Political changes in 1989 enabled former Soviet Union satellite countries to initiate processes of political and economic transformation from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. In the early years of the 1990s, the post-communist countries adopted the Washington Consensus. It was based on three key pillars: fiscal austerity, privatisation, and liberalisation.
These changes have radically changed the Polish economy. Poland had to face many challenges, which included high unemployment and hyperinflation. In addition, the accession of Poland to the European Union opened a new stage of changes in its economy. The authors focus on the main changes in the Polish economy during the past three decades. The study period begins in 1989, when Poland transformed from a centrally planned economy to a market economy. The other important period starts in 2004, when Poland become a member of the European Union.
This article offers an assessment of the Polish economy. Although Poland is performing rather well in the region, it still lags behind other European Union countries. Therefore, the authors focus on factors affecting the capacity building for the Polish economy and the main challenges. The most important challenges that the authors present are the demographic trap, the average product trap, the weak institutions trap, the lack of balance trap, and the middle-income trap.
Due to the complexity of the topic, the research requires the use of diverse methodological approaches. The main method is a comparative analysis using data collected from the International Monetary Fund and the Polish Statistical Office. The method employed also includes historical case studies, which are used to present the role of the Polish economy.