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.
Key medium– and longer–term fiscal issues faced by transition economies are reviewed, including government solvency and the sustainability of the fiscal–financial–monetary program. The paper aims to assist the design and implementation of future Fund programs and to contribute to the debate about fiscal policy in transition economies. After presenting a framework for evaluating the sustainability of the fiscal–financial–monetary program of the state, some numerical material is presented on public debt, (quasi–) fiscal deficits and monetary financing. Eight budgetary issues of special relevance to transition economies are considered next. The lessons from this study are summarized in a number of propositions.
The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.