Publication: Economies in Transition : An OED Evaluation of World Bank Assistance

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Operations Evaluation Department
Since 1989 the transition countries of Europe and Central Asia (ECA) have undertaken massive reforms of their economic systems, transforming institutions, processes, attitudes, and fundamental concepts of individual and organizational behavior. This report uses the benefit of 20/20 hindsight to evaluate the World Bank ' s assistance to 26 countries in the ECA Region in the hopes that the lessons that emerge will prove useful in countries undergoing similar, if less extreme, transitions in the future. It is a meta-evaluation, largely based on previous evaluative reports, including Country Assistance Evaluations, project assessments, and other OED and Bank documents. A number of background papers were commissioned for this study (see Annex B). Five thematic papers provide much of the analysis for this report. Three country papers prepared by consultants and former government officials present the borrowers ' point of view; they are supplemented by borrower comments on OED reports and by client surveys carried out as part of a Bank wide program. Additional material is provided by a review of the literature on international assistance to the transition, a paper on alternative policies for reform, and a description of the privatization process in selected countries from the point of view of a Bank insider. Section 1 of this report reviews World Bank assistance to the transition economies and some of the evaluative evidence on its outcome. Five themes were chosen for fuller review, taking into account their relative importance in the Bank ' s lending program, their relevance to the main goals of transition, and their potential for yielding useful lessons: private sector development; governance, public sector management, and institution building; the financial sector; social protection; and energy. Section 2 summarizes the findings of these reviews. Section 3 presents the lessons and recommendations that emerge.
Operations Evaluation Department. 2004. Economies in Transition : An OED Evaluation of World Bank Assistance. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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