Lessons from the Economic Transition: Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s

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International Finance and Macroeconomics.

The changing nature of jobs in Central and Eastern Europe

International Trade and Investment. Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship.

The Science of Science Funding Initiative. The Women Working Longer Project.

Stabilization and Liberalization Policies in Central and Eastern Europe: Lessons From Latin America

Illinois Workplace Wellness Study. The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment. He is also the Mitsui Professor of Economics at M. Managed Care and the Growth of Medical Expenditures. Introduction to "Frontiers in the Economics of Aging". More than two million entrepreneurs now operate in retail trade, construction and light manufacturing industry.

They make an important contribution to output growth and job creation, and form a new class of consumers. Private consumption is projected to grow as Polish consumers enjoy strong increases in real disposable incomes in an environment of plentiful consumer goods and emerging new services. Business investment should remain strong, as Polish businesses continue to modernise and foreign investors bring in more capital.

With the revival of activity in the European Union, exports should reach double-digit growth rates.

Poland's successful transition

An encouraging performance, but to stay on track Poland will have to deal firmly with two macroeconomic challenges, the first of which is to keep inflation under control. Until recently, the monetary authorities had been successful in reducing inflation to a single digit level.


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They responded to an overheating economy with preemptive interest-rate hikes and then dealt successfully with the contagion effect of the Russian financial crisis by aggressively easing monetary policy. If accompanied with an appropriate monetary stance, this new framework should put Poland back on a path of gradually decelerating inflation.

The deficit has widened in the last few years because of higher imports, a reflection of strong domestic demand. Exports have also been growing, but not fast enough to prevent the trade deficit from widening. Financial markets do not feel comfortable about economies with large external deficits and they need to be reassured that the authorities are committed to the right macroeconomic and structural policies.

That includes maintaining a business-friendly environment that encourages further FDI. Sweeping structural reforms are under way, covering decentralisation, taxation, healthcare, pensions, privatisation, labour, and education, but not all of them have been successful. A recent proposal to reform the tax system has, for instance, met with stiff political opposition, and the authorities have been forced to drop some of their most innovative initiatives.

And in healthcare, reform efforts have been lagging.

Lessons from the Economic Transition: Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s

Though not yet a member, Poland already enjoys a high degree of integration with the EU. Two-thirds of its foreign trade is with the Union. In fact, Poland has a larger share of its trade with the EU than either Greece or Italy, and most of its direct investment flows come from west European countries. The European Commission regards Poland as a functioning market economy, able to cope with the competitive pressures and market forces which being a full Union member will undoubtedly bring. So where are the weak points? Along with other EU countries, Poland needs to carry out a painful restructuring of industries that receive subsidies inconsistent with EU rules, such as coal mining and steel milling.

Its environmental standards remain the legacy of a bygone era and could do with some improving, which would mean costly investments in air and water clean-up equipment. Finally, its small-scale farming sector will have to adapt to EU rules. The goal of EU membership has mobilised the entire country and has been the momentum behind the reform programme.

Key findings

Of course, this presupposes that macroeconomic policy holds its steady course, and that measures are taken to weather the threats arising from both the widening current account deficit and the rise in inflation. Recent decisions by the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Poland confirm that the authorities are taking these conditions seriously.

Parliament has adopted a budget for that aims to cut the general government deficit and the government has adopted ambitious privatisation targets for the year which will provide the necessary financing of the budget deficit. And the Monetary Policy Council raised its interest rate three times since September , proving its determination to keep the lid on inflation.