IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Circumstance and choice : the role of initial conditions and policies in transition economies

  • de Melo, Martha
  • Denizer, Cevdet
  • Gelb, Alan
  • Tenev, Stoyan

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/1997/12/01/000009265_3980313101838/Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1866.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 31 Dec 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1866
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page: http://www.worldbank.org/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. 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.
  2. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1996. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Papers 545, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  3. Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
  4. Andrei Shleifer, 1996. "Government in Transition," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1783, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Wing Thye Woo, 2000. "Understanding china's economic performance," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-50.
  6. Ernesto Hernández-Catá, 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Moreno, Ramon & Trehan, Bharat, 1997. " Location and the Growth of Nations," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 399-418, December.
  9. Easterly, William, 1994. "Economic stagnation, fixed factors, and policy thresholds," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 525-557, June.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1997. "Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/9659, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. 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.
  17. Blanchard, Olivier & Kremer, Michael R., 1997. "Disorganization," Scholarly Articles 3659691, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. Michael Bruno, 1992. "Stabilization and Reform in Eastern Europe: A Preliminary Evaluation," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 39(4), pages 741-777, December.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Peter Murrell, 1996. "How Far Has the Transition Progressed?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 25-44, Spring.
  23. 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.
  24. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
  25. Ernesto Hernández-Catá, 1997. "Liberalization and the Behavior of Output During the Transition From Plan to Market," IMF Working Papers 97/53, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Sachs, Jeffrey D, 1996. "The Transition at Mid Decade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 128-33, May.
  27. 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.
  28. Atish R. Ghosh, 1997. "Inflation in Transition Economies; How Much? and Why?," IMF Working Papers 97/80, International Monetary Fund.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

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 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.