Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, Institutional reforms, Macroeconomics and macroeconomic policy, post-communist, Post-communist transition and development issues, transition, transition economies, Ukraine, mBank – CASE Seminar Proceedings

A quarter century of economic reforms in Ukraine: too late, too slow, too little

The first aim of this paper is to describe the main developments in the Ukrainian economy since its independence in 1991, focusing on the evolution of output, and the path of economic reforms — that is, to simply show what happened. The bottom line on that is well known: Ukraine’s economy performed very poorly, and its reforms moved quite slowly, lagging behind most of Central Europe and the Baltic, and even behind some FSU (Former Soviet Union) countries. This first task is a relatively easy one, though some measurement issues do need discussion. In comparison, the second aim — explaining why it happened, identifying the explanatory, causal factors — is much more difficult and contentious. Indeed, causation here means two dynamics: the relationship between performance and reform pace, and the underlying determinants of the slow reforms. The paper’s main effort will be to argue and present evidence that the poor economic performance is primarily due to the late and slow start on economic reforms. However, it only begins to point to the explanations for slow reforms and suggest a modeling approach to analyze this econometrically in future work.


Contents of this publication were first presented by Oleh Havrylyshyn during the 135th mBank-CASE Seminar "A quarter century of economic reforms in Ukraine: too late, too slow, too little".