Serbian economy grew six times faster in non-election years

Between 2012 and 2022, Serbia had six years with the state (parliamentary and/or presidential) and local elections and five years without elections altogether.

Data show that the average rate of economic growth in years when no elections took place was almost six times higher than in those when elections were held – 4.21 percent versus 0.75 percent of GDP, Dušan Vasiljević, director of competitiveness and investments in NALED, says.

When asked how much the possible elections in the autumn would spoil the plans in the business sector, as well as estimates of economic growth for the current year, Vasiljević says that the potential elections won’t have a greater impact on the plans of companies in Serbia, since these plans are generally not made based on election cycles, which are relatively unpredictable in our country anyway.

“The predictable effects of scheduling elections are the suspension of the adoption of laws for about six months, a decrease in the intensity of the activities of the state administration in performing daily tasks and a short-term increase in public expenditures in order to win over different segments of the electorate, which can have the effect of a mild stimulus on economic activity in the short term, and potentially cause a challenge in the long term, when it becomes necessary to compensate the funds that were spent on political campaigns. All in all, I expect that the eventual announcement of elections will not have a major impact on the economic performance, but if this announcement does impact the economy, it will be slightly negative,” assesses Vasiljević.

Professor Ljubomir Madžar also acknowledges that the difference between GDP growth in the years when elections were held and those without elections shows that the elections are a blow to the economy and that they do disrupt normal economic flows. He also said that the eventual announcement of elections in the autumn would not be good for the Serbian economy.

“I don’t expect major changes in the business environment by the year-end. It will be roughly the same as before, which means that the rule of law is still not at the level that would facilitate economic progress and that there are a lot of external shocks and various political manoeuvres and exhibitions that also act as disruptions to business. The executive power is busy with some other tasks that have little to do with the economy, so the existing institutions have less capacity to regulate economic flows,” Professor Madžar points out.

(, 05.06.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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