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The Forum for Research on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies (FREE Network) is a joint initiative by SITE (Stockholm), BEROC (Minsk), BICEPS (Riga), CEFIR (Moscow), CenEA (Szczecin), ISET (Tbilisi) and KSE (Kiev). Together, these research institutes form an extensive network of leading academic experts on economic issues in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The institutes also conduct research about development, emerging markets, as well as economics in general. By publishing the weekly FREE Policy Brief Series, these institutes provide short and informative analyses on current economic policy challenges in Eastern Europe and emerging markets. The writings are based on academic research papers or policy work.

The ambition of the FREE network is to bridge the gap between ongoing academic research and policy making, to stimulate and contribute to the international debate as well as to intensify the interaction and discussion with other researchers, policy-makers, and business representatives across the world.

Kyiv School of Economics (KSE/KEI)

Founded: 1995

Location: Kyiv, Ukraine

Research areas: Development Economics, Economics of Migration, Health Economics, International Trade, Labor Economics, Political Economy, Social Policy, Transition Economics

Kyiv School of Economics is a leading institution in economics research and policy advice through its Kyiv Economics Institute (KEI) and the International Economics Education and Research Consortium (EERC). KEI is a research institution established in 2005 which produces international quality advanced academic and policy relevant research outputs in the field of Economics and Economic Development. KSE is also the administrative center for the 12 country CIS/FSU region for the Global Development Network (GDN), founded by the World Bank, providing research and economic policy advice in these countries, under the auspices of KSE’s EERC.

During 2005-2012 KEI has built excellence in research and policy advice in economics and governance and has provided Ukraine with a new channel for strategic research and evidence-based policy decision-making. Our team includes qualified economists with academic degrees from leading Western universities, who continue their research in Ukraine.

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ISET Policy Institute (ISET-PI)

Founded: 2011

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia

The ISET Policy Institute is one of the first university-based think-tanks in the South Caucasus. It is based at the International School of Economics (ISET) of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) in Georgia. Established in May 2011, ISET-PI builds upon ISET’s academic strength and TSU’s tradition of excellence and social engagement.
ISET itself is a young institution (it was founded in 2006), and while the idea of setting up a think-tank at the school has been floating around for a long time, it took several years before the school grew enough muscle to create an independent policy unit. ISET-PI hired some of the best ISET’s graduates in the capacity of research associates. ISET resident faculty and members of the ISET international community contribute their time as policy advisors and consultants. ISET-PI is headed by Eric Livny, who also serves as ISET’s executive director.
The Policy Institute is physically located on the ISET premises in the Vera district of Tbilisi and enjoys uninhibited access to ISET’s modern academic infrastructure, faculty, staff and students. Very importantly, ISET-PI inherited from the school a small but valuable research portfolio, including the now famous Khachapuri Index project. From inception, ISET-PI has received core support from the Open Society Institute’s Think Tank Fund. It is also a member of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE ) network, including such established centers of excellence in economics teaching and research as NES/CEFIR (Moscow), KIE/KSE (Kyiv), and BICEPS/SSE (Riga).

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Center for Economic Analysis (CenEA)

Founded: 2008

Location: Szczecin, Poland

Research areas: Health Economics, Labour Economics, Public Economics, Social economics

CenEA, the Centre for Economic Analysis, is an independent non-profit academic research institute aiming to provide rigorous highest level analysis of effects of economic and social policy with a focus on Poland. CenEA strives to promote effective evidence-based policy by improving the understanding of consequences of economic and social policies on individuals, firms and the economy as a whole.

CenEA (KRS: 0000213332) was initially established as the Warsaw Institute for Socio-Economic Research, WISER, and is the Polish node of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE ) network. The change of name has been accepted at a meeting of the Board in December 2008 and has been registered at the Polish Country Court Registry (KRS) in September 2009.

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Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR)

Founded: 2000

Location: Moscow, Russia

Research areas: Economics of Education, Energy, Environmental Economics, Financial Economics, Health Economics, International Economics, Labour Economics, Macro Economics, Natural Resources, Political Economy, Public Economics, Regulation, Transition Economics

The Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) is an independent economic policy think tank established in 2000. CEFIR’s mission is to improve Russia’s economic and social policies by producing cutting-edge academic research and policy analysis; in other words, CEFIR makes it possible for both policymakers and the public to make informed choices. CEFIR researchers use advanced methods of economic analysis to contribute to Russia’s economic and social policy by informing policymakers and the public about the costs and benefits of specific policy actions.

