Bridging “the Great Divide”: Countering Financial Repression in Transition
The large and widening gap between economic performance in Eastern European transition economies and those of the former Soviet Union has been dubbed “the Great Divide” by Berglof and Bolton (2002). This paper provides a rationale for the gap based upon the concept of financial repression. The magnified effects of transition to the market can be attributed to the government manipulation of financial markets in these countries, with the divide defined by the length of time that governments relied upon financial-market manipulation to finance government fiscal policy. Policies undertaken to assist in financing government expenditures caused financial repression and financial fragmentation, to use the terms introduced by McKinnon (1973). After an introductory section, I introduce a theoretical model of real and financial sectors in transition. The dynamic path to equilibrium from transition is derived. It is shown to have a tendency toward output contraction and hyperinflation when government policies promote financial repression. In the third section this hypothesis is examined with macroeconomic data from Ukraine for the period 1992 - 2001. These data are consistent with the hypothesis, although other factors (e.g., recession in trading partners) are also shown to be important.
|Date of creation:||02 May 2002|
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