Professor Grzegorz W. Kolodko - Books



Laszlo Csaba, ACTA OECONOMICA Periodical of Hunagarian Academy of Sciences, Volume 51, Issue 3, 2000/2001

Marie Lavigne "Ten years of transition: a review article" Communist and Post-Communist Studies 33 (2000) 475-483

Marie Lavigne Revue d'Etudes Comparatives Est-Ouest Vol.31 No 4, Dec 2000

Michael Kaser The Economical Journal II 2002, University of Birmingham

David Lane Economic Systems, University of Cambridge 

Robert F. Miller, The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 79, No. 3, July 2001, pp. 580-582


Vito Tanzi, International Monetary Fund

In "From Shock to Therapy", Grzegorz W. Kolodko has given us his highly original and personal interpretation of the decade of transition. His background, as a first-rate economist, and his policy experience, as a former Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister during a particularly sensitive period, has given him a unique background for interpreting what happened and for drawing conclusions and lessons. Not all readers will agree with his interpretation of what happened and with his conclusions but all will benefit from this very valuable and informative book. From Shock to Therapy should become essential reading for all those genuinely interested in the experiences of economies in transition.


Gur Ofer, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

This book is a Tour de Force on the neglect but utmost importance of institutional buildup as part of the requirement of the transition process. It is written by a long-term advocate of gradual reform that emphasizes institutional building, along side with taking care of the "fundamentals" as included under the so called "old Washington consensus," that, as a finance minister and deputy prime minister of Poland during the mid-1990s. He had a chance also to implement his ideas as actual policies, and with a large measure of success. The book carefully discusses strategies and policies regarding market-oriented institutions, reforming the government and the financial sector, the informal sector, and the creation of a political-economic growth lobby.


Marko Skreb, University of Zagreb and Governor of the Croatian National Bank

In his new book "From Shock to Therapy", Professor Kolodko is vividly showing the depth of the transition process. Transition is much more than simple economics textbook recipes (liberalize, privatize, deregulate, etc.), but is a long-lasting, multifaceted, and broad social change in every aspect of this endeavor. Fourteen chapters of combining "hands on" experience in policymaking (as a minister of finance) and academic analysis will give a much better understanding on this complex change to every reader.


Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University and the World Bank

I believe that the experiences of the transition economies in the 1990s are deeply relevant to developing countries as they make difficult choices of development strategy and institutional transformation in an increasingly global yet volatile world. Kolodko's work highlights the central importance of the institutional structures needed for market liberalization to succeed. His analysis and his experience will prove valuable to those interested in designing and implementing strategies for poverty reduction and growth in developing countries.


Marie Lavigne, ISMEA (Institut de Sciences Economiques et Mathématiques Appliquées), Paris

This is the first comprehensive, single-authored book on the economics of "post-socialism" that is written by somebody who has been deeply and actively involved in the transformation process. The courage and the vision of the author should be praised, especially as they are based upon a rich and successful experience and a wide expertise. Many people writing on the transition process from the centrally planned system to a market economy offer advice and recommendations that are not really credible. In the present case, the author actually solved many difficulties and developed a "Strategy for Poland" that allows him to come forward with policy proposals and long-term forecasts.The treatment of the transition as a historical process is an important feature of the book. History is important, though the author claims that whatever the legacies of the past, there is no historical fatality, and sound policies in the present are more determining than the favourable or unfavourable legacies inherited from the previous system. What the author usefully reminds of is that the process is not just transition from plan to market for the sake of it. The aim is to create and maintain the conditions for a sustainable growth and for a durable development


Vladimir Popov, Russian Academy of Sciences and Carleton University, Ottawa

This book is written by a good researcher and good economic policymaker - a fortunate and rare combination in general and in post-communist countries in particular. The author presents the most powerful critique of and the most convincing alternative to the "conventional wisdom" policies based on the Washington consensus. His analysis is always provocative and controversial, his presentation is anything but boring.This is a must reading for everyone who studies transition. Even those who do not share the views of the author will not be able to ignore the book on one simple reason, if not anything else: neither before, nor after the period that Grzegorz W. Kolodko was in charge of economic policy (1994-97) had the Polish economic performance been so strong.


Fan Gang, National Economic Research and China Reform Foundation, Beijing

Kolodko not only writes about the Polish case, but also tackles the general issues of economic transformation with the reference to much broader background. And the Polish case itself shares the common features of institutional transition from the planning economy. As a Chinese economist, I am so grateful having Kolodko's new book that provides us with such insightful analyses of the ongoing process. We will benefit from it a lot because in many aspects, China's reform is still trying to catch up.


Alexander Nekipielov, Institute for World Economic and Political Studies,

 MoscowFundamental research by Professor G. Kolodko is a powerful intellectual challenge to the advocates of "simple decisions" to the problems of post-socialist transformation. Convincing character of theoretical reasoning is further strengthened by the author's practical experience of elaborating and implementing Polish economic policy in 1994-97, which brought him fully merited worldwide recognition.


