Yugoslavia, Development with Decentralization: Report of a Mission Sent to Yugoslavia by the World Bank

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Yugoslavia represents both a new economic system and a new kind of socialist society which began to evolve nearly 25 years ago. The system is described and assessed in this report. The Yugoslav system is characterized by social ownership and control of the means of production, with worker self-management and decentralization of political and economic decisions. As a corollary of decentralized decision-making, there is a gradual reduction of centralized planning and control and a greater reliance on markets as a guide to the allocation of resources. Progress has been accompanied by an increasingly open economy and a more liberal foreign exchange and trade system, intended to improve the efficiency of domestic industry and to generate higher standards of living. The analysis of the development experience and problems of the Yugoslav economy that is presented in this report, while indicating that significant problems are still to be solved, nevertheless gives a favorable assessment of the country's future economic performance. The report suggests that Yugoslavia's demonstrated ability to combine rapid economic growth and fundamental institutional changes over a long period of time speaks for the basic soundness of its line of economic development. The country has also demonstrated its ability to confront and solve persistent and difficult domestic and external problems. Other bases for confidence about development prospects, as reflected in the report, include the country's natural and human resources, together with its pragmatic and dynamic approach to economic issues, readiness to consider and undertake institutional changes, and a general commitment to an open-market-oriented economy.

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The Historical and Institutional Setting

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