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Field adjustments in transition economies : social transfers and the efficiency of public spending - a comparison with OECD countries

  • Fakin, Barbara
  • de Crombrugghe, Alain

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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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1803.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1997
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1803
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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Luca Barbone & Domenico J. Marchetti, 1995. "Transition and the Fiscal Crisis in Central Europe," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0040, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  3. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  4. Breyer, Friedrich & Straub, Martin, 1993. "Welfare effects of unfunded pension systems when labor supply is endogenous," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 77-91, January.
  5. Newbery, David M G, 1995. "Tax and Benefit Reform in Central and Eastern Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1167, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Luca Barbone & Hana Polackova, 1996. "Public Finances and Economic Transition," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0068, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  7. Paul Cashin, 1995. "Government Spending, Taxes, and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 42(2), pages 237-269, June.
  8. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew M. Warner, 1996. "Achieving Rapid Growth in the Transition Economies of Central Europe," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0073, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  9. Burgess, Robin & Stern, Nicholas, 1993. "Taxation and Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 762-830, June.
  10. Marek Dabrowski, 1996. "Fiscal Crisis in the Transformation Period: Trends, Stylized Facts and Some Conceptual Problems," CASE Network Studies and Analyses 0072, CASE-Center for Social and Economic Research.
  11. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
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