Michael S. Bernstam, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Grzegorz Kolodko explains the only economic success story in the post-communist world northwest of China - Poland - which moved from depression to growth under his stewardship. He furthermore shows the theoretical inconsistencies and practical failures across countries of the conventional approach to transitions, the so-called Washington consensus. He offers broadly useful policy proposals based on the true economic reasoning: improvements of people's well-being, not reforms for the sake of social engineering, should measure success and guide policymakers. This book is bound to become a classic, like Kolodko's practical work before it.


Jeffery E. Garten, Dean, Yale School of Management, Yale University

Grzegorz Kolodko is a great scholar and a great public official. In this book, he combines path-breaking ideas with practical realities. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the world economy.


Kazimierz Z. Poznanski, University of Washington, Seattle

This is a rare - and most refreshing -- book in its balanced account of both economic and social aspects of transition. Kolodko has never overlooked the latter as the theorists. And has given great attention to social concerns as a reformer -- he tried to take Poland's economy from an unnecessary shock to a viable therapy. And it is largely to his credit that the economy did it.


Domenico Mario Nuti, London Business School and Universita di Roma 'La Sapienza'

The Great Transformation undertaken by the former socialist bloc in 1989-99 exhibits the most diverse morphology-in terms of initial conditions, shifting target models, consistency, paths, speed, progress to date, and economic performance. Grzegorz W. Kolodko, the architect of the successful Polish strategy for recovery and growth, maps out these diverse and complex routes guiding the reader through the maze of a decade of unexpected, unimaginable, spectacular developments. Such a comprehensive guide will be invaluable to scholars and practitioners alike, businessmen, investors, national and international civil servants, as well as to the enlightened general reader.The astounding success of the Polish economy - unquestionably the frontrunner among all transition economies, in terms of recovery and sustained growth, stability, resilience - is due not only to the Polish people's sacrifices of the early nineties-probably higher than need be in the circumstances - but also to the imagination, wisdom, and determination of Grzegorz W. Kolodko and his innovative "Strategy for Poland" programme which was implemented in 1994-97. Anything that the former Minister of Finance and First Vice-Premier in charge of the economy may have to say on the transition is worth reading because of the part he personally played in it, but this book will meet and exceed any reader's expectations.


Tadeusz Kowalik, Polish Academy of Sciences

His hard work, his rich experience in managing the economy during a period of great change, and his openness to new ideas for the economy have resulted in a profound understanding of the transformations occurring throughout the entire post-communist world. A bit of luck placed Kolodko in the fortress of mainstream orthodoxy at the very moment when its supporting theses were being revised. Thus he could not only observe, but even contribute to what has become known as the post-Washington consensus. Kolodko's criticism of the shock programs of the IMF and the World Bank is excellent. I hope that when he returns to his country he will find that therapy is not only about institution building, but that it is also a time of cooperation with the patient. It is therefore closer to group therapy than to a treatment for poisoning.


Janine Wedel, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

"From Shock to Therapy" is one of the most important books written on the economic 'transition' away from communism. Grzegorz W. Kolodko's rare combination of experience as Poland's Minister of Finance and First Deputy Prime Minister, as a Western-trained economist, and as a visiting scholar with the Bretton Woods institutions uniquely qualifies him to debunk pervasive mythology about the economic orthodoxies and 'reforms' offered up by the West to the post-communist countries. "From Shock to Therapy" should be required reading for everyone curious about the true story of economic transition in the former communist countries.


Giovanni Andrea Cornia, The former Director, UNU/WIDER

The transition to the market economy of the former socialist countries of Europe and Asia is certainly the most momentous event of the last two decades of this millennium. Its onset has been unpredictable, and most of its outcomes contrast sharply with the initial expectations. While generating an extensive - and still rapidly growing - literature on it, many aspects of the transition process - such as the huge cross-country differences in economic and social performance - remain broadly ununderstood and unexplained.Until recently, most of the transition debate has placed greater attention on some aspects of this great transformation, e.g. on rapid macroeconomic stabilization, liberalization and privatization. It has emphasized less the role of initial institutional conditions, the political economy of transition, and the role of external advice in this process. In this highly original single-authored study on the economics of post-socialism, Grzegorz W. Kolodko attempts to fill this gap. He recognizes the need for sound economic fundamentals but, at the same time, emphasizes the long-term multifaceted nature of the transition process, the influence of historical factors on the outcomes of the reform process, and the crucial need for developing gradually but steadily those institutional arrangements which are the best guarantees of successful transition.While all readers may not agree with his interpretation of the transition or his policy approach, they will no doubt benefit from this well researched and provocative analysis which challenges many of the simplicities of the 'Washington consensus'. Indeed, Kolodko places his analysis of the transition in a broader social and political-economic context, and strongly emphasizes the need for a gradual build up of institutions. This book has been written by a scholar who played a key role in the formulation of the successful policies adopted in Poland over 1994-97, the most successful transitional economy of Europe. As such it does not suffer from the lack of credibility and reality testing that affects a part of the current literature on the transition process.Kolodko's book is therefore essential reading for anyone interested in a critical assessment of the transition process. It is an invaluable guide for those seriously interested in understanding the great transformation still underway in most of the former socialist bloc. As such, I warmly recommend it to academics and practitioners alike, as well as to investors, economists from the international agencies working on the transition, and, of course, the enlightened general reader.