rational therapies for multiple sclerosis.
Sjogren's syndrome (SjS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by immune cell infiltration and progressive injury to the salivary and lacrimal glands. As a consequence, patients with SjS develop xerostomia (dry mouth) and keratoconjunctivitis sicca (dry eyes). SjS is the third most common rheumatic autoimmune disorder, affecting 4 million Americans with over 90% of patients being female. Current diagnostic criteria for SjS frequently utilize histological examinations of minor salivary glands for immune cell foci, serology for autoantibodies, and dry eye evaluation by corneal or conjunctival staining. SjS can be classified as primary or secondary SjS, depending on whether it occurs alone or in association with other systemic rheumatic conditions, respectively. Clinical manifestations typically become apparent when the disease is relatively advanced in SjS patients, which poses a challenge for early diagnosis and treatment of SjS. Therefore, SjS mouse models, because of their close resemblance to the human SjS, have been extremely valuable to identify early disease markers and to investigate underlying biological and immunological dysregulations. However, it is important to bear in mind that no single mouse model has duplicated all aspects of SjS pathogenesis and clinical features, mainly due to the multifactorial etiology of SjS that includes numerous susceptibility genes and environmental factors that appear to play a role in SjS onset and progression. As such, various mouse models have been developed in the field to try to recapitulate SjS. In this review, we focus on recent mouse models of primary SjS xerostomia and describe them under three categories of spontaneous, genetically engineered, and experimentally induced development of SjS-like disease. In addition, we discuss future perspectives of SjS mouse models highlighting pros and cons of utilizing mouse models and demands for improved models.
This article outlines the main directions of the development of national innovation systems in the new EU member states as catch-up economies emerging from a period of systemic change. Attempts simply to copy the experience of the high-income economies in building national innovation systems are misconceived. That experience needs to be adapted to the specific conditions of catch-up countries with a unique systemic heritage. The dominant linear innovation model should be replaced as a basis for thinking and policy making by an interactive, learning-based approach. Catch-up economies such as these need to improve significantly their levels of innovation diffusion management and networking. A symbiotic approach to the balance of high- and low-tech industries is needed. Managerial and organisational competence is at least as important as technological competence.
The Coulomb barrier and electron screening cause difficulties in directly
measuring nuclear reaction cross sections of charged particles in astrophysical
energies. The Trojan-horse method has been introduced to solve the difficulties
as a powerful indirect tool. In order to understand experimental spectra
better, Geant4 is employed to simulate the method for the first time. Validity
and reliability of the simulation are examined by comparing the experimental
data with simulated results. The Geant4 simulation can give useful information
to understand the experimental spectra better in data analysis and is
beneficial to the design for future related experiments.
A new Hamiltonian model is introduced to study the spectrum of light hadrons.
It combines relativistic field theory with elements of the constituent quark
model. In addition to the standard linear confining and pseudoscalar meson
exchange interactions with predetermined parameters, an additional interaction
with different covariant spin structures is examined. Using a large scale Monte
Carlo variational procedure, the resulting model Hamiltonian provides a very
good, unified description of the light quark baryon (both octet and decuplet)
and meson spectra.
The dual-track approach is characteristic of evolutionary reforms in China. The most important aspect of this dualism has been the reform of the ownership structure. On the one track, new, basically market-oriented institutions emerged in a parallel economy comprising non-state enterprises. On the other track, stateowned enterprises were retained and reforms were restricted to conservative policy changes bringing minor productivity-enhancing measures. In order to highlight the performance of the two tracks, a widely neglected indicator is employed to check the performance of enterprises: namely a structural comparison of the resource reallocation processes of both tracks over time. It becomes clear that structural adjustment was basically generated by the new track. In addition, it is shown that the increasing competition from the new track will not accelerate structural adjustment of the old track as long as institutional reforms of SOEs are not significantly extended.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) has played an important role in the development of Laos since the country embarked on an economic transition and business liberalisation programme in the late 1980s. However, in recent years Laos has witnessed a marked contraction in its cumulative FDI inflows. This article provides a profile of FDI activity in Laos over the past decade and identifies the various factors behind the rise, and subsequent decline, in foreign investment inflows during the 1990s. The article concludes by suggesting some of the ways in which Lao policy makers might seek to revive the country's flagging FDI sector.
