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EU accession: A road to fast-track convergence?


  • Uwe Böwer
  • Alessandro Turrini


This paper investigates the accession-related economic boom in the countries which recently entered the European Union. The analysis tests whether, on top of the standard growth determinants, the period of EU accession made a significant difference to the growth performance of the New Member States (NMS). The paper finds that the period of EU accession is characterised by significantly larger growth rates of per-capita GDP, even after controlling for a wide range of economic and institutional factors. This effect is robust and particularly strong for countries with relatively low initial income levels, weak institutional quality and less advanced financial development, suggesting that EU accession has been speeding up the catching-up process and improved the institutions of the laggards among the NMS. The prospect of EU membership which has triggered large capital inflows seems to have fostered economic growth of those NMS with lower degrees of financial depth.

Suggested Citation

  • Uwe Böwer & Alessandro Turrini, 2009. "EU accession: A road to fast-track convergence?," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 393, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:ecopap:0393

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chinn, Menzie D. & Prasad, Eswar S., 2003. "Medium-term determinants of current accounts in industrial and developing countries: an empirical exploration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 47-76, January.
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    3. Peter L. Rousseau & Paul Wachtel, 2011. "What Is Happening To The Impact Of Financial Deepening On Economic Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(1), pages 276-288, January.
    4. Jesus Crespo Cuaresma & Doris Ritzberger-Grunwald & Maria Antoinette Silgoner, 2008. "Growth, convergence and EU membership," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(5), pages 643-656.
    5. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    6. Garbis Iradian, 2007. "Rapid Growth in the CIS; Panel Regression Approach," IMF Working Papers 07/170, International Monetary Fund.
    7. Maria L. Di Tommaso & Martin Raiser & Melvyn Weeks, 2007. "Home Grown or Imported? Initial Conditions, External Anchors and the Determinants of Institutional Reform in the Transition Economies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 858-881, April.
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    10. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Lendvai & Werner Roeger, 2010. "External deficits in the Baltics 1995 to 2007: Catching up or imbalances," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 398, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    2. Kosta Josifidis & Radmila Dragutinović Mitrović & Olgica Ivančev, 2012. "Heterogeneity of Growth in the West Balkans and Emerging Europe: A Dynamic Panel Data Model Approach," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 59(2), pages 157-183, May.

    More about this item


    Economic growth; EU accession; new member states; convergence; Böwer; Turrini; European Economy. Economic Papers;

    JEL classification:

    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration

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