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Leszek Henryk Balcerowicz (pronounced [ˈlɛʂɛk balt͡sɛˈrɔvit͡ʂ] (About this soundlisten); born 19 January 1947) is a Polish economist who is currently a professor of economics at the Warsaw School of Economics. He served as the chairman of the National Bank of Poland from 2001 to 2007, after serving as Poland's Deputy Prime Minister in Tadeusz Mazowiecki's government. He is known for implementing the controversial Polish economic transformation program in the 1990s commonly referred to as the Balcerowicz Plan.

Leszek Balcerowicz
Leszek Balcerowicz 2017.jpg
Deputy Prime Minister of Poland
In office
12 September 1989 – 23 December 1991
PresidentWojciech Jaruzelski
Lech Wałęsa
Prime MinisterTadeusz Mazowiecki
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
Deputy Prime Minister of Poland
In office
31 October 1997 – 8 June 2000
PresidentAleksander Kwaśniewski
Prime MinisterJerzy Buzek
Finance Minister of Poland
In office
12 September 1989 – 23 December 1991
PresidentWojciech Jaruzelski
Prime MinisterTadeusz Mazowiecki
Jan Krzysztof Bielecki
Preceded byAndrzej Wróblewski
Succeeded byKarol Lutowski
Finance Minister of Poland
In office
31 October 1997 – 8 June 2000
PresidentAleksander Kwaśniewski
Prime MinisterJerzy Buzek
Preceded byMarek Belka
Succeeded byJarosław Bauc
President of The National Bank of Poland
In office
10 January 2001 – 10 January 2007
Preceded byHanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz
Succeeded bySławomir Skrzypek
Chairman of the Freedom Union
In office
1 April 1995 – 18 December 2000
Preceded byTadeusz Mazowiecki
Succeeded byBronisław Geremek
Member of Sejm
In office
20 October 1997 – 18 October 2001
Personal details
Born (1947-01-19) 19 January 1947 (age 72)
Lipno, Poland
Political partyFreedom Union, Partia Demokratyczna –
Spouse(s)Ewa Balcerowicz
ChildrenMaciej (b. 1972) & Wojciech (b. 1980) & Anna (b. 1984)


In 1970 he graduated with distinction from the Foreign Trade faculty of the Central School of Planning and Statistics in Warsaw (now the Warsaw School of Economics).[1] Balcerowicz received his MBA from St. John's University in New York, in 1974 and doctorate from the Central School of Planning and Statistics in 1975.[2]

He was a member of the Polish communist party (Polish United Workers' Party) from 1969 until the declaration of martial law in Poland, in 1981.[3] In the late 1970s he participated in an economic-advisory team associated with the prime minister of People's Republic of Poland.[4] In 1978–1980 he worked at the Institute of Marxism-Leninism. Later he became an economics expert in the independent trade union Solidarity, and was forced to leave the communist party.[5]

From September 1989 to August 1991 and also between 31 October 1997 and 8 June 2000 he held the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Poland. Between 1995 and 2000 he was the chairman of Freedom Union, then a centrist political party.[6] On 22 December 2000 he became the Chairman of the National Bank of Poland.[7] He was also a columnist for Wprost, a Polish news magazine.[8]

On 11 November 2005, the President of Poland, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, awarded L. Balcerowicz with the Order of the White Eagle for his "contribution to Poland's economic transformation".[9] In 2006 he was elected member of Galeria Chwały Polskiej Ekonomii, a hall of fame for "outstanding Polish economists".[10]

Balcerowicz is a member of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, an independent initiative hosted by the UNDP and the first global initiative to focus specifically on the link between exclusion, poverty and the law.[11] He is also a member of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty, and is a Board member of renowned Washington, D.C. think-tank the Peterson Institute. Fellow of Collegium Invisibile.[12]

Since 11 June 2008 Balcerowicz has been a member of the board of Bruegel, the Brussels-based think tank on international economics.[13]

In 2016 he was appointed as representative of the Ukrainian President in the Cabinet of ministers.[14]

Balcerowicz PlanEdit

The Balcerowicz Plan was a series of reforms, which sought to end hyperinflation and balance the national budget.[15] The prices of most consumer goods were freed and caps for annual increases established in state-sector employees' wages. Poland's currency, the złoty, was made convertible within the country's borders.[citation needed] This resulted in a substantial increase in prices and had forced state-owned companies to become competitive. This amounted to a real shock to the Polish economy.[16]

The reforms were controversial and made Balcerowicz an object of harsh criticism, especially in his homeland. On the other hand, many economists and experts such as Krzysztof Sobczak and Jacek Rostowski agree that without introducing such radical changes, Poland's economic success and steady economic growth would not have been possible.[17][18] Since 1989, Poland's annual growth rate was one of the highest of all post-Communist economies, and has not entered economic recession, however the country has witnessed increased unemployment, poverty and pauperisation.[19]


Initially, public support for Balcerowicz's plan amounted to 50%, while decreasing consistently in later years.[20]

