Scientific Papers


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ISSN: 2306-3483 (Online), 2071-8330 (Print)

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The socio-economic effects of Poland’s membership in the European Union and the challenges of the middle-income trap

Vol. 9, No 1, 2016

Jacek Białek


Ministry of Infrastructure and Development Warsaw, Poland

The socio-economic effects of Poland’s membership in the European Union and the challenges

of the middle-income trap


Adam Oleksiuk


University of Warmia and Mazury Olsztyn, Poland


Abstract. Authors analyze economic development of Poland in the period 2004-2015 in the context of both the impact of the membership of the European Union on the country’s economy and of the middle-income trap into which, as some experts assert, the country has most likely fallen despite relatively dynamic economic growth. In our opinion the impact of the EU membership, which stems i.a. from the infusion of the Cohesion Policy’s co-financing and – which appears to be more even important from the perspective of long-term development - from the establishment of effective mechanisms for conducting conscious development policy based on identifying and pursuing long- term strategic goals, is highly positive. The progress in catching up with the average development level of the EU countries is slowing, however, and there are indications that the country has already fallen into the middle-income trap. Authors discuss various factors contributing to Poland’s susceptibility to the said trap, enumerating i.a. insufficient rate of bridging the productivity gap vis-à-vis the EU average, which in turn stems from insufficient level of innovation, suboptimal quality of the institutional and regulatory conditions and the deteriorating demographic structure. We also assert that unless decisive strategic actions are designed and implemented all those factors will have increasingly negative impact on the development of the Polish economy. Finally authors underline that far-sighted development plans do exist, but at the same time indicate that far-reaching efforts will be required to modify the model of economic development and to meet the set strategic objectives.


Received: October, 2015

1st Revision: December, 2015

Accepted: January, 2016


DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2016/9-1/9

JEL Classification: O11, O21, O38, P2, P21

Keywords: middle-income trap, model of economic development, development policy, EU membership, cohesion policy