by Ryszard Rapacki ; Mariusz Prochniak
Start page: 3 - End page: 40
Keywords: economic growth, convergence, catching-up, European Union, EU enlargement
Jel code: C33; F43; O16; O43; O47; O52
This article aims to answer the question of whether a membership in the European Union contributed to an accelerated economic growth of eleven Central and Eastern European (CEE or EU11) countries, including their real convergence to the economic development level of Western Europe (EU15). The analysis consists of two steps. First, the hypothesis of income level equalization between the CEE countries and the EU15 is verified based on the ? and ? convergence concepts. Second, the impact of selected macroeconomic variables related to the EU enlargement on economic growth of the CEE countries is examined with the use of econometric modelling. The analysis covers the 1995-2015 period. The results indicate that the CEE countries displayed a clear-cut income-level convergence toward the EU15 and that variables associated with the EU membership (increasing scope of economic freedom, improving quality of governance, progress of market reforms and more broadly – improvement in the institutional environment of the market, as well as the inflow of EU funds and the rising volume of international trade and foreign direct investment) turned out to be important drivers of GDP growth.