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Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Since 2000, Armenia's economic performance has been remarkable. Real economic growth has averaged 11 percent a year, annual inflation has averaged 3 percent, and poverty and inequality have fallen. The country has outperformed other low-income countries including other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is particularly impressive given the geographical location of Armenia, the closure of two critical borders, and occasional political turmoil. The key factors behind Armenia's economic performance are prudent monetary and fiscal policies, liberal trade and foreign exchange regimes, rapid and relaively well-sequenced structural reforms, and support from the Armenian diaspora. In addition, the implementation of a poverty reduction strategy since 2002 has complemented the effect of economic growth on reducing poverty. This book assesses the country's economic transformation during the last 10 years and discusses the challenges to sustaining these successes.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

This chapter reviews Armenia’s growth performance and poverty indicators since the early 1990s. It seeks to respond to the following four questions: What were the sources of growth? Can the recent rapid growth be sustained? How responsive was poverty reduction to economic growth? What is the minimum annual growth needed for Armenia to reach its poverty target by 2015? The analysis is based on a growth accounting exercise and the results of recent household surveys.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Armenia’s high growth rates over the past three years have been fueled by fast-growing exports, donor inflows, remittances, and FDI. Strong export-led growth is rather surprising in a country that lacks natural resources, has been subject to a trade blockade from two important neighbors, and has poor transportation routes. This chapter analyzes changes in Armenia’s trade patterns in recent years, the role of government policies, the success of the diamond industry, and the costs and consequences of the trade blockade.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Fiscal consolidation has been the cornerstone of Armenia’s successful stabilization. Between 1995 and 2000, the fiscal adjustment was primarily an expenditure-based phenomenon, and the quasi-fiscal sectors (energy, water, and irrigation) remained a major source of subsidies, arrears, and contingent liabilities. By 2000, Armenia still had a sizable fiscal deficit, a weak tax base, and a large stock of domestic and external expenditure arrears. Since 2001, the authorities have renewed their efforts to rein in lax expenditure controls and fiscal and quasi-fiscal deficits. From the point of view of fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic stability, these policies were remarkably successful. Fiscal deficits declined, debt sustainability indicators improved, and both domestic and external expenditure arrears were eliminated. Furthermore, the quasi-fiscal deficit was progressively reduced.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

This chapter contains an assessment of Armenia’s transition from a state-dominated economy to a market-oriented one during the past 10 years. It begins with a brief discussion of the economic background and continues with an analysis of the main reforms undertaken, the process of economic stabilization, and economic performance. The chapter revolves around three main issues: (1) Armenia’s strong economic performance compared to similar transition countries, especially since 2001; (2) the main factors behind the ignition of the growth process; and (3) the challenges to sustaining high rates of economic growth in the future.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

It is generally accepted that the financial system plays a pivotal role in economic development by mobilizing funds for investment projects with the highest probability of success. In fact, a well-functioning financial system is a key component of a modern economy, facilitating the exchange of goods and services, mobilizing savings, allocating scarce resources, mitigating market imperfections, and helping to diversify risks.44

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Despite geographical isolation, trade blockades, and occasional political upheaval, Armenia’s economic performance during the past four years has been remarkable. Growth has averaged nearly 12 percent and poverty has fallen. The country has become a reform leader among CIS countries. This performance reflects a combination of factors, namely a sustained commitment to macroeconomic stability, structural measures undertaken since the mid-1990s, minimal government intervention in the economy, a focus on poverty-reducing policies since 2002, and support from the Armenian diaspora. These factors led to higher domestic and foreign investment, improvements in competitiveness, and a market-driven process of import substitution.

Zsoka Koczan
Emerging Europe has undergone a major economic transformation over the past 25 years. Most countries experienced initial drops in output during transition, followed by recovery in the second half of the 1990s. The path of transition in the Western Balkans has however been particularly uneven. The effects of transition also seem to have been more traumatic and persistent in the Western Balkans, and nostalgia for the past appears to be more prevalent here than in other former communist regions. Such dissatisfaction has important implications for the political economy of further reforms. This paper aims to inform policy by complementing the analysis of standard macro-level measures of inequality and poverty with a household-level analysis of subjective perceptions of poverty. We find that many more people appear to feel poor than are classified as such using purely income-based measures. Uncertainty, in particular related to expectations of future income and vulnerability to shocks, appears to be a key driver behind this discrepancy.
Caroline Van Rijckeghem

Authors of Working Papers are normally staff members of the Fund or consultants, although on occasion outside authors may collaborate with a staff member in writing a paper. The views expressed in the Working Papers or their summaries are, however, those of the authors and should not necessarily be interpreted as representing the views of the Fund. Copies of individual Working Papers and information on subscriptions to the annual series of Working Papers may be obtained from IMF Publication Services, International Monetary Fund, 700 19th Street, Washington, D.C. 20431. Telephone: (202) 623-7430 Telefax: (202) 623-7201 This compilation of summaries of Working Papers released during July-December 1994 is being issued as a part of the Working Paper series. It is designed to provide the reader with an overview of the research work performed by the staff during the period.