Bulgaria Country Economic Memorandum : A Path to High Income

Desislava Nikolova, Mihaly Fazekas, Bence Tóth, Viktoriia Poltoratskaia, Marc Schiffbauer, et al. (2023) Bulgaria; Country Economic Memorandum : A Path to High Income (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.

Bulgaria has followed sound macroeconomic policy in recent years and has weathered the Covid-19 economic crisis relatively well. The country embarked on a thorough transformation to a functioning market economy in the run-up to European Union (EU) membership in 2007 which, since 2018, has been followed by a firm course towards eurozone entry. But income convergence to average EU levels has been held back by low pre-crisis economic growth averaging only 2.1 percent in 2010-2019. At pre-Covid-19 crises growth rates, Bulgaria is not expected to converge to average EU income levels in the foreseeable future. The average income level masks substantial regional inequalities which continue to widen and undermine human capital formation and growth. A key constraint that can be seen in all growth policy areas, and also limits the pace of greening of the Bulgarian economy, is weak governance capacity and institutions. This report is organized around the World Bank long-term growth model (LTGM) which allows to simulate Bulgaria’s growth path under different scenarios. The structure of the report focuses on the key identified constraints to and opportunities for Bulgaria’s faster long-term economic growth and income convergence. The report discusses complementary policy areas when needed and refers to related studies for more in-depth analysis and policy options in these cases.

Read the full report here