High unemployment remained a problem in Poland since the initiation of reforms, leaving certain poverty-stricken regions with structural unemployment.[20] Even though over 2 million Poles emigrated [21] from Poland since its entry into the EU, the unemployment level remained at 13%.[22] Interventionist politician Andrzej Lepper, the leader of the populist Self-Defense (Samoobrona) party, created the slogan: "Balcerowicz must go" (Balcerowicz musi odejść), echoing the disgruntlement felt by many Poles with Balcerowicz's plan, which left many people on the verge of subsistence.[23] Press commentary suggests that criticism of Balcerowicz is often muzzled.[24] As a result, he is perceived as being an unchallenged authoritative viewpoint on post-communist changes in Poland.[25]


During the Eurozone crisis Balcerowicz has been an outspoken supporter for fiscal discipline and has been frequently dubbed the anti-Bernanke for his scorn of distortionary fiscal stimulus. In various articles he has developed a comparison between the fiscally-profligate PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain) and the fiscally-disciplined BELLs (Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania).[26] Responsible fiscal policy brings about better growth outcomes, claims Leszek Balcerowicz.[27] He has many followers among East European economists, most prominently Simeon Djankov, Deputy prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Bulgaria between 2009 and 2013.[28]

Honorary doctoratesEdit

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Socialism, Capitalism, Transformation, Central European University Press, Budapest, 1995
  • Wolność i rozwój: ekonomia wolnego rynku, Znak, Kraków, 1995
  • Post-Communist Transition: Some Lessons, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 2002
  • Towards a Limited State, World Bank, 2003
  • Institutional Systems and Economic Growth, in: Challenges of Globalization. Imbalances and Growth, edited by Anders Åslund and Marek Dąbrowski, Peterson Institutute for International Economics, p. 153-199, Washington, DC, 2008
  • Zagadki wzrostu gospodarczego (Puzzles of Economic Growth), Leszek Balcerowicz, Andrzej Rzońca, C.H. Beck Sp. z o.o., Warsaw, 2010
  • Odkrywając wolność. Przeciw zniewoleniu umysłów, Leszek Balcerowicz, ZYSK i S-KA Wydawnictwo, 2012
  • Wzrost gospodarczy w Unii Europejskiej (Economic Growth in the European Union), Lisbon Council e-book, Leszek Balcerowicz (main author), A. Rzońca, L. Kalina, A. Łaszek, 2013
  • Trzeba się bić. Opowieść biograficzna, Leszek Balcerowicz, Marta Stremecka, Wydawnictwo Czerwone i Czarne, Warsaw, 2014
  • Euro Imbalances and Adjustment: A Comperative Analisys, The Cato Journal, nr 3, 2014

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  2. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  3. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  4. ^ "LESZEK BALCEROWICZ". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  5. ^ "LESZEK BALCEROWICZ". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  6. ^ "Życiorys". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Powrót Balcerowicza". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  8. ^ "Tabułamacz Wprost". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Order Orła Białego Leszka Balcerowicza". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  10. ^ ref. Manager Magazin (Polish edition), issue 12/2006, Wydawnictwo Infor Manager, Warsaw 2006
  11. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  12. ^ "List of Fellows". CI. Retrieved 25 April 2011.
  13. ^ Bruegel. "Bruegel Elects New Chairman" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  14. ^ "Architect of Polish reforms joins Ukrainian government". Retrieved 22 April 2016.
  15. ^ "SHOCK THERAPY: WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM POLAND". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  16. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz Transformed Poland Through An Embrace Of Economic Freedom". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  17. ^ "Plan Balcerowicza: 25 lat od jego ogłoszenia. Mity i fakty". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  18. ^ "Plan Balcerowicza 20 lat później: sukcesy i porażki". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  19. ^ "Plan Balcerowicza: operacja niepotrzebna i chybiona – rozmowa z prof. Tadeuszem Kowalikiem". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  20. ^ a b Balcerowicz Plan: 20 Years On
  21. ^ EU Membership Highlights Poland's Migration Challenges Migration Information Source
  22. ^ "Stopa bezrobocia rejestrowanego w latach 1990-2019". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  23. ^ "Lepper: Balcerowicz musi odejść". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  24. ^ The Holy Cows of Democracy (Polish)
  25. ^ "Piotr Rachtan: Autorytet w poślizgu, czyli Balcerowicz o Modzelewskim". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  26. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz: The Anti-Bernanke". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Leszek Balcerowicz: The Anti-Bernanke". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  28. ^ "The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism". Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  29. ^ a b c d e f g h [1] Archived 30 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 January 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ a b c "Internet Information Service". NBP. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  32. ^ a b Professor Balcerowicz – doctor honoris causa of the University of Economics in Katowice NBP
  33. ^ "Narodowy Bank Polski - Internetowy Serwis Informacyjny". NBP. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  34. ^ "Doktorzy honoris causa Uczelni". Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny we Wrocławiu. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Rzecznik Prasowy". GDA. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  36. ^ "Doktoraty Honoris Causa" (in Polish). Szkoła Główna Handlowa w Warszawie. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  37. ^ "Uniwersytet Warszawski". UW. Archived from the original on 7 January 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  38. ^ "UNSW Newsroom". UNSW. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  39. ^ Doctor Honoris Causa – Leszek Balcerowicz[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ Commencement at Central Connecticut State University
  41. ^ "Honorary Doctoral Degree Awarded at November 2015 Commencement". UFM New Media. Retrieved 18 November 2015.

External linksEdit