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Economic Transition in Central and Eastern Europe: Comparisons and Lessons

Leszek Balcerowicz

Australian Economic Review, 1994, vol. 27, issue 1, 47-59

Abstract: Abstract There are three features which distinguish the global transition in Central and Eastern Europe: both economic and political systems are the focus of radical transformation, this institutional revolution has been largely peaceful, and a pluralistic political system emerged faster than capitalism in the economic sphere. The initial conditions, for example the inherited economic structure, the macroeconomic situation and the type of economic system, have an important impact upon the pace and effects of the subsequent market‐oriented reform. There are four important reasons why the state should concentrate its activity on the sphere of its natural competence. These reasons are even more important in economies of transition. The speed of the subordinate processes of transition differs which gives rise to important issues of phasing. Macroeconomic stabilisation, microeconomic liberalisation and privatisation should be implemented at a speed close to maximum. The Polish economic reform shows that a radical and comprehensive economic program introduced in an initially socialist economy, under extremely difficult macroeconomic conditions, can be successful in spite of powerful external shocks.

Date: 1994
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