THE BLOG

Bulgaria Wins Balkan Prize

07/16/2014 10:17 am ET | Updated Sep 15, 2014
  • Steve H. Hanke Professor of Applied Economics at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

Every country aims to lower inflation, unemployment and lending rates, while increasing gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Through a simple sum of the former three rates, minus year-on-year per capita GDP growth, I constructed a misery index that comprehensively ranks 89 countries based on misery. The table below is a sub-ranking of all Balkan states presented in the full index.

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All of the Balkan states in my index suffer from high unemployment and relatively high levels of misery.

That said, the least miserable Balkan country is Bulgaria. "For all of its problems, including a recent bank run, the country's currency board system -- which I, as President Stoyanov's adviser, helped design and install in 1997 -- provides monetary and fiscal discipline, and produces positive results in a region plagued with problems.