World Bank Country Studies

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Country Studies are published with approval of the subject government to communicate the results of the Bank's work on the economic and related conditions of member countries to governments and to the development community. This series as been superseded by the World Bank Studies series.

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    Bulgaria Public Expenditure Issues and Directions for Reform
    (Washington, DC, 2003-08) World Bank
    The study is the first-ever Public Expenditure and Institutional Review (PEIR) on Bulgaria by the World Bank. It outlines public expenditure issues, and policy directions to improve the efficiency, and effectiveness of public expenditures in the country. To this end, it assesses fiscal sustainability, and analyzes the public expenditures, and their institutional framework. Bulgaria has made substantial progress toward long-term macroeconomic stability, but important challenges remain in the five sectors analyzed - education, health, social protection, the state railways, and energy sectors. It also analyses the institutional challenges in public expenditure management.
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    Bulgaria : A Changing Poverty Profile
    (Washington, DC, 2002-10-29) World Bank
    Bulgaria's economic progress in recent years has been notable. Since 1997, the country has implemented a range of structural reforms alongside substantive fiscal and sectoral reforms. Measures have included the introduction of a currency board to stabilize the lev and more aggressive privatization of large state owned enterprises. These developments have led to a significant turnaround from the period of economic crisis in 1996-1997, which was marked by a decline in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 18 percent and annual inflation of 579 percent in 1997. Growth resumed in 1998 and has been sustained. Bulgaria's current government, which took office in July 2001, has affirmed its commitment to the objectives of macrostability, including a continuation of the currency board and market reforms. Poverty in 2001 has become more concentrated among distinct and identifiable groups within the population than in previous years. In this regard, the profile of poverty in Bulgaria has come to resemble poverty patterns in other countries in Central and Eastern European countries more closely. The strong link between unemployment and poverty, and the emergence of children and households in rural areas as high poverty risk groups, as well as ethnic minorities are features of poverty common to ED accession countries. While the concentration of poverty among specific groups indicates that targeting interventions to address poverty in Bulgaria will be easier, on the other hand, these pockets of chronic poverty are more resilient and harder to reach than shallower poverty linked to transient declines in incomes. These developments highlight the need for a long term commitment to poverty reduction in Bulgaria which will require continuity in policy, as well as on-going monitoring and evaluation.
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    Bulgaria : The Dual Challenge of Transition and Accession
    (Washington, DC, 2001-05) World Bank
    The study assesses Bulgaria's progress in its transition to a market economy, and in its preparation for accession to the European Union (EU), through an analysis of economic developments during the 1990s, with special emphasis on the 1997-1999 period. It identifies the major challenges the country faces in sustaining macroeconomic stability, and accelerating growth. To maintain fiscal stability and ensure adequate public investment to gradually reduce the public debt will require building strong fiscal risk, debt management skills. The public investment required to meet the dual challenge of completing the transition, and joining the EU, is significant. The Government's remarkable reform program of the last three years, has radically transformed the economy, with conditions established for high, and sustained growth. Yet, unemployment is growing, and by and large, the standards of living have significantly declined, meaning further reforms will be needed to boost private investment, and establish the supportive institutional foundations required for a market economy. The reform agenda focuses on ensuring a public-private interface through macroeconomic stabilization, eliminating state direct interventions, and building the public-private legal framework, as well as capacity, and credibility.