Ms. Ratna Sahay, Mr. Jeromin Zettelmeyer, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Andrew Berg
What are the relative roles of macroeconomic variables, structural policies, and initial conditions in explaining the time path of output in transition and the large observed differences in output performance across transition economies? Using a sample of 26 countries, this paper follows a general-to-specific modeling approach that allows for differential effects of policies and initial conditions on the private and state sectors and for time-dependent effects of initial conditions. While showing some fragility to model specification, the results point to the preeminence of structural reforms over both initial conditions and macroeconomic variables in explaining cross-country differences in performance and the timing of the recovery.
This paper looks at the progress in transition and the geographic diversification of trade, focusing on two issues--the degree of trade openness and trade integration--for a sample of countries in transition. It concludes that about half of the group of countries sampled are becoming as open as similar market economies, but that many others remain relatively closed. Geographic diversification (to the European Union) is found to be greater the closer is geographic proximity and the more advanced the country is with reforms. The analysis is then extended, in an illustrative way, to show how much larger would be the share of exports to the EU if structural reforms were more ambitious.