The convergence dream 25 years on – half of the former communist countries did not converge to advanced EU countries from 1989-2014

BlogDarvas Zsolt

The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall was widely celebrated – rightly so. The fall of communism opened the way for democracy, personal freedoms, security, lawfulness, fairness and economic efficiency, among others. The transition also raised hopes that the economies might converge to western Europe in income per capita. Such hopes were supported by efficiency gains related to the transformation to market economies, institutional development, the western-focused integration process and microeconomic factors such as the intellectual skills of the labour force, entrepreneurial abilities, and the capacity to accommodate new knowledge and technologies.

After the dramatic economic collapse during the first years of transition, all countries in the region closed their income gaps relative to main trading partners, as documented by an IMF report. Yet as my colleague Marek Dabrowski warned some weeks ago, convergence in the 2000s has halted or even reversed since the global financial and economic crisis erupted, and there are questions about the future growth prospects of the region. >>> Read the full text on the site of Bruegel

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