DP686 | Some Lessons from Economic Transformation in East Germany

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The paper compares the experience with shock therapies in East Germany, Poland and the CSFR. After an analysis of the individual starting conditions and economic performance since the inception of comprehensive reform programmes it focuses on the specific elements of the East German reform strategy. It shows that the short-term impact of huge transfers from West to East Germany was not necessarily positive for East German firms. It identifies the lack of incomes policies as a major flaw in the East German transformation concept. On the positive side the rapid restructuring of the East German financial sector allowed it to overcome the inefficiencies that characterize the banking systems nd enterprise finance in Poland and the CSFR. In addition, with the Treuhand it was possible to establish a functioning principal-agent relation between the government as the owner of state-owned firms and the management of these firms, which is completely absent in Poland and the CSFR. That explains why these two countries were not able to benefit much more from their enormous wage advantage over the former GDR.