Economic Growth and Cycles in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia: A comparison with Spain, Austria and other EU countries, 1950-2002
We present an international comparison of economic development of 5 Central European countries, with special reference to Poland and Hungary, with some European Union Countries for the period 1950-2002. We analyse different stages of their evolution: 1) In 1950-60 the evolution of production per inhabitant and rates of growth of this variable, in comparison with Spain, where very alike. 2) In 1960-75 the differences increased dramatically in favour of Spain. 3) In 1975-85 the differences diminished with a better performance of Hungary in comparison with Poland. 4) In 1985-91 the differences in the evolution of economic development increased again in favour of Spain. 5) Since 1991 to 2002 the evolution of these Central European countries generally improved and their rates of growth were more similar to those of Spain. We analyse the main factors that have explained the lower average rate of growth of production per inhabitant in Central Europe as a whole in comparison with Spain, Austria and other EU countries. We focus on human capital, manufacturing capacity, foreign trade and other relevant factors of production, mainly from a supply side approach. We also analyse the differences among Central European countries, outstanding the special case of Slovenia, country which has reached a position very similar to that of Spain in the level of income per inhabitant.
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