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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that Central Asia’s post-Soviet economic liberalization and integration into the global economy remains selective and incomplete, especially when compared to its post-Communist peers. Patrimonial structures, informal economic practices, and authoritarian regime survival are enduring domestic practices that also drive foreign economic policy, while elite rent-seeking strategies depend on the relative resource endowments of each of the states. The emergence of new external economic actors such as China and Russia, as well as new Asian partners, has dramatically increased the region’s formal trade and economic links outside of the region, even as regional trade remains depressed and despite the proliferation of a number of new regional organizations designed to promote cooperation and integration. Additionally, the chapter also considers the debates surrounding the energy-rich states’ prospects for escaping the “resource curse,” and examines the region’s growing links to the murky world of offshore finance.

Keywords: Central Asia, energy security, resource curse, offshore finance, patrimonialism, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, customs union, Russia, China

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