Dec 31, 1983
This report uses case studies of Hungary and Romania to examine how individual East European countries adjusted to the economic shocks of 1973-1975 and 1978-1982 caused by slowdowns in world trade. In the short term, Hungary's growing economic difficulties, though externally caused, will continue, growth rates will be depressed, and consumption levels will stagnate. For the long term, its economic growth will depend on continued economic reform. By contrast, Romania's growth slowdown was mainly due to internal factors — its rigid central planning system and its development strategy of extensive investment. Its future growth prospects will depend more heavily on efficient resource use. Finally, U.S.-Soviet relations will influence adjustment prospects in Hungary and Romania: the worse these relations, the more pressure will be placed on private lenders to reduce their exposure in Eastern Europe, tighter export controls will limit East European access to Western technology, and Soviet tolerance for meaningful economic reform in Eastern Europe will be reduced.