Two Decades of Croatian Transition: A Retrospective Analysis
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Over the past two decades many Central and South East European countries underwent the process of transition from a centrally-planned towards a market economy. Among them, the case of Croatia stands out as particularly interesting. Owing to a number of reasons Croatia had the potential to be among the forerunners of transition. However, in realising this potential the country was constrained by numerous political and social turbulences which made its transition path somewhat unique. The objective of this paper is to explore to what extent the favourable initial conditions of Croatian transition have been exploited over the past two decades. The focus of the analysis is on four dimensions of transition: institutional reforms, macroeconomic performance, changes in economic structure and international trade. The general message yielded by the analysis is that much of Croatia’s initial advantage was lost over the past two decades because of war, the unfavourable political climate in the 1990s, late integration into regional, European and global economic institutions and the slow restructuring of enterprises.
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