Two sides of economic openness: Non-tariff barriers to trade and capital controls in transition countries, 1993-2000

T. Bodenstein*, T. Plümper, G. Schneider

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This article presents new measures of foreign economic openness in the transition countries that allow us to distinguish between non-tariff barriers to trade and capital controls. We argue that this distinction is important for the analysis of foreign economic relations in the post-communist world. While most states lowered barriers to trade since 1993, they increased the number of capital controls, which had been low at the beginning of the transition process. The ELITE (Economic Liberalization in the Transition Economies) data set, which is based on the IMF statistics on exchange arrangements and exchange restrictions and encompasses 24 transition countries, further demonstrates important exceptions to this trend. The comparison of the ELITE indicators with alternative measurements of economic openness indicates the need to move towards more refined analyses of the political economy of the transition process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-243
Number of pages13
JournalCommunist and Post-Communist Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Simone Burkhart and Doreen Spörer for their research assistance and the Volkswagen Foundation for financial support. The data set and a codebook describing the varying measures can be found at the following website:


  • Capital controls
  • EBRD
  • Economic openness
  • Non-tariff barriers to trade
  • Regulation

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