2nd Workshop on the Comparative Economics of South Eastern Europe: Investment in Economic and Social Infrastructure

University of Belgrade, 30-31 March 2023




Following the multiple shocks of transition to a market economy, the global financial crisis, the Covid pandemic and the destructive effects of the war in Ukraine, the economies of South East Europe are under increasing strain. As interest rates rise around the world, the burden of debt payments in indebted countries is rising and governments are under pressure to cut back on their expenditures. Often, social and economic infrastructure investments are the first in line for cutbacks. However, these investments lay the foundations for future economic growth, recovery and reconstruction. The importance of infrastructure investments is recognised in the EU’s Economic and Investment Plan for South East Europe, in the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Plans for EU members states, and in the support promised to Ukraine by international institutions as it struggles to rebuild its essential infrastructure damaged and destroyed by Russian aggression. However, research evidence on the contribution of infrastructure investments in South East Europe is poorly developed and much needs to be known about the role of both economic and social infrastructure in the economies of the region. Which infrastructure contributes most to productivity and economic growth? How should infrastructure investments be financed? How can infrastructure investments be designed to contribute to the goals of environmental protection, combatting climate change and reducing economic inequalities? What will be the effects of new economic and social infrastructure investments on the labour markets, and on skill development and on youth unemployment? Can investments in digital infrastructure reduce the development gap between South East Europe and more advanced European states? How can infrastructure investments be designed to reduce large regional disparities and boost local economic development? These and other questions will be discussed at this workshop. 


The workshop series provides a forum for presentation of research on all aspects of economic transition and European integration in in South Eastern Europe. The focus of this second workshop is investment in the economic and social infrastructure. Papers are welcome from all traditions of economic analysis. Empirical papers focusing on the comparative analysis of economies of the region are encouraged, while individual country studies related to the workshop themes are also welcome. After the workshop, papers will be considered for publication in a thematic issue of Economic Annals to be published in autumn 2023. 

Workshop Themes

- The comparative economics of infrastructure investment

- Infrastructure investment and economic growth

- Sustainable transport systems and connectivity

- Investment in clean energy

- Green investments and the environment

- Socioeconomic effects of investments in the digital infrastructure 

- Financing infrastructure investment

- Private-public partnerships for infrastructure investment 

- Investment in human capital, skills and education

- The impact of social investment in health and education

- The labour market impacts of infrastructure investment

- Urban infrastructure, housing and the lived environment

- Public procurement and the control of corruption

- The geopolitics of infrastructure investment

Keynote Speaker

Professor Milica Uvalić, University of Perugia


Extended abstracts of up to 500 words should contain the title, author(s) name and affiliation, and contact details. Abstracts should state the aims of the paper, the methodology used, and the workshop theme to which the paper is addressed. Abstracts should be submitted by 16th January 2023 via email to Will Bartlett (w.j.bartlett@lse.ac.uk) and Nikola Njegovan (ea@ekof.bg.ac.rs).

Important Dates

31 January 2023:          Deadline for submission of abstracts

February 2023:             Notification of acceptance

24 March 2023:             Submission of papers and registration for workshop

30-31 March 2023:        Workshop

Organising Committee

Will Bartlett (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

Nikola Njegovan (University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Žaklina Stojanović (University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Borislav Boričić (University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Mladen Stamenković (University of Belgrade – Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Selection Committee

Will Bartlett (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

Biljana Bogićević Milikić (University of Belgrade-Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Radovan Kovačević (University of Belgrade - Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Gorana Krstić (University of Belgrade - Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)

Vassilis Monastiriotis (London School of Economics and Political Science, UK)

Saša Randjelović (University of Belgrade - Faculty of Economics and Business, Serbia)


The workshop is organised by the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Belgrade, the journal Economic Annals, LSEE (LSE Research on South Eastern Europe) and the European Association for Comparative Economics (EACES), with the support of the Scientific Society of Economists of Serbia (NDES) and the Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region (ASECU).

University of Belgrade - Faculty of Economics and Business

The Faculty of Economics and Business was established as the Graduate School for Economy and Trade in 1937 as the first higher education centre in the field of Economics in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Today, the Faculty is the most prominent scientific and educational institution in the country in the field of economic sciences. It is the publisher of the refereed journal Economic Annals.

Economic Annals

Economic Annals is an academic journal published quarterly since 1955 initially under its Serbian name of Ekonomski anali. Since 2006 it has been published in English by the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Belgrade. It covers all areas of economics and business studies. The Editorial Board particularly welcomes contributions that explore economic issues in the comparative economics of Southeast Europe and the wider European neighbourhood. All papers submitted are subject to double-blind refereeing process. The current issue of the journal is available on the website of the Faculty of Economics, along with earlier issues at: http://www.ekof.bg.ac.rs/publikacije/casopisi/ekonomski-anali/

European Association for Comparative Economic Studies (EACES)

The founding conference of EACES was held in Verona on 27-29 September 1990. The Association holds regular bi-annual Conferences and workshops. The principal focus of the association is the comparative study of economic systems, as well as the economic interactions among systems and among regional areas, such as the EU. The Association is a broadly-based organisation in which all schools of economic thought can exchange views and ideas on current and prospective research. EACES website: http://www.eaces.eu


LSEE (LSE Research on South Eastern Europe) is a research unit established within the European Institute at the London School of Economics. It was launched at the start of the 2009-10 academic year. LSEE provides a forum for research collaboration both within the LSE and the UK, and with external partners in South Eastern Europe and beyond. Under this aegis, LSEE organises public events related to its research - lectures, seminars, workshops and conferences – both at the LSE and in the region. 

Scientific Society of Economists in Serbia (NDES) 

The Scientific Society of Economists in Serbia (NDES) is an association of economists engaged in scientific and educational work in a higher education and research institution in Serbia or abroad. It is based at the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Belgrade. Each year, NDES organises conferences jointly with the Faculty of Economics and Business in Belgrade, with participation of other economic Faculties in the country. 

Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region (ASECU)

ASECU was established in 1996 and now has fifty-one members including Universities and Scientific Centers from the region. Papers accepted for the Workshop can also be submitted for consideration for publication in the South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics (the official journal of the ASECU).