H2020-MSCA-ETN-2019: Markets

Mapping Uncertainties, Challenges and Future Opportunities of Emerging Markets: Informal Barriers, Business Environments and Future Trends in Eastern Europe, The Caucasus and Central Asia


European Commission, H2020-Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, 2020-2024


In the past ten years, diplomatic and economic relations between the EU and a number of post-USSR republics have steadily improved. Initially concerned primarily with internal political stability, countries like Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan have since come to realize that availability of oil, gas and minerals is not a guarantee for a stable and shockresistant economic environment. Efforts to diversify domestic economies and to attract foreign investments have multiplied in the past years in the region, through initiates that include visa liberalization and economic and fiscal reforms aimed at reducing barriers to entry for foreign business seeking access to domestic markets. The response from the international business community to these efforts have been modest to date. While a number of corporate entities have tried to enter new markets, the attractiveness of such newly opened republics remain limited, in large part due to informal barriers to foreign investment. Such informal obstacles and hindrances remain largely under-reported and under-studied, contributing to a more general lack of understanding of local business environments that is exacerbated by a dearth of regional specialists who can understand and navigate the micro and macro socio-political economies of post-USSR markets.

MARKETS responds to novel opportunities emerging in post-Soviet spaces by conducting a study on the influence of both formal and informal factors impacting on access to markets in eight countries in the post-USSR, including two countries per sub-region (Baltics, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia) to 1) construct a map of business environments in the region based; 2) create, develop and improve the sustainability of training programmes for future analysts (Doctoral Candidates) to equip them with deep practical understandings of the region, embedded in the newest theoretical and methodological approaches.

The Consortium employs 15 PhD Candidates to work in the partner universities.

The University of Helsinki subproject will focus on the evolution and coherence of informal and formal rules and practices in the development of post-Soviet institutions.  The project examines and compares processes and mechanisms of informality in government institutions of the post-Soviet regions through an exploration of the relationship between formal and informal norms and practices.

Coordinator and participants

The Consortium Coordinator is Dr. Abel Polese at the Dublin City University (Ireland).

Participating organizations  include University College London (United Kingdom), Universiteit Maastricht (Netherlands), University of Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (Latvia), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Tallinna Tehnikaulikool (Estonia), Centre for Social Sciences (Georgia).

Researchers in the Aleksanteri Institute

Anna-Liisa Heusala, Principal Investigator
Doctoral Candidate:  Call for applications open until 30.11.2020