Growth and Regional Development in an Enlarged European Union
Edited by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner
Chapter 8: Structural change and catching up: the experience of the ten candidate countries
8. Structural change and catching up: the experience of the ten candidate countries János Gács 8.1. INTRODUCTION1 The transformation of former centrally planned economies since the late 1980s was tantamount to perpetual and simultaneous structural shifts in these economies. If one were to classify these structural changes based on the factors that triggered them the following three main classes could be distinguished: ● ● ● First we should refer to the systemic changes that opened new opportunities for the actors in the economy, particularly through liberalization (of economic activities in general, including entry to markets, engaging in foreign trading, price formation) and the establishment of basic institutions of the market, or marketization (including privatization of state-owned enterprises). The structural changes then were the outcome of the ensuing adjustments to the new opportunities and constraints, an endogenous process steered by the emerging incentives in the new environment. These incentive structures were assumed to be similar to those prevailing in developed market economies; however, by now we know that in addition to the traditional market incentives, the transition period also oﬀered unique, peculiar incentives. The evolution of the growth process has also left its trace on the structure of the economy through the pattern of uneven growth and decline of sectors. The ﬁrst phase of this process was the painful shock of the transformational recession; this was followed by the recovery, which gradually transforms to the process of real convergence toward the level of developed market economies. Choices and policy decisions by...
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