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"Bokros Package" and Hungary’s Economy
“Because of the high inflation rate the Hungarian National Bank had to raise interest rates and because of the higher rates the economy lost about 160 billion forints. The unemployment rate went up. All in all, this was a situation economists normally call an "economic crisis”.”
“The real effect of the austerity program was widespread misery, with 1.5 million people beginning their journey toward poverty.”
As the result of Bokros's remedy real wages were only 75% of those in 1989 and pensions 79%.
According to Gazdag, the Bokros package created a genuine economic crisis in 1995 and 1996 at a time when there was no longer any need for a drastic austerity program because in 1994 there were already hopeful signs of a recovery.
Mária Zita Petschnig, senior researcher of the Financial Research Institute in Budapest: ”The introduction of the austerity program was unavoidable.”
She admits that the results of the progam were painful but without it Hungary would have been unable to meet its foreign loan obligations.
“Bokros's program managed to pull the country from the abyss. It's true that the austerity program hurt large segments of society, but the planned devaluation of the forint over time and other changes in custom duties cushioned the economy as a whole.“
According to Petschnig it is an illusion to think that Hungary without Bokros's intervention could have grown out of its indebtedness, especially when the budget deficit was 8.6%.
As in 1995 Bokros realised his plan, the Hungarian exchange rate system was a crawling band, which means that the rate is allowed to fluctuate around a central value, which is adjusted periodically. This is done at a preannounced rate or in a controlled way following economic indicators (It is rather a fixed exchange rate system, although a fixed value can be changed periodically based on market fluctuations)
He introduced contractionary fiscal policy, which in this case should be effective
Most of the opinions also show that these austerity measures worked and resulted in a longer period
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