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European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

European Economic Integration and South-East Europe

Challenges and Prospects

Edited by Klaus Liebscher, Josef Christl, Peter Mooslechner and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald

With both transition dynamics and the EU integration process having shifted to the south-east of Europe, a region fairly marginalized in the literature, this book fills a gap by taking stock of where South-East Europe’s economies and institutions stood in 2004. The authors evaluate the potential for investment and growth within the South-East European region, including the role of trade and FDI, and discuss the challenges associated with unemployment, poverty and ‘brain drain’. The book also provides insights into the particular monetary and exchange rate policies applied, including cases of ‘euroization’, and finally makes an assessment, against this background, of the European perspective of the countries of South-East Europe.

Chapter 17: Poverty, migration and employment in South-East Europe: what can the data tell us?

Robert Holzmann

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Robert Holzmann INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY1 The purpose of this chapter is to provide the empirical foundations of the development in poverty, migration and employment in the countries of South-East Europe (SEE, consisting of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Romania and Serbia and Montenegro). While the availability of these important but sensitive data in the countries of this region has improved, data coverage across these countries and over time is still lagging behind that of other (former) transition economies in the north. Nevertheless, the available data and fragmented evidence suggest the following broad conclusions: first, the region was hit by two largely parallel shocks – transition crisis and the conflicts around the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia – the impact of which is visible in the development of GDP and other indicators. Compared to their peers to the north, who are by now all members of the EU, the fall was deeper and the recovery thus far weaker. Only since 2001 has the real GDP growth rate of SEE exceeded the growth rate of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltics (CEB). Within SEE, only Albania was able to surpass its early-1990s GDP level, although it began from a low (per capita) level. Second, poverty has increased during the long years of transition largely due to the fall in output as there is little evidence for a major increase in income inequality. Since the late 1990s, however, poverty seems to have decreased in parallel to the recovery in output, and...

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