Crisis Effects: Growth Prospects, Social Impact and Policy Responses in SEE and CIS

The sixth wiiw-GDN Research Competition came to an end and generated eleven research reports.

wiiw is cooperating with the Global Development Network, acting as a hub for South-East Europe (SEE) to support economic and social research, capacity building for local researchers and to discuss policy in the region. The bi-annual wiiw-GDN Research Competition is part of this project.

The sixth Research Competition focused on 'Crisis Effects: Growth Prospects, Social Impact and Policy Responses in SEE and CIS'. It generated eleven research reports dealing with a broad spectrum of socio-economic issues.

One group of researchers focused on the distributional effects of the crisis on households. The authors Duval and Wolff stressed the importance of remittances for Kosovo. Kudebayevea analysed the impact of the crisis on the middle-class in Kazakhstan and Podvysotskaya identified single-parent households as the most vulnerable socio-economic group in Ukraine. With respect to the Macedonian labour market, Nikoloski et al. found that the crisis had a particularly pronounced impact on male farm workers who are being pushed into the shadow economy. Finally, Trkic and Efendic proved that the growing income disparities in Bosnia and Herzegovina could have been reduced by additional government expenditures for social affairs and investments.

Another group of research papers dealt with competitiveness and monetary policy choices during the crisis. Jovanovic and Petreski came to the conclusion that in countries with flexible exchange rate regimes, monetary policy had a counter-cyclical effect during the crisis, while this was not the case in countries with fixed exchange rate regimes. Another conclusion was that strong trade unions proved to be more efficient in controlling inflation than national banks. Narazani identified a decreasing confidence of Albanian citizens in the Euro as a consequence of the Eurozone crises and stressed that this could lead to less euroisation in the country. As for Croatia, Vuksic illustrated the inter-sectoral linkages of bargaining processes and recommended coordinated wage bargaining negotiations as a means to ensure the competitiveness of the country.

A third group of authors focused on methodological aspects of analysing the effects of the crisis. Ibragimov et al. for example further developed a methodology to interpret results from heavy-tailed distributions (e.g. income distributions) in a statistically correct way. They have presented robust confidence intervals for the case of Russian household income data, which shows that the financial crisis has indeed lead to a break in time series. Lapo suggested an econometric model that aims at analysing spatial concentration. For Russian regions the global financial crisis had different impacts depending on the poles of influence (Europe, USA, China) with regard to industrial production, investment and income. Finally, Herceg and Nestic have presented a new method of cluster-based analysis of financial vulnerability. In a stress test they have applied this method to data on indebted Croatian households and compared the outcomes with traditional indicators.

The research reports can be downloaded as Working Papers no. 99 to 109 from the wiiw Balkan Observatory website.