The Savings Collapse During the Transition in Eastern Europe

14 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Cevdet Denizer

Cevdet Denizer

Center for Economics and Econometrics; World Bank

Holger C. Wolf

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS)

Date Written: August 2000

Abstract

The transition economies of Eastern Europe almost uniformly experienced a precipitous plunge in savings rates - from levels above 30 percent of GDP to levels about half that - early in the transition, before rebounding slightly. Did savings collapse because involuntary savings were eliminated (when goods became available for purchase) or because of a change in equilibrium savings, reflecting the changed economic circumstances and long-term prospects?

Denizer and Wolf assess the presence and extent of involuntary savings by comparing the predicted savings rates of market economies with those of the pre-transition economies. On balance, predicted savings rates fell short of actual savings rates, especially for the former Soviet Union and the Baltics - providing some support for the notion of excessive pre-transition savings.

Comparing the savings behavior of market economies and transition economies, they found substantial similarities, except for a negative link between savings and GDP growth. As the fastest-growing transition economies are at the bottom of the adjustment J-curve, the finding is consistent with consumption smoothing.

Finally, they explored whether differences in the extent of economic liberalization affected savings rates in the cross-section of transition economies. They found that liberalization is associated with lower savings, with a one-year lag. To the extent that liberalization is perceived as an indicator of likely future growth, this behavior is consistent with smoothing in the face of a J-curve change in output.

This paper - a product of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Sector Unit, Europe and Central Asia Region - is part of a larger effort in the region to understand the determinants of savings during the transition to a market economy. Cevdet Denizer may be contacted at cdenizer@worldbank.org.

Suggested Citation

Denizer, Cevdet and Wolf, Holger C., The Savings Collapse During the Transition in Eastern Europe (August 2000). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2419. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=632490

Cevdet Denizer (Contact Author)

Center for Economics and Econometrics ( email )

United States
+902123596505 (Phone)
+902122872453 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cee.boun.edu.tr

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Holger C. Wolf

Georgetown University - Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service (SFS) ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-8079 (Phone)
202-687-8359 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://georgetown.edu/faculty/wolfhc/

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