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Structural Change, Productivity and Employment in the New EU Member States


  • Peter Havlik

    () (The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw)


This paper provides an overview of longer-term structural developments in the new EU Member States from Central and Eastern Europe (NMS). It analyses structural changes in the NMS' economies and patterns of productivity catching-up both at macro level and within the individual industries. With the transformational recession of the early 1990s left behind, the majority of the NMS embarked on a path of rapid economic growth during the past decade. They have experienced an impressive productivity catching-up, both at the macroeconomic level and in the manufacturing industry in particular. Yet in most NMS the growth of labour productivity went hand in hand with declining employment, and even with considerable job losses in the manufacturing industry. The structural changes observed during the past decade brought the NMS' economies nearer to the economic structure observed in the EU-15, but the shifts of labour among individual sectors or industries themselves did not have any marked impact on aggregate productivity growth. Similar to the EU-15, the recent productivity catching-up observed in the NMS resulted overwhelmingly from across-the-board productivity improvements in individual sectors of the economy while employment shifts among sectors had only a negligible effect on aggregate productivity growth. Notwithstanding fast productivity catching-up, the estimated productivity levels indicate that NMS are in this respect still lagging considerably behind the EU 15 economies, implying a huge catching-up potential. The estimated elasticity of employment to production growth is low in all NMS; the recently observed and expected rates of economic growth will in all likelihood not be sufficient for the creation of additional jobs. The required further productivity convergence with the EU-15 may thus be in conflict with the urgently needed employment growth in the NMS; net job creation occurred in just a few services sectors and could not offset the job losses in agriculture and industry. Countries covered Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania Topics Labour and Migration; International Trade and Competitiveness; Industry

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Havlik, 2005. "Structural Change, Productivity and Employment in the New EU Member States," wiiw Research Reports 313, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  • Handle: RePEc:wii:rpaper:rr:313

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gabor Hunya, 2002. "Recent Impacts of Foreign Direct Investment on Growth and Restructuring in Central European Transition Countries," wiiw Research Reports 284, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    2. Fagerberg, Jan, 2000. "Technological progress, structural change and productivity growth: a comparative study," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 393-411, December.
    3. Joze P. Damijan & Mark Knell & Boris Majcen & Matija Rojec, 2003. "Technology Transfer through FDI in Top-10 Transition Countries: How Important are Direct Effects, Horizontal and Vertical Spillovers?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 549, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
    4. Peter Havlik, 2003. "Restructuring of manufacturing industry in the central and east european countries," Prague Economic Papers, University of Economics, Prague, vol. 2003(1).
    5. Timmer, Marcel P. & Szirmai, Adam, 2000. "Productivity growth in Asian manufacturing: the structural bonus hypothesis examined," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 371-392, December.
    6. Tatyana P. Soubbotina & Katherine A. Sheram, 2000. "Beyond Economic Growth : Meeting the Challenges of Global Development," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15789.
    7. Hermine Vidovic, 2002. "The Services Sectors in Central and Eastern Europe," wiiw Research Reports 289, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    8. Karl Aiginger & Michael Landesmann, 2002. "Competitive Economic Performance: USA versus EU," wiiw Research Reports 291, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    9. Anita W├Âlfl, 2004. "Productivity Growth in Services Industries: Is There a Role for Measurement?," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 8, pages 66-80, Spring.
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    More about this item


    structural change; economic growth; productivity; employment; EU enlargement;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F43 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance - - - Economic Growth of Open Economies
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies


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