Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center

Research

One of the main BEROC goals is generating and spreading of new academic and policy knowledge on problems, tendencies and development of Belarusian economy. Academic and policy research aimed at the development of strategy encouraging economic growth and quality improvement of economic policy in Belarus.

 Arevik Mkrtchyan, Simon Lester

Does Safeguards Need Saving? Lessons from the Ukraine - Passenger Cars Dispute

The Panel Report in Ukraine - Passenger Cars provides an opportunity to revisit an old debate over the role of safeguard measures in the WTO. With regard to the legal findings, the panel followed the established jurisprudence in this area, and found a number of violations of the Safeguards Agreement. With regard to the economics, we delve more deeply into the economic and political background of the safeguards investigation. Ukraine was hit by the economic crisis shortly after its WTO accession that significantly liberalized import tariffs on passenger cars. Next, we offer a de novo look at the injury and causation issues in this case, and discuss the challenges of an industry reliant on offshored production that sees a safeguard as a mechanism to attract FDI for production. We conclude with an assessment of the operation of the WTO’s safeguards regime, along with some tentative suggestions for reform. Overall, our examination of the economic analysis by the investigating authority and the legal review by the WTO panel raises questions about particular aspects of the domestic and WTO processes, but concludes that the system worked well in this case.

FREE Policy Brief: Spatial wage inequality in Belarus

The Tax System of Belarus

This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of taxation in Belarus. I compare the dynamics of the tax rates and the tax revenue in Belarus to the world averages and to other countries of the Eurasian Union. The paper studies the the harmonization of the rates within the union and the efficiency of tax collection. Finally, the two possible reforms of taxation in Belarus and its possible consequences are discussed: an increase of VAT; reintroduction of the progressive personal income tax.

Spatial wage inequality in Belarus

This paper studies the wage inequality in Belarus' districts from 2000 till 2015 following the multi-step and multi-mechanism framework. The empirical results show: first, that wage disparities across the districts decreased in the 2000-2012 period and then increased from 2013 to 2015; second, there is the spatial dependency in district wages and increasing separation between districts, and between rural and urban population in Belarus; third, the main economic factors that contribute to decrease in district wage inequality are industrial development, retail trade and agricultural development. Finally, from theoretical point of view this research rejects the inverted U-shaped relationship between spatial inequality and economic development for Belarus and supports the hypothesis made by French economist Thomas Piketty that slow growth rates lead to rising inequality.

Foreign Investment: Only Borrowings Remain

Tendencies of 2015 have nothing different from previous years. Low demand for state assets and the lack of flexibility and interest in speeding up of privatization continue to be the major factors of zero dynamics in the realization of state assets. External borrowing remains the major source of investment inflow which is used for refinancing of current debts and, as a result, only increases total debt and does not lead to reforming and the growth of efficiency in the economy.

World Experience of Privatization of SOEs

Under conditions of increased dynamics in world and domestic markets the necessity for shaping of competitive and effective economy increases. Under these circumstances reforming of SOEs becomes one of the most urgent problems. This work is devoted to the analysis of international experience of the privatization of SOEs.

Privatization and Other Reforms of SOEs

This paper surveys implementation mechanisms and effects of privatization, the reform of corporate governance of SOEs, and the reform of bankruptcy procedure.

National Specifics and International Experience in Foreign Direct Investment Attraction

The uncontrolled inflow of foreign investment in the country can have both positive and negative effects. In this regard, national governments develop and implement measures to attract foreign capital, taking into account the characteristics and interests of a particular state. With a view to better understanding the logic of the FDIs movement, the paper gives a brief description of the FDIs dynamics in the Republic of Belarus, as well as the study of the international experience based on the analysis of the FDIs attraction policies of the Visegrad Group countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland) and Georgia.

Modern Tax System Transformations

Building an optimal tax system is a strategic objective for any state. Under the conditions of the economy openness, both internal and external factors can have a significant impact on the pace of economic development of a country that affects the level of tax collection. The article both emphasizes the importance of tax system improvement and explains the necessity of tax administration optimization. A tax system approximated to optimal one will be less affected by the negative trends and modern tax administration will reduce costs, increase transparency and the taxpayers’ trust level. The tax system analysis was carried out based on studying the Visegrad Group countries’ experience (the Czech Republic and Poland), as well as Georgia and Belarus. As a result, it was observed a single direction of all countries’ development in the area of the tax system improvement, while the presence of the individual characteristics.

 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.