The authors proceed from the assumption that the institutional and economic efficiency of a particular country (or society) depends on its historic legacy or ‘path-dependence’, strategic interactions of the elite and the impact of the international environment. Estonia and Slovenia are both — not only economically, but also institutionally — perceived as relatively successful and prominent post-communist countries and new members of the EU. Yet they have developed completely different — in some aspects even diametrically opposite — regulative settings and socio-political arrangements. The main emphasis is on the connection between the dynamics and ideological preferences of political actors and the pace of reforms as well as institutional regulations. One can argue that the political elite in Estonia encouraged the shaping of the state in a direction close to the liberal-market model, whereas Slovenia is closer to the corporatist social welfare-state model. In both cases, some dysfunctional effects are evident that represent a new challenge to the elites and, at the same time, a test of their credibility and competence.

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