CEFIR’s critical resources are its high-quality human capital and its efficient academic infrastructure. Centre for Economic and Financial Research is ranked 42 among Top 25% Think Tanks in the world by RePEc* (as of December 2014). In January 2015 CEFIR has been ranked six among 55 Top Think Tanks in Central and Eastern Europe and the third among Russian think tanks in this particular field according to the annual 2014 The Global Go To Think Tank Index. CEFIR has been ranked 26 among 80 Top Domestic Economic Policy Think Tanks and the first among Russian think tanks in this particular field. CEFIR is closely integrated in the world economic community and has partner relations with leading economic think tanks in many countries. CEFIR outperforms all other Russian economic think tanks — combined on the number of publications in top Western economics journals, including American Economic Review, Journal of European Economic Association, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Economics of Transition and others.

CEFIR’s project portfolio includes research done for the improvement of Russia — for the Central Bank, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Health and Social Development, and Presidential Administration — and for the benefit of organizations abroad — for the World Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, Swedish International Development Agency, USAID, International Finance Corporation, and the United Nations Development Programme.

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Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS)

Founded: 2001

Location: Riga, Latvia

Research areas: Financial Economics, Income Inequality, Labour Economics, Transition Economics

"The Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies (BICEPS) is an independent research centre located in Riga, Latvia. BICEPS aim is to undertake and promote high quality policy-oriented research in economics and other social sciences and to provide informed advice and consulting services for both government and business in the Baltic states and elsewhere.

BICEPS started its operations in 2001 with the help of a grant from the Swedish Foreign Ministry and with assistance from the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE). BICEPS became an independent legal entity in May 2002. BICEPS now have a broad and expanding portfolio of projects and a largely young and dedicated staff that includes some of the first returning PhD's from doctoral programmes abroad. BICEPS activities include academic research, commissioned work for local ministries and international institutions as well as participation in EU-wide networks.

BICEPS is a part of an integrated network of research centres and universities in the region with partners in the Baltic states, Sweden, Russia, Poland and Ukraine. BICEPS has an especially close collaboration with the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga), and some of its researchers are also lecturers at the school. Together with SSE Riga BICEPS publish Baltic Journal of Economics (BJE) which reports on the latest research in the Baltic states and offers commentary on economic developments."

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Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC)

Founded: 2008

Location: Minsk, Belarus

Research areas: Energy, Labour Economics, Political Economy, Public Economics, Transition Economics

Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC) started its work as joint project of Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) and Economics Education and Research Consortium (EERC) in 2008 with financial support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). Today BEROC is an established leading economic academic think-tank in Belarus.

BEROC conducts academic and applied research, arranges educational programs on modern economics and other outreach activities.

BEROC engages prominent representatives of scientific economic diaspora from the world’s leading universities and research centers to take part in Center’s research and outreach projects. Thus, the Center stimulates co-operation between Belarusian and international scientific communities by offering a meeting place for Belarusian economists who moved to the Western academia and those who stayed, bridging the gap between the global academic world and the Belarusian economic community. On the one hand, such a dialogue provides the Belarusian scholars an access to the international state-of-the-art in approach, expertise and knowledge, on the other hand, it helps to spread knowledge related to the development of economy in Belarus, its problems and trends.

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Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE)

Founded: 1989

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Research areas: Antitrust, Corruption, Development Economics, Energy, Experimental Economics, Inequality, Political Economy, Transition Economics

Since its foundation in 1989, SITE has become a leading research and policy center on transition in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. Our ambition is to serve as a bridge between the academic community and policy makers. To promote communication and the sharing of ideas we regularly organize policy oriented conferences and seminars. Through SITE, policy makers, scholars as well as representatives of major international financial institutions get an avenue to present new findings and political initiatives to a wide audience from the Swedish government, private businesses, media, and academics as well as members of the international diplomatic circle in Stockholm.

In fulfilling our mission, we have been involved in building independent think tanks in the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe, to strengthen the link between high-quality research and policymaking. After founding CEFIR, in Moscow, we have gone on to create unique policy centers led by talented young leaders in Riga, Kiev and Szczecin. Most recently we helped set up the Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center.

Despite tremendous advances in recent years, there is still much to be understood about economic, political and legal institutions and how to change them. In research, transition and development are joining forces to develop means of measuring institutional change in emerging markets. SITE is part of this process, engaging national governments, industry, international financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and fellow academics in a vibrant dialogue about making institutions more effective.

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