IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

China in Light of the Performance of Central and East European Economies


  • Svejnar, Jan

    () (Columbia University)


While China shared many systemic, initial conditions with the transition economies of Central-East Europe (CEE) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it had a more agricultural economy and a more stable political-economic system than many CEE and CIS countries. Unlike most of the CEE and CIS economies, China adopted a strategy of gradual economic transformation that maintained the existing system and created new economic activities on top of it. This enabled China to avoid the transformation depression observed in CEE and CIS, and allowed it to generate high rates of economic growth that have now lasted for almost three decades. At the time of this study, the CEE and CIS economies have also completed a decade or more of respectable economic growth, demonstrating that numerous forms of the transition process can generate long term economic growth. In retrospect, the tradeoff for avoiding an initial depression appears to be the willingness to maintain most of the existing economic and political system rather than embarking on a rapid but incomplete economic and political transformation. With a rising economic instability and political pressure, countries such as Poland and the Soviet Union (CIS) had little choice but to proceed relatively fast. Others, such as East Germany and Czechoslovakia, could have retained the centrally planned system, but they abandoned it and communism rapidly for political reasons. Looking forward, the current situation is an optimistic one, with China, CIS and CEE belonging to the fastest growing regions of the world. It will be interesting to see whether all or only some of these models will turn out to be successful in the long run.

Suggested Citation

  • Svejnar, Jan, 2007. "China in Light of the Performance of Central and East European Economies," IZA Discussion Papers 2791, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2791

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Thesia I. Garner & Katherine Terrell, 1998. "A Gini decomposition analysis of inequality in the Czech and Slovak Republics during the transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 6(1), pages 23-46, May.
    3. Gérard Roland & Thierry Verdier, 1999. "Transition and the output fall," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28, March.
    4. Atkeson, Andrew & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1996. "Social Insurance and Transition," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(2), pages 377-401, May.
    5. Jan Svejnar, 1996. "Pensions in the Former Soviet Bloc: Problems and Solutions," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 14, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    6. Wei Li, 1999. "A Tale of Two Reforms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 120-136, Spring.
    7. Jan Svejnar, 2006. "Strategies for growth : Central and Eastern Europe," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 205-233.
    8. Lizal, Lubomir & Singer, Miroslav & Svejnar, Jan, 1997. "Enterprise Break-ups and Performance During the Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 1757, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Olivier Blanchard & Michael Kremer, 1997. "Disorganization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1091-1126.
    10. Jan Hanousek & Randall K. Filer, 2000. "Output Changes and Inflationary Bias in Transition," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp167, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    11. Dariusz K. Rosati, 1994. "Output decline during transition from plan to market: a reconsideration," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 2(4), pages 419-441, December.
    12. Svejnar, Jan, 1999. "Labor markets in the transitional Central and East European economies," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 42, pages 2809-2857 Elsevier.
    13. Tito Boeri & Katherine Terrell, 2002. "Institutional Determinants of Labor Reallocation in Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 51-76, Winter.
    14. Jeffry M. Netter & William L. Megginson, 2001. "From State to Market: A Survey of Empirical Studies on Privatization," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 321-389, June.
    15. Lubomír Lízal & Jan Svejnar, 2002. "Investment, Credit Rationing, And The Soft Budget Constraint: Evidence From Czech Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 353-370, May.
    16. Stepan Jurajda & Katherine Terrell, 2000. "Optimal Speed of Transition: Micro Evidence from the Czech Republic," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 355, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    17. Swati Basu & Saul Estrin & Jan Svejnar, 2005. "Employment Determination in Enterprises under Communism and in Transition: Evidence from Central Europe," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 353-369, April.
    18. Filer, Randall K. & Hanousek, Jan, 2002. "Survey-Based Estimates of Biases in Consumer Price Indices during Transition: Evidence from Romania," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 476-487, September.
    19. Alan Bevan & Saul Estrin & Mark E. Schaffer, 1999. "Determinants of Enterprise Performance during Transition," CERT Discussion Papers 9903, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
    20. Ham, John C & Svejnar, Jan & Terrell, Katherine, 1998. "Unemployment and the Social Safety Net during Transitions to a Market Economy: Evidence from the Czech and Slovak Republics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1117-1142, December.
    21. Randall K. Filer & Jan Hanousek, 2001. "Survey-based Estimates of Biases in Consumer Price Indices During," Econometrics 0106001, EconWPA.
    22. Simon Commander & Andrei Tolstopiatenko & Ruslan Yemtsov, 1999. "Channels of redistribution: Inequality and poverty in the Russian transition," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 7(2), pages 411-447, July.
    23. Jan Svejnar, 2002. "Transition Economies: Performance and Challenges," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
    24. Shirley, Mary & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "Public versus private ownership : the current state of the debate," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2420, The World Bank.
    25. Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2000. "The Great Human Capital Reallocation: An Empirical Analysis of Occupational Mobility in Transitional Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 309, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Brada, Josef C., 2016. "Corporate governance following mass privatization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 1132-1144.

    More about this item


    economic performance; transition economies; China;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • N1 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2791. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.