Circumstance and choice : the role of initial conditions and policies in transition economies
The experience of countries in transition from a planned to a market-oriented economy has varied greatly. The clearest differences are between the East Asian countries, China and Vietnam, and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the former Soviet Union (FSU). China and Vietnam have contained inflation and benefited from continued high growth in GDP since the beginning of their reforms, while all CEE and FSU countries have experienced large declines in output, and most have experienced hyperinflation. But even in CEE and the FSU, differences are marked. Some countries have lost over half of their GDP, and growth performance in a number of countries is still poor, while others are growing strongly. Some are still suffering from high inflation while others have successfully reduced annual inflation. What determines this divergence of outcomes across transition countries? No study so far has analyzed the interaction of all factors, including initial conditions, political change, and reforms, in a unified framework including CEE, the FSU, China, and Vietnam. The authors examine these broader interactions, but focus first on the role of initial conditions, such as initial macroeconomic distortions and differences in economic structure and institutions, which have been emphasized less in the literature. They find that initial conditions and economic policy jointly determine the large differences in economic performance among the 28 transition economies in the sample. Initial conditions dominate in explaining inflation, but economic liberalization is the most important factor determining differences in growth. But reform policy choices are not exogenous. They depend, in turn, on both initial conditions and political reform, with political reform the most important determinant of the speed and comprehensiveness of economic liberalization. Other findings provide additional insight into these relationships. Results show that liberalization has a negative contemporaneous impact, but a stronger positive effect on performance over time. The results also show that macroeconomic and structural distortions are negatively related to both policy and performance. Regarding the former, unfavorable initial conditions discourage policy reforms but do not diminish their effectiveness once they are implemented. The authors find some evidence that the influence of initial conditions diminishes over time. This is in part because many of the initial conditions are themselves modified in the course of transition. Monetary overhangs are dissipated through inflation, industrial overhang is eroded as plants shut down, and market memory returns through experience.
|Date of creation:||31 Dec 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1997.
"Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change,"
ULB Institutional Repository
2013/9659, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1996. "Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, 05.
- Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997.
"Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies,"
Journal of African Economies,
Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-76, October.
- Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
- Moreno, Ramon & Trehan, Bharat, 1997.
" Location and the Growth of Nations,"
Journal of Economic Growth,
Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 399-418, December.
- Selowsky, Marcelo & Martin, Ricardo, 1997. "Policy Performance and Output Growth in the Transition Economies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 349-53, May.
- Ernesto HernÃ¡ndez-CatÃ¡, 1997. "Liberalization and the Behavior of Output During the Transition From Plan to Market," IMF Working Papers 97/53, International Monetary Fund.
- Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991.
"Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?,"
6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
- Murphy, Kevin M & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. "The Transition to a Market Economy: Pitfalls of Partial Reform," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 889-906, August.
- Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-46, September.
- Simon Johnson & Daniel Kaufman & Andrei Shleifer, 1997. "The Unofficial Economy in Transition," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(2), pages 159-240.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, .
"Understanding China'S Economic Performance,"
Department of Economics
97-04, California Davis - Department of Economics.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 1997. "Understanding China's Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1793, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 1997. "Understanding China's Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 5935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Easterly, William, 1991.
"Economic stagnation, fixed factors, and policy thresholds,"
Policy Research Working Paper Series
795, The World Bank.
- Easterly, William, 1994. "Economic stagnation, fixed factors, and policy thresholds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 525-557, June.
- Michael Bruno, 1992. "Stabilization and Reform in Eastern Europe: A Preliminary Evaluation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(4), pages 741-777, December.
- Peter Murrell, 1996. "How Far Has the Transition Progressed?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
- Ernesto HernÃ¡ndez-CatÃ¡, 1997. "Liberalization and the Behavior of Output during the Transition from Plan to Market," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(4), pages 405-429, December.
- Prakash Loungani & Nathan Sheets, 1995.
"Central bank independence, inflation and growth in transition economies,"
International Finance Discussion Papers
519, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Loungani, Prakash & Sheets, Nathan, 1997. "Central Bank Independence, Inflation, and Growth in Transition Economies," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(3), pages 381-99, August.
- Andrei Shleifer, 1996.
"Government in Transition,"
Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers
1783, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Blanchard, Olivier & Kremer, Michael R., 1997.
3659691, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Blanchard, O & Kremer, M, 1996. "Disorganization," Working papers 96-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Olivier Blanchard & Michael Kremer, 1997. "Disorganization," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 38, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
- Anders Åslund & Peter Boone & Simon Johnson, 1996. "How to Stabilize: Lessons from Post -communist Countries," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 27(1), pages 217-314.
- Stanley Fischer & Alan Gelb, 1991. "The Process of Socialist Economic Transformation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 91-105, Fall.
- Sachs, Jeffrey D, 1996. "The Transition at Mid Decade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 128-33, May.
- Fischer, Stanley & Sahay, Ratna & Vegh, Carlos A, 1996. "Economies in Transition: The Beginnings of Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 229-33, May.
- Tarr David G., 1994. "The Terms-of-Trade Effects of Moving to World Prices on Countries of the Former Soviet Union," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-24, February.
- Easterly, William & de Melo, Martha & Ofer, Gur & DEC, 1994. "Service as a major source of growth in Russia and other former Soviet states," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1292, The World Bank.
- Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1996. "Reforms in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union in Light of the East Asian Experiences," NBER Working Papers 5404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Brixiova, Zuzana & Kiyotaki, Nobuhiro, 1997. "Private sector development in transition economies," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 241-279, June.
- 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.
- Atish R. Ghosh, 1997. "Inflation in Transition Economies; How Much? and Why?," IMF Working Papers 97/80, International Monetary Fund.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1866. 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: (Roula I. Yazigi)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.