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A Comparison of the Rates of Growth of Post-Transformation Economies: What Can(Not) Be Expected From GDP?

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  • Miroslav Singer

Abstract

This paper suggests that real GDP is not an appropriate indicator for long-term comparisons of the performance of transformation and post-transformation economies either with developed economies, or one with another, or across different phases of development of a single economy. We analyse the possible reasons why real GDP diverges from the theoretical concept of the objective level of value added adjusted for inflation. These reasons concern real exchange rate appreciation and overestimation of inflation due to quality changes in output after the collapse of central planning. To overcome the shortcomings of real GDP in explaining the true "transformation story" we develop the concept of "comparable" real GDP. This concept is calculated from nominal GDP, the exchange rate against the euro, and inflation in the euro area. While the differences between "standard" real GDP and "comparable" real GDP are modest and temporary in advanced economies, they are quantitatively and qualitatively significant and persistent in transformation and post-transformation economies. On the basis of the relevant literature we introduce two modifications of "comparable" real GDP. They account for likely differences in productivity patterns between tradables and non-tradables and between the performance of the export and non-export segments of the economy respectively. We conclude that true convergence is proceeding at a significantly higher pace than real GDP implies and that the Czech economy is converging to the euro area somewhat faster than the Polish economy and much faster than the Hungarian economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Miroslav Singer, 2013. "A Comparison of the Rates of Growth of Post-Transformation Economies: What Can(Not) Be Expected From GDP?," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2013(1), pages 3-27.
  • Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpep:v:2013:y:2013:i:1:id:438:p:3-27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vladislav Flek & Lenka Marková & Jiøí Podpiera, 2003. "Sectoral Productivity and Real Exchange Rate Appreciation: Much Ado about Nothing?," Czech Journal of Economics and Finance (Finance a uver), Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, vol. 53(3-4), pages 130-153, March.
    2. Brada, Josef C. & King, Arthur E. & Kutan, Ali M., 2000. "Inflation bias and productivity shocks in transition economies: The case of the Czech Republic," ZEI Working Papers B 02-2000, University of Bonn, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies.
    3. Sfreddo, Claudio, 2004. "Growth in Switzerland: is the picture really that gloomy?," MPRA Paper 4679, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Oxana Babecka Kucharcukova & Alexis Derviz & Vaclav Hausenblas & Michal Hlavacek & Mark Joy & Narcisa Kadlcakova & Lubos Komarek & Zlatuse Komarkova & Tomas Konecny & Ivana Kubicova & Jitka Lesanovska, 2014. "Macroprudential Research: Selected Issues," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 2, volume 12, number rb12/2 edited by Jan Babecky & Borek Vasicek.
    2. Robert Ambrisko & Vitezslav Augusta & Jan Babecky & Michal Franta & Dana Hajkova & Petr Kral & Jan Libich & Pavla Netusilova & Milan Rikovsky & Jakub Rysanek & Pavel Soukup & Petr Stehlik & Vilem Vale, 2013. "Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Policy," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 2, volume 11, number rb11/2 edited by Jan Babecky & Kamil Galuscak.
    3. Frantisek Brazdik & Jan Bruha & Michal Franta & David Havrlant & Tibor Hledik & Tomas Holub & Zuzana Humplova & Frantisek Kopriva & Jiri Polansky & Marek Rusnak & Jaromir Tonner, 2015. "Forecasting," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 1, volume 13, number rb13/1 edited by Jan Babecky & Kamil Galuscak.
    4. Michal Andrle & Oxana Babecka Kucharcukova & Jaromir Baxa & Jan Bruha & Peter Claeys & Jan Filacek & Jakub Mateju & Miroslav Plasil & Serhat Solmaz & Borek Vasicek, 2015. "Monetary Policy Challenges in a Low-Inflation Environment," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 2, volume 13, number rb13/2 edited by Jan Babecky & Michal Franta.
    5. Kamil Galuscak & Adam Gersl & Marcela Gronychova & Petr Hlavac & Petr Jakubik & Lubos Komarek & Zlatuse Komarkova & Tomas Konecny & Jakub Seidler, 2014. "Stress-Testing Analyses of the Czech Financial System," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 1, volume 12, number rb12/1 edited by Jan Babecky & Roman Horvath.
    6. Jaromir Baxa & Michal Franta & Tomas Havranek & Roman Horvath & Miroslav Plasil & Marek Rusnak & Borek Vasicek, 2013. "Transmission of Monetary Policy," Occasional Publications - Edited Volumes, Czech National Bank, Research Department, edition 1, volume 11, number rb11/1 edited by Jan Babecky & Roman Horvath.
    7. Kristýna Vltavská & Jaroslav Sixta, 2015. "A Historical View on the Development of Czech Economy from 1970," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2015(1), pages 105-122.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic growth; transition economies; real convergence; real GDP; GDP- and inflation mis-measurements;

    JEL classification:

    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies

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