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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper provides a brief overview of Slovakia’s transformation over this period. The note is divided into three parts. The first section offers some historical background on the run-up to EU accession. The paper also discusses the economic impact of EU accession and highlights the main challenges that Slovakia still faces. Although the first decade in the EU has seen successes, Slovakia faces important challenges to consolidate its position and close the gap with more advanced economies. A first long-term challenge is to shift from efficiency to an innovation-driven growth model. Actions to improve the business environment and domestic infrastructure could lay the foundations for stronger and more job-rich growth. In Slovakia, the high unemployment rate reflects the faulty working of three key mechanisms: the transition from school to work; the transition from unemployment back to employment; and mobility across regions. In order to address this situation, wide-ranging policies need to be implemented. The quality of education and training needs to be improved in order to better correspond to labor market needs. The ongoing reform of vocational education and training is a step in the right direction.
Mr. Torsten M Sloek and Mr. Peter F. Christoffersen
There is ample empirical evidence for developed economies that asset prices contain information about future economic developments. But is this also the case in transition economies? Using a panel of monthly data for the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Slovenia for the period 1994-1999 it is shown that historical values for interest rates, exchange rates, and stock prices signal future movements in real economic activity. This result has significant implications for policymakers, and a composite leading indicator based on the three asset prices is presented, which contains information about the future development of economic activity.
Mr. Ales Bulir
This paper examines credit origins of the business cycle in the former Czechoslovakia. Industrial production is found to be cointegrated with various measures of bank credit during 1976-90 and it is shown that noninvestment credits are Granger-causing industrial production and that a feedback relation exists between investment credits and industrial production. Although the potency of credit supply shocks to industrial production has been changing, production decline (growth) seems to follow credit tightening (loosening). However, the paper confirms that credit shocks were only a minor part of the output decline in 1989-90.
Mr. Eduardo Borensztein and Mr. Jonathan David Ostry
A consistent set of disaggregated industrial output data for four Eastern European countries is examined In order to determine the extent to which structural adjustment has taken place since the initiation of market-oriented reform. The latter created a massive relative price shock whose affects on the structure of the industrial sectors of these economies is shown to have been relatively small, at least one to two years after the reforms. An implication is that one argument in favor of more gradualist reform—based on the premise that more gradualism implies a smaller output cost in the short run—is questionable. By and large in these economies, the output cost associated with the removal of relative price distortions may still have to be faced.
Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, Mr. Eduardo Borensztein, and Mr. Dimitri G Demekas
This paper analyzes the declines in economic activity experienced by Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR), and Romania in the period since the initiation of market-oriented reforms in these countries. The paper reviews developments in the three countries and empirically investigates two questions that are key to the interpretation of the output decline: First, to what extent does the output fall reflect “structural change” (or a reallocation of resources across sectors) rather than a conventional recession? Second, to what extent have demand-side or supply-side forces been dominant in generating the output decline?