The Economic Convergence Performance of Central and Eastern European Countries
A critical discussion of a comparative growth analysis about Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries is performed. The main conclusion is that there was economic convergence for most CEE accession candidates, but not between them and Western Europe. Results do justify a separation into first and second-wave accession countries, but also undermine differences in Central and Eastern Europe between accession and non-accession countries. This paper critically examines theories and empirical studies for three types of convergence, namely β,σ and club convergence. Each can be in absolute terms or conditional to the long-term equilibrium (steady state) for each country. Empirical results are provided for all types of convergence from 1996 to 2000, both with population-weighted and non-weighted data. The analysis is performed for differently framed country subgroups considering even Western Europe for better comparability. Once absolute convergence is found through a unit root test about a standard deviation time series of cross-sectional income per capita, the regression coefficient for initial income per capita with the average growth over the sample period as dependent variable (β convergence) establishes the speed of this process. The same method applies to the conditional version by using the distance of the income from the corresponding steady state instead of the level of GDP. Then Markov chain probability matrixes (club convergence) provide information about the past behaviour of the whole cross-sectional income distribution over time, but also about intra-mobility of single countries. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003
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