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Back to the Future: The Growth Prospects of Transition Economies Reconsidered

  • Nauro F. Campos

There are two strands in the empirical literature on economic growth in transition economies. One focuses on the impact of reforms, while the other emphasizes sustainability issues and the growth prospects these economies face. The most common strategy, in the latter, has been to use coefficients from growth regressions, on large samples of developing countries, and impose them on transition economies’ data to obtain projected growth rates. We refer to it as the BLR approach (because it uses specifications from Barro, and Levine and Renelt). We claim that the reported growth rates are suspiciously similar, painting an overly optimistic picture and yielding few policy lessons. We re-estimate the BLR equations for data on transition economies themselves and find that government expenditures have been positively associated and human capital has been negatively associated with output growth. These results contrast sharply with the assumptions and findings from the BLR approach, questioning its might and challenging our understanding of the transition process in its key dimension.

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Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp146.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp146
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  1. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Swaroop, Vinaya & Heng-fu, Zou, 1996. "The composition of public expenditure and economic growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 313-344, April.
  2. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1996. "Achieving Rapid Growth in the Transition Economies of Central Europe," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0073, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  3. Islam, Nazrul, 1995. "Growth Empirics: A Panel Data Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1127-70, November.
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  5. Fischer, Stanley & Sahay, Ratna & Vegh, Carlos, 1998. "How far is Eastern Europe from Brussels?," MPRA Paper 20059, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Nauro F. Campos & Abrizio Coricelli, 2002. "Growth in Transition: What We Know, What We Don't, and What We Should," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-836, September.
  7. Ratna Sahay & Jeromin Zettelmeyer & Eduardo Borensztein & Andrew Berg, 1999. "The Evolution of Output in Transition Economies; Explaining the Differences," IMF Working Papers 99/73, International Monetary Fund.
  8. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-63, September.
  9. Berta Heybey & Peter Murrell, 1999. "The relationship between economic growth and the speed of liberalization during transition," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 121-137.
  10. Denizer, Cevdet, 1997. "Stabilization, adjustment, and growth prospects in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1855, The World Bank.
  11. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. Gerd Schwartz & Ke-young Chu, 1994. "Output Decline and Government Expenditures in European Transition Economies," IMF Working Papers 94/68, International Monetary Fund.
  13. de Melo, Martha & Denizer, Cevdet & Gelb, Alan & Tenev, Stoyan, 1997. "Circumstance and choice : the role of initial conditions and policies in transition economies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1866, The World Bank.
  14. Jonathan Temple, 1999. "The New Growth Evidence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 112-156, March.
  15. Peter Montiel & Eduardo Borensztein, 1991. "Savings, Investment, and Growth in Eastern Europe," IMF Working Papers 91/61, International Monetary Fund.
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