The aim of this article is to develop and deepen the discussion on this topic and analyse the methods of measuring hidden unemployment. This is important for giving an adequate overview of the situation of the labour market in Estonia and the scope of hidden unemployment and its development in the transition period. The following tasks are set to achieve this aim: to estimate different components of hidden unemployment in Estonia and to analyse the factors that influence this phenomenon in Estonia and thence form policy conclusions. In the analysis data from the Estonian Labour Force Survey (ELFS 97) carried out in 1997 are examined. Three logit models were calculated (for unemployed, underemployed and discouraged persons). The most important findings were that there are no general factors which could influence open and hidden unemployment at the same time, and that the factors influencing the components of hidden unemployment differ—underemployment is probably influenced more by economic factors and discouragement more by psychological factors.
The aim of this study is a detailed analysis of real economic convergence in 27 former socialist (or transition) countries. We focus on two concepts of convergence: absolute (unconditional) beta convergence and sigma convergence. The time frame of our study is 1990-2005. We provide a broad empirical picture of convergence. First, we analyse the catching-up process in the whole group of 27 countries as well as in several narrower sub-groups. Second, we carry out our calculations for the entire period 1990-2005 as well as for shorter sub-periods.
This article provides a brief overview of the Romanian transformation, pointing out the causes which led to the crisis in 1996. Then the corrective measures taken up to September 1997 to overcome the crisis will be outlined. In the final section the future prospects for political stability, economic growth and other performance indicators, including foreign investment, are presented, based on three forecasts-the IMF forecast, the Romanian government's forecast and the scenario reflecting the arguments developed in this article.
This article is based on 1990-95 data on the number of workers in 14 branches of the economy for most of Russia's regional divisions. This was a period during which the total labour force shrank substantially, but change was clearly uneven across branches. Branches that grew were likely to show an increase in the concentration of workers in a limited number of regions, that is, growing regional inequality. A closer look at the important area of credit, finance and insurance revealed the extremely favourable position of Moscow and St Petersburg. Limited data on gender differences suggest that, as in the past, men appear to benefit more from change than do women.
This article presents an overview of the development of Russian agricultural enterprises in 1990-2001. The multi-layered structure of agriculture represented by different categories of non-commercial and commercial producers requires a clear distinction of policies with respect to their targets and end results. The agricultural enterprises maintained their leading role in marketed agricultural production and represent the main focus group among the agricultural producers for policy makers. The article reviews organisational and structural changes to these enterprises in the period studied, and their economic and financial performance. It also examines current policies for resolving the problems in agriculture.
Local administrations in Russia have a strong influence on the business environment. In St Petersburg the measures envisaged to assist small businesses have for the most part remained unimplemented and the specific legislation approved in the city has had little effect. Despite the absence of a clear policy by the local government to promote employment in the small business sector, it is approaching the levels registered in some Western countries. Officially St Petersburg, unlike Moscow, does not enjoy a particularly high standard of living—it is only slightly higher than the national average. The article analyses the main factors explaining the expansion of small business in the city.
In the absence of secure private property rights, neo-classical political economy would have expected China and Vietnam to perform badly. However, both economies have recorded rapid growth in recent decades. This article attempts to explain this through an analysis of the property rights regime in state enterprises in Vietnam's second city and commercial centre, Ho Chi Minh City. It argues that by the late 1990s the property regime in many firms in the city had evolved so far that they had been effectively privatised. Enforcement of these private property rights rested not on the rule of law but on the ability of a company's real owners to resist outside encroachment. This in turn had to do with the relative strength of clientelist interests located at different levels of the party-state. Although not perfect, property rights were on this basis sufficiently clear and enforceable for economic growth to occur. The argument is illustrated with two case studies which offer rich insights into the real nature of property under a reforming state socialist regime.
Regional economic growth in Russia's regions in 1995-2000 is analysed with particular attention paid to FDI and how it influenced growth during this period. FDI appears to have been essential before the 1998 crisis in helping the economy grow despite the initial chaos of the transition. Larger regional economies that have garnered most FDI and perhaps gone further with institutional reforms that can assist in capturing the full benefits of FDI are likely to lead economic growth in the future. All regions need to take advantage now of the favourable economic environment to assess and learn from prior FDI experience to foster future growth should the price of oil and the remaining advantage of a depreciated currency change. No evidence was found that region-wide corruption hindered economic growth in the 1990s.
This paper investigates the Georgian experiment in transition banking since the country's break from the former Soviet Union in 1991. By analysing the policies pursued by the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) between 1991 and 2001 and the outcomes of those policies, the paper attempts to compare and contrast the general performance of the Georgian banks with banks in other transition economies. On the basis of this investigation, we conclude that even though substantial progress has been made, the Republic still lags behind leading transition and developed market economies in terms of financial development. Much of the success of restructuring can be attributed to the NBG, the government, and the multi laterals (IMF and donor nations). Nevertheless, a full-flowering of financial institutions and performance will not come without further economic development and reform of public institutions and the attendant increase in public confidence in the financial system as a whole.
