Skip to content

64 Working Paper

The Politics of Institutional Learning and Creation: Bank Crises and Supervision in East Central Europe

Apr 22, 2024 – Gerald A. McDermott


This article examines the political conditions shaping the creation of new institutional capabilities. It analyzes bank sector reforms in the 1990s in three leading postcommunist democracies – Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic. It shows how different political approaches to economic transformation can facilitate or hinder the ability of relevant public and private actors to experiment and learn their new roles. With its emphasis on insulating power and rapidly implementing self-enforcing economic incentives, the "depoliticization" approach creates few changes in bank behavior and, indeed, impedes investment in new capabilities at the bank and supervisory levels. The "deliberative restructuring" approach fostered innovative, cost-effective monitoring structures for recapitalization, a strong supervisory system, and a stable, expanding bank sector.