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Ten years of transformation - macroeconomic lessons

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  • Wyplosz, Charles

Abstract

After surveying the facts and distilling the voluminous literature on the transition to market economies, the author arrives at several conclusions: with hindsight, the old debate - Big Bang versus gradualism - was really a problem of feasibility, although many of the arguments in favor of the Big Bang have now been proven right. Once more, inflation has been found to be incompatible with growth and the importance of a good microeconomic structure - especially an effective banking system - has been confirmed. The decline of the state in transition economies is both spectacular and puzzling - combining features that are both desirable and dangerous. Among useful lessons learned: 1) It has paid to start early and move fast. The Big Bang is highly desirable but impractical, and gradualism is unavoidable but ought to be compressed as much as possible. The countries that bit the bullet early and hard have done better over the past decade. 2) Stabilize first; growth next. Macroeconomic stabilization is a prerequisite for growth. The budget deficit need not be eliminated, but the link between deficits and money growth must be severed. 3) Structural reform is important, and microeconomic policies, often overlooked, should be started as soon as possible. This means establishing property rights, hardening budget constraints, building a healthy banking system, and ensuring true domestic competition. 4) The choice of an exchange rate regime, another early controversy, is apparently less important than adherence to a strictmonetary policy. The floaters have tightly managed their exchange rates, while the fixers have repeatedly devalued and have often ended up floating. Some form of monetary targeting is needed, but it matters little which target is chosen so long as it is adhered to. 5) Creating irreversibilities early on allows governments to change without seriously affecting the transition. The less stable the economy, the more politics matters. A shaky economic basis is fertile ground for policy reversals that set the clock back several years (Bulgaria, Romania, Russia).

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2288.

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Date of creation: 29 Feb 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2288

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Payment Systems&Infrastructure; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Fiscal&Monetary Policy; Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Banks&Banking Reform; Economic Stabilization; Macroeconomic Management;

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  1. Anders Åslund & Peter Boone & Simon Johnson, 1996. "How to Stabilize: Lessons from Post -communist Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 217-314.
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  3. Philippe Aghion & Olivier J. Blanchard, 1994. "On the Speed of Transition in Central Europe," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 283-330 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Ichiro Iwasaki, 2004. "Evolution of the Government–Business Relationship and Economic Performance in the Former Soviet States – Order State, Rescue State, Punish State," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 223-257, September.
  2. Alain Sand, 2005. "Structural reforms, macroeconomic policies and the future of Kazakhstan," Working Papers 0411, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique (GATE), Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Université Lyon 2, Ecole Normale Supérieure.
  3. Neven Valev & John A. Carlson, 2002. "Tenuous Financial Stability," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0210, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  4. Robert Pye, 2005. "The Evolution of Financial Services in Transition Economies: An Overview of the Insurance Sector," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 205-223.
  5. Barlow, David, 2010. "How did structural reform influence inflation in transition economies?," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 198-210, June.
  6. Gillman, Max & Nakov, Anton, 2005. "Granger Causality of the Inflation-Growth Mirror in Accession Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 4845, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Sándor Valkovszky & János Vincze, 2000. "Estimates of and Problems with Core Inflation in Hungary," MNB Working Papers 2000/2, Magyar Nemzeti Bank (the central bank of Hungary).
  8. Facchini, Giovanni & Segnana, Maria Luigia, 2003. "Growth at the EU periphery: the next enlargement," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 827-862.
  9. Altar, Moisa & Albu, Lucian Liviu & Dumitru, Ionut & Necula, Ciprian, 2009. "Estimation of Equilibrium Real Exchange Rate and of Deviations for Romania," Working Papers of National Institute of Economic Research 090105, National Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Maria Piotrowska, 2001. "Macroeconomic shocks across Central European Countries," ERSA conference papers ersa01p147, European Regional Science Association.
  11. Andrea Brasili & Bruno Sitzia, 2003. "Risk Related Non Linearities in Exchange Rates: Evidence from a Panel of Central and Eastern European Countries," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 135-155, April.
  12. Alex Segura-Ubiergo & Alejandro Simone & Sanjeev Gupta & Qiang Cui, 2010. "New Evidence on Fiscal Adjustment and Growth in Transition Economies," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 52(1), pages 18-37, March.
  13. Gilles Dufrenot & Alain Sand-Zantman, 2004. "Structural reforms, macroeconomic policies and the future of Kazakhstan economy," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2004-11, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  14. Robert B.K. Pye, 2000. "The Evolution of the Insurance Sector in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 336, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.

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