This article explains the lasting transition crisis of Russian agriculture by applying Hayami & Ruttan's theory of induced innovation. The empirical analysis uses Russian farm data. For various types of farms factor intensities and partial factor productivities are calculated to identify differences in productivity between them. We identify the mechanism through which institutional frictions in Russia influence the choice of technology and the adaptation of technological change. Finally, policy recommendations are derived to make technical change more consistent with relative factor supplies and prices, and improve productivity, especially of inefficient farm types. In our view nothing speaks in favour of expensive Western 'high-tech' machinery imports to enhance the efficiency of Russian farms (especially larger ones). Until now the poor operation of domestic markets in Russia has obstructed a sufficient supply of Russian technology consistent with relative scarcities.
This article analyses the dynamics of wage and income inequality in Slovenia from 1993 to 2002, using two different data sources. The first is obtained by extracting relevant information on wage earners from the personal income tax (PIT) database and the second is obtained using published data on wages and the wage distribution. Analyses of both datasets clearly show a large increase in wage inequality in 1993-95. However, even after 1995 wage inequality has been creeping up. To a large degree, we ascribe the major increase in wage inequality to the rapid development of a full-fledged market economy and also to the changing PIT legislation. A growing individualisation of wage contracts doubtless also contributed to increased inequality. In addition, our analysis touches upon the effects of the tax system and shows that it significantly moderated the large increases in income inequality.
To specify the problem of unemployment in Russia, we estimate the natural rate of unemployment by consecutively estimating the optimal size of the labour force and the optimal employment. For estimation of the optimal values we used a modified Hodrick-Prescott filter technique. The results show that the natural rate of unemployment in Russia during 1994-97 was stable around 13-13.5% and decreased to 7.1% by mid-2004. Moreover, before 1998 the actual unemployment was significantly lower than the natural rate and today practically equals it.
Russian macroeconomic growth in the transition era is analysed across federal districts using a neoclassical production function often found in studies of Soviet-era economic growth. An adjusted capital stock series for Russian regions is created and used in the aggregate production function for 1995–2003 to analyse growth across the 11 federal districts in Russia. Federal district output growth is found to be explained well by neoclassical growth theory, indicating that poorer regions may converge to richer regions, thereby strengthening the Russian Federation. Federal districts also have high capital/labour ratios, suggesting that expanded regional domestic and foreign investment across Russia in the future will enhance growth.
The labour market situation in Slovenia has improved in the last ten years, but some labour market problems persist. This article presents the labour market reforms carried out in the last ten years, which could be considered as partial. In order to make the labour market more flexible and to increase the job intensity of GDP growth, labour market reforms should be more comprehensive. The article identifies the main challenges of labour market policy and draws attention to some current and potential labour market problems in Slovenia.
This article discusses some issues related to the Czech currency crisis in May 1997. First, it evaluates the role of different factors which were linked with the crisis. These include the role of monetary and fiscal policy, current account deficit, real exchange rate appreciation, slower growth, political instability as well as possible contagious effects. The second part describes how the crisis evolved, what defence was used by the central bank, and how the pegged regime was abandoned and replaced by the managed float.
This study investigates the relationships between various types of poverty in Poland. Monetary poverty is examined together with subjective poverty and with a concept of deprivation-based poverty conceived as lacking particular dwelling resources. The results reveal quite important discrepancies between these three types of poverty. Though income and expenditure poverty incidence generally decreased during the period investigated, the share of persons living in subjective poverty was higher in 2003 than in 1997, while deprivation substantially decreased. Moreover, quite large discrepancies at the individual level could be observed. Some conflicting results were also found between the correlates of poverty of the three types.
Until the beginning of the 1990s the insurance markets of the transition countries of Central and Eastern Europe were highly concentrated, which means that one or only a few state-owned insurance companies operated on the market, with the market share of the leading company higher than 90%. At the beginning of the 1990s private investors entered the majority of economic sectors, including the insurance market. The entry of new companies has led to a decrease in concentration, i.e. to increased competition. This article analyses the dynamics of concentration of the insurance industry, and seeks to determine the impact of the leading insurance company on the development of the insurance market. Furthermore, the article examines the influence of the purchasing power of the population, measured by gross domestic product per capita, on the development of the insurance market and considers the potential scenario of development of the insurance market in the future.
