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Real convergence in central, eastern and south-eastern Europe

Piotr Żuk, Éva Katalin Polgár, Li Savelin, Juan Luis Diaz del Hoyo and Paul König

Economic Bulletin Articles, 2018, vol. 3

Abstract: This article establishes stylised facts about convergence and analyses the sources of economic growth in central, eastern and south-eastern European (CESEE) economies within and outside the European Union (EU).22 It also compares the performance across countries and identifies the challenges that these economies face on the way to further advancing convergence. Although all CESEE economies have converged towards the most advanced EU economies since 2000, progress has been heterogeneous. While some countries have experienced fast economic growth and a speedy catching-up, for others the catching-up process has been rather slow. Economic convergence has been much faster in the CESEE countries that became members of the EU (including those which later joined the euro area) than in the Western Balkan countries that are currently EU candidates or potential candidates. Convergence was particularly rapid before the global financial crisis, but slowed down thereafter. The article identifies several factors that are common to the most successful countries in the region in terms of the pace of convergence since 2000. These include (inter alia) improvements in institutional quality, external competitiveness and innovation, increases in trade openness, high or improving levels of human capital, and relatively high investment rates. Looking ahead, accelerating and sustaining convergence in the region will require further efforts to enhance institutional quality and innovation, reinvigorate investment, and address the adverse impact of population ageing. For EU candidates and potential candidates, EU accession prospects might constitute an anchor for reform momentum – in particular, but not exclusively, in the key area of enhancing institutional quality – and thus support the long-term growth prospects and real convergence of these countries. JEL Classification: E01, F15, O11, O43, O47

Keywords: CESEE countries; drivers economic growth; real convergence (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-05
Note: 1998795
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