AN ANALYSIS OF THE ECONOMIC CONVERGENCE PROCESS IN THE TRANSITION COUNTRIES
The paper is analysing the process of economic convergence of transition countries during the period 1995–2004. Within the analysed period unconditional ß-convergence across the transition economies existed. We could also discover the reduction of dispersion of income levels between accession countries (sigma-convergence). Comparative analyses of the new EU member states (NMS) economic convergence with the previous entrants into EU (Ireland, Greece, Spain, and Portugal) revealed that NMS have been much more successful in their convergence process before joining EU. Analyses of the macroeconomic, human capital, infrastructure indicators of the current accession countries compared with the previous cohesion countries indicated that the new members have been much better prepared to the enlargement. This allows drawing conclusion that the NMS face an opportunity to obtain much more rapid convergence process than expected by previous analyses, which have seriously undervalued the positive role of the pre-accession harmonisation process of NMS with the implementation of the major economic reforms in order to guarantee macroeconomic stability.
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