Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Eastern Europe

WB Report on Demographics in Russia and Eastern Europe - Getting it Right this Time?

The demographics of the Eastern Eurpean acession countries and Russia has been a recurring topic here at DM. Recently, I had a note up on the nature of the economic convergence/catch-up process which I hypothesized would be affected by the fact that the demographic transition in Eastern Europe has moved far beyond the process of economic development. More pertinent in the context of the immediate reference at hand I also had a note up some time ago responding to a World Bank report on migration and remittance flows in Eastern Europe, former Soviet Asia and the CIS. At that time, I was rather critical towards the World Bank report mainly because it did not seem to take into account the general demographic situation in the region as well as the fact that it failed to take into account the obvious (especially in some countries) relative human capital implications of remittance flows.
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Catching Up?

One of the most fundamental assumptions on economic growth in the long-run is idea of convergence or catch-up growth. This is a process by which developing economies countries grow faster than their developed counterparts. The nature of this convergence process which should be seen in the context of neo-classical economics (new growth theory) depends on the overall assumptions of scale economies built into the models. This entry will not go into this in much detail but rather home-in on the case of the Eastern European transition economies, often also referred to as the lynx economies alluding to their comparison with the Asian tigers.
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Migration in Eastern Europe - Getting it Right?

Earlier this week the World Bank published a large report on migration and remittances flows in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The report is interesting to read and most importantly in my opinion it fields a very impressive dataset on the importance of remittances flow from emigrants towards Eastern Europe in terms of the general macroeconomic environment. However, the report has some weaknesses and some sadly some notable ones which also why I saw the need to pick on the report a few days ago over at GEM. But also the Eastern Europe correspondent at The Economist Edward Lucas directs a critique of the WB report in the latest Europe.View column.
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Belarus and Demography

Belarus is of course in the news this weekend. It is mainly in the news for the fact that its leader - Alexander Lukashenko - is described by the United States as Europe’s last dictator, and for the fact that despite this (or perhaps because of it) he appears to have won around 90% of the vote in yesterday's elections, amid the cries of 'foul' from a significant and ever more vocal group of internal opponents.
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Eastern Europe Moves West?

Today, May 1, Spain, Portugal and Finland join Britain, Ireland and Sweden in ending all restrictions on movement of workers from new EU member states.In some ways, as this AP article suggests, this is a historic moment, since for many young peoplethe gradual labor market liberalization has meant opportunities their parents' generation could hardly have imagined.:

"Some of the workers benefiting from the lifting of labor restrictions are so young they lose sight of the historic change this marks for Poles, Lithuanians, Czechs and the others who, until 16 years ago, were trapped behind the Iron Curtain and banned from traveling freely to the West".
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Eastern workers yesterday and tomorrow - but never today.

Germany will today decide to block Eastern workers for at least three more years. If this goes through it will put a damper on immigration.

The conservative-social democrat government in Berlin is voting, on 21 March 2006, to exclude workers from eight Central European countries from its labour market until 2009.
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The Moldovan exodus

The final results of the marginally controversial 2004 Moldovan census have been released. It's official: The Moldovan population has fallen from more than 4.3 million people in 1989, to just 3.4 million in 2004 excluding the separatist Transnistria area in the east, rising to a bit under 3.8 million if one includes Transnistria's resident population. Moldova has shared in the fertility collapses and mortality increases that have beset most of post-Communist Europe, though less so than most. Although the country has a falling and below-replacement fertility rate, judging by the figures provided Moldovan women are about as likely to bear children as their Dutch or Swedish counterparts, while Moldovan birth rates are still--barely--higher than Moldovan death rates.
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The Szeklers and the Magyars: A doomed relationship?

When Romania joins the European Union in 2007-2008, it will bring with it one of the largest national minorities in Europe, the roughly one and a half million Magyars of Transylvania. The Magyars are a people whose 20th century history has been defined in reaction to the dissolution of the Kingdom of Hungary after the First World War and the transfer of a quarter of the Kingdom's ethnically Magyar population to other successor states of Austria-Hungary, to what are now the modern nation-states of Slovakia, Serbia, and Romania. After Meciar's post-independence nationalism, Slovakia's Magyars have gained recognition and official status. The situation of the Magyars of Serbia, living in the relatively prosperous northern province of Vojvodina, is more tenuous, aggravated by Serbia's reluctance to leave the criminalized ultranationalism of the past behind. What happens to the Magyars of Transylvania, an old Magyar principality that is even now home to half of the Magyar population in central Europe outside of modern Hungary, is critical.
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More about the European lynx economies

A week ago I reported on the EU-8's impressive economic performance. My post was based on an article in The Economist by Edward Lucas, the magazine´s eastern and central European correspondent who happens to have his own blog.

For some elaborated studys of the EU-8 (The Chech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia) go see the two reports mentioned below.
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