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SPP 208

Author: Richard Rose, CSPP
Description: This paper sets out the utility of time-space analysis across Eastern and Western Europe, including republics of the former USSR. The method is demonstrated with reference to changes in infant mortality rates in the past half century. The first section shows how time-space analysis complements within-nation comparisons which measure progress across time, avoids the static limitations of league-table rankings of OECD nations at a single point in time, and how a nation can register progress and yet fall behind simultaneously. Time-space analysis makes it possible to show how many years ahead or behind the achievement of a given country is; this is a function of its rate of progress as well as the initial gap between two countries. The second section illustrates time-space analysis of differences in infant mortality among OECD nations; among historically planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe; within historically planned economies; between Eastern and Western European countries; and between these countries and third world nations. The conclusion is that the critical variable for policymakers to watch is the annual rate of change, which determines whether lagging countries are catching up as well as making progress.

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