This article deals with the relationship between market and client interest rates in the period of inflation stabilisation and banking system transformation in the Czech Republic in 1999-2006. It analyses the character of short-run and long-run equilibrium of the transmission of market interest rates to lending and deposit interest rates. In the theoretical part crucial characteristics of the banking system in transition countries and their effects on interest rate dynamics are discussed. These are the strong position of large state-owned banks, limited power of non-banks, low elasticity of demand for bank products, and high demand for investment and consumption. The empirical analysis shows different behaviour of client interest rates in the short and long run and a significant impact of changing characteristics of the bank sector (growth of competition, reduction in credit risk and an increase in operational efficiency) on the stability of the relationship between market and client interest rates.
In this study I describe the relationship between monetary policy and medium and long-term swap rates. I focus especially on explanation of the instability of the level and relations of swap and forward rates on the Czech swap market in the context of the Czech National Bank's (CNB) disinflation policy based on direct inflation targeting. Theoretically the main source of this problem is the inconsistency between the central bank's current and expected policy and the anticipated course of economic fundamentals. A common feature is that during disinflation the level of monetary policy restriction is not stable over time and is hard to predict for investors. Besides objective factors such as fluctuating economic growth or limited scope of information, this is also a result of the instability of sensitivity parameters of the central bank's reaction function and of the character of the monetary strategy pursued. Empirical analysis showed a limited effect of changes in the CNB repo rate on the instantaneous adaptation of swap and forward rates. In addition, problems connected with the CNB's weakened credibility were immediately identified, along with related erroneous expectations of investors. I interpret the instability of relations as evidence of differences in investors' inflation predictions of a gradual tendency for the economy to reach a state of low inflation.
This article documents significant improvements in the quality of corporate governance in Estonian listed firms between 1999 and 2007. Basing our approach in the agency theory framework, we construct a corporate governance index reflecting the specificities of transition economies in general and Estonia in particular. We base our index on best practice using a number of widely recognised sources. Using hand-collected publicly available data for 1999 and 2007, we calculate a corporate governance score for every listed company. Comparing the scores, we find an overall improvement in corporate governance during the period, which coincided with Estonia's accession to the EU. We find evidence that some corporate governance practices are better in cross-listed firms and those which were already in existence in 1989 and which were subsequently privatised. We identify some areas of corporate governance where practices could be enhanced.
An unusually detailed sample of large farms in Rostov, Ivanovo and Nizhny Novgorod regions of Russia in 2001 allows microeconomic examination of the production of grain and sunflower crops on Russian farms. Farms are found to have some excess capital and labour, but not land and other types of capital. New operators are found to be more efficient than other farms thought they do not necessarily produce more output. Neither rural infrastructure, location nor specialisation has a clear impact on farm efficiency. How workers are paid is found to be a potential short-term method for improving farm efficiency that would not involve major farm restructuring.
In 1998 we administered a survey to 740 Russian chief executive officers (CEOs), which enabled us to raise the question of the current human resource management (HRM) practices in Russian industrial companies. In October-December 2000 we administered another survey among 735 Russian CEOs. This time we observed a major drive towards some modern instruments of HRM policies. However, an additional survey, devoted to the source of innovations in HRM, revealed that most HRM innovations are implemented on a trial and error basis, without reference to international practices.
This article provides the first comparable cross-country empirical evidence on labour migration from the South Caucasus, based on a well-designed household survey from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. It quantifies recent emigration flows and provides preliminary evidence on the economic consequences of migration for the region. Results show that the most common destination for South Caucasian migrants is Russia and that the most common purpose of migration is to work abroad. An analysis of the demographic and socio-economic determinants of migration reveals that the migration flows do not involve mass emigration of skilled labour. However, this result is probably due to the relatively high cost of emigration to high-income countries. While individuals with higher education are not more likely to become migrants in general, having higher education is associated with up to four times higher probability of migration to a high-income OECD country among Armenians and Georgians. The results are in line with theoretical arguments that skill distribution and returns to education in the host country relative to the home country affect the selection of migrants, and that the cost of migration plays an important role in the migration decision. Further analysis suggests that migration indirectly boosts economic development in the South Caucasus by raising local incomes and demand. I also find a significant correlation between having a migrant and running a family business in Armenia, which suggests that migrants' earnings can provide scarce capital for business investment and support the development of the private sector in the region.
ANL (Argonne National Laboratory) and the National Science Center "Kharkov Institute of Physics Technology" (NSC KIPT, Kharkov, Ukraine) jointly propose to design and build a 100 MeV/100 kW linear accelerator which will be used to drive the neutron source subcritical assembly. The linac has almost finished assembly in KIPT by a team from the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP, Beijing, China). The design and measurement result of the accelerating system of the linac will be described in this paper.
