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First call for papers for a blended conference


Just and SMART Transitions: New Deals, Markets and Governance

Jubilee Conference on the occasion of 30 years of re-establishment of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

November 23-24, 2020 - Hybrid conference (Online & On-site)




Transitions have become the new status quo: economic transitions from planned to market economies; transition to carbon neutral economy; digital transformations through smart technologies and artificial intelligence towards Industry 4.0; consumers becoming prosumers. Borders between firms and economic sectors are blurring. World leaders embrace policies with unpredictable effect, increasing the world disorder even after the outbreak of the global COVID- 19 pandemic, which poses additional challenges to social, political, and corporate governance.

Despite the overall acceptance of its goals and the general assessment that the transition towards democracy and market economy in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has had a positive influence on education and living standards in CEE, a widespread dissatisfaction with the side effects of actual mechanics of transitions exists in some countries. What is more, a lot of the attitudes towards transitions and even the majority of academic publications are based primarily on ideological assumptions and not on facts and sound methodologies. While there is already enough evidence on why reforms have been unjust to wide social groups and where the faults of the pre-transition agreements are (i.e. the Washington consensus), these do not form a sound theory or a model, which could be used to foresee and evaluate new transitions and especially the one towards carbon-neutral economy.

Another relevant topic for the transition economies and their restructuring is related to pushing or crossing the existing boundaries and frontiers: boundaries of the firm (from Coase to today’s institutionalism), including outsourcing and offshoring; boundaries of the network and fuzzy boundaries between sectors, including the emergence of new sectors, such as fintech, and the convergence processes of products and services among industries; boundaries between economics and other sciences.

We call for theoretical and empirical contributions reflecting various transitions and challenges that emerging economies are experiencing, as well as the chosen paths and mechanics of transition. The conference will bring together businesses, policy makers, civil society, and academia to debate the need to have just, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) transitions. We specifically look for answers to the following set of questions:

  • How do we model and measure justice in transitions? What empirical evidence of unjust/unfair market transformations do we have? Examples of legalization of informal markets? Examples of renewable energy markets? What are the differences in privatization approaches in transition countries and which of them provided better economic performance? What specific regulations of transition processes are preemptive or conducive to discriminatory market transformations?
  • What are the key characteristics of corporate governance changes in the European Union countries over the last 30 years? Does it provide non-discriminatory protection of the rights of different stakeholders? In what is shareholder capitalism transforming to?
  • What lessons from the transition to market economies in CEE could be applied in the new transition to carbon-neutral economy? What institutional responses especially in energy-poor and carbon-dependent countries could ensure a just transition under the Green New Deal? What econometric models could describe plausible Green New Deal transformations? How do the major milestones in the Deal affect the distribution of costs associated with the transition?
  • What are the other key trends in energy markets transformation (competition, concentration, ownership, convergence)? What is the impact of the EU energy regulation on market transformation? What are its costs and benefits?
  • What are the economic effects of the transformation of consumers to prosumers? Can we see them in the available data? What are the challenges to management and marketing due to this transformation? How plausible is to transform small users (i.e. electric cars) into balancing energy suppliers? What challenges and opportunities for the emerging economies do the current boundaries and frontiers present?
  • What theoretical models are applicable to the region and what does data say about CEE countries regarding the size and structure of the shadow economy and the outsourcing and offshoring sectors? What is the impact of the rise of the Fintech industry and the ongoing digital transformation and automation of processes on the factors of production (capital and labor) and the structure of the economies in the region? How should the education system change to make the most of it (including improving financial literacy)?
  • What are the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for emerging and developing economies? What should be the appropriate policy responses in the CEE region? Will the pandemic lead to a reversal of the ongoing globalization or to its acceleration, through the accelerated digital transformation?
  • The admission of Bulgaria and Croatia to the EU Banking Union and the entry of the Bulgarian lev and the Croatian kuna in the ERMII are a new milestone in the European integration of these countries. What are the implications of that event for the financial markets, financial stability and economic prosperity of both countries and the CEE region? What additional policy and legislative changes need to be made, to prepare the economy for the adoption of the euro in the near future - to meet the Maastricht criteria and the imposed requirements for improving the quality of governance and institutions, to avoid possible high inflation or deflation, banking crises, or, to avoid excessive debt accumulation and, in the extreme, a new Greek scenario due to overborrowing?
  • In general, what methodologies have proven to be the best to study transitions? What are the problems in the most widely used methodologies in transition studies? Are data and model confrontations a hard barrier to research of transition? What are the dimensions of formal and informal economy and how they affect the transition process?
  • What are the opportunities and barriers to the entrepreneurship in emerging economies? How the small businesses responded to the Covid-19 crisis? Do firms make a smart transition toward new business model? Do they adopt new technologies, particularly the digitalization of processes, enhance the digital training of their employees and engage in more attractive economic activities?
  • Studying other transitions: how to transform classical universities into entrepreneurial universities? How to transform secondary education to prepare students for the jobs of the future? How to transform firms into learning organizations? What are the effects of national cultures on transitions and do these transitions change the national cultures over time? Transition from cold war to cold peace. What effects are the technologies and AI bringing into the security domain?


Please send extended abstracts (4 to 8 pages) of your proposed paper until October 30, 2020. You will receive acceptance/rejection notification until November 5. Early submissions are encouraged. Please use https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/JST2020/ for submissions.

Participants might be asked to serve as discussants to other papers. The conference organizers will arrange special issues in selected journals around the conference themes, so that the conference papers could be published after the normal double-blind review. The extended abstracts will be published in conference proceedings after the event.

The conference will have (mostly) digital and in-person sessions, if the epidemiological situation allows. The conference languages are English and Bulgarian.


For further information please write to conference@feb.uni-sofia.bg