Uzbekistan’s recent efforts to reform its cotton-production system have caught the attention of Central Asia watchers, and raised hopes for economic growth. Liberalization of the sector on paper, however, cannot guarantee an increase in prosperity. The example of neighboring Tajikistan shows that lifting controls does not automatically lead to greater sector efficiency, or higher living standards.
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Irna Hofman is a Ph.D. Candidate at Leiden University, the Netherlands. She focuses on the political economy of agrarian transformation in Tajikistan, and her interests also include the politics of Chinese agricultural investments in Tajikistan and Central Asia at large.