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The Polish Growth Miracle: Outcome of Persistent Reform Efforts

  • Lehmann, Hartmut

    ()

    (University of Bologna)

Since the beginning of transition in 1990 from a centrally planned to a market oriented economy, the performance of Poland’s economy has been outstanding if we take GDP growth as our measure. It is not specific reforms that can explain this performance but the radical (“big bang”) reforms at the beginning of transition in conjunction with persistent efforts during the two decades by all governments to keep on a reform path, no matter what their political orientation. Reforming a centrally planned economy that has very serious macroeconomic disequilibria requires reforms that can be done immediately but also structural or systemic reforms that require years to implement. Both types of reforms will be discussed. In a democratic context reforms can only be undertaken in a sustained way if a majority of voters favours such reform efforts. Even when reform-friendly governments were voted out of office, the new governments in Poland never reversed reforms undertaken by the previous government. This continuous reform stance over two decades is the main cause of the Polish growth miracle. The reasons for the ability of Polish policy makers to pursue economic and administrative reforms in spite of short-run costs to large sections of society will be discussed extensively.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Policy Papers with number 40.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp40
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  1. G�rard Roland, 2002. "The Political Economy of Transition," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 29-50, Winter.
  2. Jakubowski, Maciej & Patrinos, Harry Anthony & Porta, Emilio Ernesto & Wisniewski, Jerzy, 2010. "The impact of the 1999 education reform in Poland," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5263, The World Bank.
  3. Gomulka, Stanislaw, 1992. "Polish Economic Reform, 1990-91: Principles, Policies and Outcomes," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 355-72, September.
  4. Kornai, Janos, 1986. "The Hungarian Reform Process: Visions, Hopes, and Reality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 1687-1737, December.
  5. R. Rovelli & A. Zaiceva, 2011. "Individual support for economic and political changes: Evidence from transition countries, 1991-2004," Working Papers wp736, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Boeri, Tito & Garibaldi, Pietro, 2006. "Are labour markets in the new member states sufficiently flexible for EMU?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1393-1407, May.
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