IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Managing the transition : enhancing the efficiency of Eastern European governments


  • Rice, Eric


The transition to a market economy in Eastern Europe requires eliminating some institutions and practices and introducing new agencies with new goals, staffed by people with different attitudes and behavior. After interviewing 42 World Bank experts and other experts in the donor and academic communities, the author synthesizes their views on World Bank member countries in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia): Giving a broad-brush overview of what is known about capacity constraints in key public institutions involved in the transition. Identifying current and proposed actions of the World Bank and other donors. Indicating critical institutional issues on which future operational work and research might focus. The author finds that a consensus has emerged on five principles that establish the socially acceptable domain for government economic activity in Eastern Europe: (1) Retreat from the discredited central government, as subnational governments and private enterprises assume many functions of central government. (2) Improved channels of communication between governments and their citizens, in response to increasing demand for more transparent policy and an institutionalized voice for the public in policymaking. (3) A hospitable business environment, which means clarification of property rights; policy stability, consistency, and accountability; low-cost provision of government services and infrastructure; and the protection of agents from abuses in the marketplace. (4) Concern for public welfare and social justice, as citizens of post-communist Eastern Europe hope to obtain both the familiar basic securities (job security, subsidized consumption, and universal access to basic health care and education) as well as new rights and freedoms. (5) Efficient government administration at all levels, under the scrutiny ofelected legislatures, citizens groups, and internal audit and review agencies. The author identifies five areas in which external institutional assistance is needed: (1) policy advice on a range of issues; (2) more in-depth technical assistance; (3) a large-scale training effort to help close Eastern Europe's massive skills gap in economics and business; (4) diagnostic research; and (5) the design of broad, medium-term action plans. For each of these issues, the author describes numerous measures to be pursued.

Suggested Citation

  • Rice, Eric, 1991. "Managing the transition : enhancing the efficiency of Eastern European governments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 757, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:757

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glenn Jenkins, 1991. "Tax Policy Issues In Emerging Market Economies," Development Discussion Papers 1991-07, JDI Executive Programs.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Erzan, Refik & Holmes, Christopher & Safadi, Raed, 1992. "How changes in the former CMEA area may affect international trade in manufactures," Policy Research Working Paper Series 973, The World Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:757. 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). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.