NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Transition Economies After Ten Years

Stanley Fischer, Ratna Sahay

NBER Working Paper No. 7664
Issued in April 2000
NBER Program(s):   EFG   IFM

While output declined in virtually all transition economies in the initial years, the speed and extent of the recovery that followed has varied widely across these countries. The contrast between the more and less successful transitions, the latter largely in the former Soviet Union, raises many questions about the relative roles played by adverse initial conditions, external factors, and reform strategies. This paper summarizes the macroeconomic performance of the transition economies. We first review the initial conditions confronting these economies, the reform strategy that was proposed, and the associated controversies that arose a decade ago. We then account for the widely different outcomes, highlighting the role of exogenous factors and the macroeconomic and structural policies adopted by the countries. We find that both stabilization policies and structural reforms, particularly privatization, contributed to the growth recovery. We also conclude that the faster is the speed of reforms, the quicker is the recovery and the higher is growth.

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Published: Orlowski, Lucjan T. (ed.) Transition and growth in post-communist countries: The ten-year experience. Cheltenham, U.K. and Northampton, Mass.: Elgar, 2001.

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