This article places non-monetary trade (NMT), the persistent growth of which in Russia in 1992-98 economists have struggled to explain, within the framework of the credit channel of monetary policy. It shows that producers resorted to NMT responding to increases in the cost and the unavailability of external funds. The article traces the origins of structural breaks in the NMT trend to shifts in state policy that affected financial markets and its transitory fluctuations to temporary shocks in the demand for goods. It concludes that there is significant evidence supporting the existence of the credit channel in the Russian transition.
This article discusses the degree of trade restructuring between the EU and the new member states during the accession process. Intra-industry trade is selected as a composite indicator of trade structure. Factor endowments, market size and distance are the most important determinants of intra-industry trade. The estimations for the OECD countries are used to compute predictions for EU15 trade with the CEE countries. In general, this approach predicts well the EU15 trade structure with CEE, which proves significant restructuring in the new member states. High shares of intra-industry trade imply lower welfare losses and less resistance to further deepening of integration in the participating countries.
This article seeks to answer the question whether the investments made by Estonian food processing companies to meet the EU's strict hygiene and structural requirements have enhanced their competitiveness and opened up better export opportunities to the EU-15 market. Enhanced competitiveness means not only larger export volumes but also redirection of exports towards higher value added products. The current study focuses on the milk, meat and fish industries, concluding that in general, foodstuffs exports to the EU-15 have increased, but only the milk processing industry has experienced a shift towards value added consumer products. This shows that the Estonian food industry has not (yet) been able to reap the benefits of the EU market, and further investments in product development and quality, as well as in larger production volumes are necessary.
This article analyses markets, income and agricultural policy changes in Bulgaria after its accession to the EU. A country AG-MEMOD model, consisting of 18 commodities organised in four sub-models (crops, livestock, milk & dairy and a link between crops and livestock) is applied. The model is an econometric, dynamic, partial-equilibrium and multi-product one. In order to examine the policy environment in Bulgaria, two scenarios are designed: baseline or non-accession (N-Ac) and accession (Ac). The accession scenario should have a very positive effect on the crop sector in Bulgaria, whereas the effect is the opposite on the livestock sector. The most remarkable results come from the milk sector. The effect on income is also positive, despite the pessimistic macroeconomic projections.
Russia has been negotiating for accession to the WTO for some ten years, and there is still no prospect of an immediate conclusion to the process. The reasons for this are partly to be found in the international environment. In the past, the geo-strategic concerns of the Western powers have created barriers to Russian integration into global trading structures. Even in the new, post-September 11 environment, existing WTO members have continued to use the WTO accession process as a way of advancing their own commercial policies vis-a-vis Russia. But the main obstacles to speedy accession have been internal. While the Russian government as a whole is strongly in favour of WTO accession as a way of strengthening the market mechanism and reform processes within the country, significant elements within it are equally strongly in favour of high levels of protection for specific sectors, on national security and/or technological/infant industry grounds. While the Russian business community as a whole is divided over the merits of accession, the powerful manufacturing and banking lobbies are demanding levels of protection that would almost certainly be incompatible with accession. Russian views of WTO accession vary widely, within both government and the business community, and anyone who would lobby in favour of accession within Russia must bear this firmly in mind.
The new version of the CGE model of the Slovenian economy based on the 1998 SAM was used for simulations of the consequences of further foreign trade liberalisation after 1998 as the outcome of implementation of Free Trade Agreements and the European Agreement, adaptation of the Customs Tariff to the EU Common External Tariff3.
EU Common External Tariff Official Journal of the European Communities ER-1L/96-238 and ER-1L/98-238 View all references for manufacturing products, adoption of the EU Common External Tariff after the accession of Slovenia to the EU, and estimated transfers between the two budgets. Results obtained show a positive net outcome of Slovenian accession to the EU in the long run. On the other hand, rational behaviour by the government will certainly moderate possible short-run negative effects and improve favourable long-run effects.
In this article the stochastic frontier analysis method is used to evaluate the technical efficiency of Hungarian farms before and after accession to the European Union (EU), and to investigate the efficiency determinants. The results show that EU membership has reversed the pre-accession process of efficiency decrease. But the other side of the coin is that access to higher post-accession subsidies contributes to lower efficiency of Hungarian farmers. The other remarkable finding is a seeming scarcity of labour on farms, which constrains their production and efficiency. The Hungarian government may therefore have to design specific national policies if its aim is to promote a farming system that uses labour and at the same time is competitive.