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OECD Economic Surveys: Poland 2008

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Poland 2008

Poland has been catching up with the rest of the OECD more quickly in the past two years, but the short-term outlook is clouded by strong excess demand pressures and rising inflation.  This 2008 edition of OECD's periodic survey of the Polish economy examines key challenges Poland faces including monetary and fiscal policies, reforming the tax system, bridging the housing gap, and rapidly improving transport infrastructure.

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Assessment and recommendations

During the past two years, Poland has recorded its best economic performance since the late 1990s, with growth exceeding 6%. This was also the second-best performance among OECD countries, allowing for a significant narrowing of the income gaps vis-à-vis the average EU and OECD levels. Since Poland joined the European Union in 2004, GDP per capita has moved from 44 to 48% of the pre-2004 enlargement EU average. Furthermore, after nearly a decade of relative stagnation, employment has finally begun to contribute markedly to gains in living standards, rising by some 3% per year. Meanwhile, labour supply has shrunk, despite a still expanding working-age population. This further decline in labour force participation rates, to especially low levels for older workers and the least skilled, is of great concern. The result has been a spectacular decline in the unemployment rate, from nearly 18% in 2005 to 8½ per cent in the fourth quarter of 2007. At the same time, productivity gains have slowed from the growth rates recorded in the early 2000s.

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