Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center

FREE Policy Briefs

The Forum for Research on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies (FREE) is a joint initiative by SITE (Stockholm), BEROC (Minsk), BICEPS (Riga), CEFIR (Moscow), CenEA (Szczecin), ISET (Tblisi) and KEI (Kiev). Together, these research institutes form an extensive network of leading academic experts on economic issues in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The institutes also conduct research about development, emerging markets, as well as economics in general.

The FREE Policy Brief Series is designed to provide short and informative analyses on current economic policy challenges. The focus will be on Eastern Europe and emerging markets. The writings will be based on academic research papers or policy work by the researchers at the different institutes and updated on a weekly basis. The ambition is to bridge the gap between ongoing academic research and policy making, to stimulate and contribute to the international debate as well as to intensify the interaction and discussion with other researchers, policy-makers, and business representatives across the world.

The web-site of the Forum

The Russian translation available in the section FREE on the web-site of CEFIR (Moscow).

FREE Policy Brief: Avoiding Corruption and Tax Evasion in Belarus’ Construction Sector

This brief summarizes our research on the problem of corruption and tax evasion in the construction sector in Belarus.

FREE Policy Brief: Fiscal Redistribution in Belarus: What Works and What Doesn’t?

FREE Policy Brief: Monetary Policy Puzzle in the Presence of a Negative TFP Shock and Unstable Expectations

 Arevik Gnutzmann-Mkrtchyan, Hinnerk Gnutzmann

FREE Policy Brief: Trade Preferences Removal – The Case of Belarus

FREE Policy Brief: The Anatomy of Recession in Belarus

FREE Policy Brief: Spatial wage inequality in Belarus

 Aleksandr Vashchilko

FREE Policy Brief: Effects of Trade Wars on Belarus

The trade wars following the 2014 events in Ukraine affected not only the directly involved participants, but also countries like Belarus that were affected through international trade linkages. According to my estimations based on a model outlined in Ossa (2014), these trade wars led to an increase in the trade flow through Belarus and thereby an increase of its tariff revenue. At the same time, because of a ban on imports in the sectors of meat and dairy products, the tariff revenue of Russia declined. As a member of the Eurasian Customs Union (EACU), Belarus can only claim a fixed portion of its total tariff revenue. Since the decline in the tariff revenue of Russia led to a decline in the total tariff revenue of the EACU, there was a decrease in the after-redistribution tariff revenue of Belarus. As a result, Belarusian welfare decreased. To avoid further welfare declines, Belarus should argue for a modification of the redistribution schedule. Alternatively, Belarus could increase its welfare during trade wars by shifting from being a part of the EACU to only being a part of the CIS Free Trade Area (FTA). If Belarus was only part of the CIS FTA, the optimal tariffs during trade wars should be higher than the optimal tariffs without trade wars. The optimal response to the increased trade flow through Belarus is higher tariffs.

FREE Policy Brief: Intermediate and Capital Goods Import and Economic Growth in Belarus

FREE Policy Brief: The Economic Complexity of Transition Economies

FREE Policy Bried: The Inevitable Social Security Reforms in Belarus

In 2016, Belarus will face the need to reform its social protection policy. The three main directions of reforms will be to departure from subsidized tariffs, to reform the pension system, and to increase unemployment benefits. Needless to say, some of these reforms will be highly unpopular. The government needs not only to cut expenditures, but also to think about new ways of providing targeted social support.