Investment, Financial Markets, New Economy Dynamics and Growth in Transition Countries

The transition to a market economy in the former CMEA area is more than a decade old and one can clearly distinguish a group of relatively fast growing countries — including Estonia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovenia — and a majority of slowly growing economies, including Russia and the Ukraine. Initial problems of transition were natural in the sense that systemic transition to a market economy has effectively destroyed part of the existing capital stock that was no longer profitable under the new relative prices imported from world markets; and there was a transitory inflationary push as low state-administered prices were replaced by higher market equilibrium prices. Indeed, systemic transformation in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have brought serious transitory inflation problems and a massive transition recession; negative growth rates have continued over many years in some countries, including Russia and the Ukraine, where output growth was negative throughout the 1990s (except for Russia, which recorded slight growth in 1997). For political and economic reasons the economic performance of Russia is of particular relevance for the success of the overall transition process. If Russia would face stagnation and instability, this would undermine political and economic stability in the whole of Europe and prospects for integrating Russia into the world economy.

01. January 2004

Authors Albrecht Kauffmann P. J. J. Welfens

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