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World Economic and Social Survey 2003

Trends and Policies in the World Economy

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The World Economic and Social Survey is the United Nations annual analysis of current developments in the world economy and emerging policy issues. It contains forecast of short-term global and regional economic trends and reviews major developments in international trade. Part One of this year’s Survey revolves around the economic recovery that is underway in some developed market economies and some developing countries. Part Two explores current social issues that are interlinked with economic development. Special attention is given to public-private cooperation in the light of drastic transformation of the role of the government. The Survey includes statistical tables, which give standardized data on international trade and finance, incorporating current data and forecasts. It is essential for decision makers in government and business, and provides valuable information to all interested in the trends of global economy.

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Transition economies and poverty

After more than a decade of reforms, most of the former centrally planned countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union have largely completed their transition from central planning to a market economy. However, only a few of these countries were able to restore and surpass the pre-reform level of output and employment. The transition was achieved at a very high human cost, leading to unprecedented increases in poverty and inequality. In the course of the 1990s, the region of the transition economies was the only region in the world that experienced an overall decline in living standards. The present chapter focuses on some of the key policy-related problems of poverty in the transition economies. The main questions the chapter tries to answer are: What caused the dramatic increase in poverty in the transition economies? What is the nature of poverty in the transition economies? What explains the major differences in poverty levels in different transition economies? How do Governments and individuals in transition economies cope with poverty? In what ways can these coping strategies be made more successful?

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