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2014 OECD Economic Surveys: Hungary 2014

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Hungary 2014

OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Hungary examines recent economic developments, prospects and policies. Special chapters examine enhancing competition and tackling labour mismatches.

 

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Enhancing competition and the business environment

Over the past decade, the growth potential of the Hungarian economy has declined substantially. Trend productivity has ceased to increase, and investment has fallen to historically low levels. To an important extent, the explanation lies in a business environment characterised by high administrative burdens, regulatory volatility, barriers to growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship, and limited competition in major non-tradable sectors, problems which have sometimes become worse in recent years. Under these conditions, many SMEs find it hard to leave semi-informality and grow. Large multinational firms operating in manufacturing often have supplier networks weakly anchored in Hungary, while those in the non-tradable sectors sometimes face little competitive pressure; in both cases, positive spillovers to the domestic economy remain limited.Steps should be taken both at the economy-wide level and in specific sectors to increase investment and restore productivity growth. Such measures must include fostering greater regulatory stability, inter alia by reducing the flow of new regulation and improving its quality, not least in taxation. Investor confidence would benefit from promoting trust and transparency in public institutions. Apart from vigorous competition enforcement across the economy, it is essential to remove sector-specific obstacles to competition, such as barriers to entry of different types, lock-in effects and distortive regulated prices, in retail, professional services, energy, and telecommunications.

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