Field adjustments in transition economies : social transfers and the efficiency of public spending - a comparison with OECD countries
Despite a dramatic shift away from subsidies in the early years of transition, the countries of Central Europe still show signs of unsuccessful fiscal adjustment, insufficient deficit reduction, and loose spending policy. High social transfers and low efficiency of government spending remain two challenges of fiscal adjustment and long-term sustainability of budgetary policy choices. A cross-country regression analysis shows that the problems with high social-security outlays are largely the result of loose eligibility criteria (many pensions go to early retirees) under current state pay-as-you-go pension systems - and not so much to old populations or high replacement rates. The authors suggest that transition economies should strive for a real social consensus on the reform of future pension rights. The transition to a funded pension system could be financed by a combination of: government debt; proceeds from privatization; and efficiency gains from lowering and/or restructuring government spending in favor of infrastructure, retraining, and market-oriented tertiary education.
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