wiiw and IWH have launched major study on competitiveness of Southeast Europe

In seven country studies and a comparative report, the institutes will analyse the reasons for the region’s poor competitiveness and develop recommendations for effective measures to strengthen it.

Independently of their integration with the European Union, the competitiveness of the Southeast European countries (SEECs) Croatia, Montenegro, FYR Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo is far below average. More and more, the EU, international donors and bilateral partners consider the countries’ competitiveness as a key factor for an independent and sustainable economic development path. Given the modest fiscal space, the international community now calls for recommendations of effective, low-cost and short-term measures to strengthen the competitive position of the region.

Against this background, the German Ministry of Finance launched a call for proposals for a study analysing the potentials for structural reforms, assessing the implementation of past reforms and identifying growth potentials in the region.

wiiw and the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) were assigned to undertake the study. In seven country studies and a comparative paper, Michael Landesmann, Mario Holzner, Robert Stehrer and Hermine Vidovic from wiiw, together with Hubert Gabrisch and Marina Grusevaja from IWH will analyse the main structural, institutional, financial and reform policy weaknesses underlying the poor competitive position of the SEECs.

The analysis will first concentrate on traditional competitiveness indicators and assess the countries’ competitive position on international markets, the quality of public institutions, of public infrastructure, the education and research systems, labour market performance as well as developments on financial markets. Reforms implemented in the fields of monetary, fiscal and labour market policies, governance and structural policies in the last years will be evaluated as well.

A particular focus will be given to key research areas such as the SEECs’ integration in European and global value chains, their export and business services, reforms in the credit and banking sectors, capital flows, exchange rate regimes, labour markets and migration. The first research results can be expected in July 2014.