Understanding Reform: The Case of Poland
Center for Social and Economic Research CASE Report No. 59
106 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2005
Date Written: June 2004
This report reviews the reform process in Poland in the period 1989-2001, from the formation of the first non-Communist government to the defeat of right-wing forces in the 2001 parliamentary elections and the formation of a governing left-wing coalition of social democrats and the peasants' party (both of them with roots in the Communist era). It reconstructs the sequence of reforms, assesses their relative successes, and focuses on the problem of the stagnation of the reform process at the end of the 1990s. The report is organized in six sections. The first one is an overview of the whole process of reforms and provides an outline of its social and political context. The second one states the hypotheses guiding the research undertaken for this report, at the same time grounding them in the relevant literature. The next four sections focus on selected areas-selected key components of the state machinery, stabilization and liberalization, privatization and enterprise restructuring, and pension system. The report synthesizes much earlier research on the topic. It also relies on several specially conducted interviews with individuals who played a key role in or made extensive studies of the reform process. As some of our interviewees declared a will to remain anonymous, we disclose only the names of those who gave their explicit consent.
Keywords: Poland, reform, transition
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