The Romanian Economy. A Century of Transformation (1918-2018)

Proceedings of ESPERA 2018

by Luminita Chivu (Volume editor) Valeriu Ioan-Franc (Volume editor) George Georgescu (Volume editor) Jean-Vasile Andrei (Volume editor)
©2019 Conference proceedings XXII, 1242 Pages


ESPERA was initiated in 2013 by the National Institute for Economic Research "Costin C. Kirițescu", Romanian Academy. The aim of the International conference is to present and evaluate the economic scientific research portfolio, to argue and substantiate development strategies, including European and global best practices. ESPERA intend to become a scientific support for conceptualisation and establishment of policies and strategies and to provide a systematic, wide and challenging dialogue within the European area of economic and social research. The 2018 edition of the Conference took place under the title "The Romanian Economy. A Century of Transformation (1918-2018)", as part of the Romanian Academy anniversary events celebrating the "100th anniversary of the Great Union of Romania".

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright Page
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • Citability of the eBook
  • Contents
  • The Great Union Centennial
  • A Century of Economic Academic Research in Romania: From 1918 to 2018
  • Evolution of the Romania’s External Trade Balance, in the Period 1918–2016
  • A Retrospective View of Romania’s Public Debt in the Last Century
  • 100 Years of Development in Extractive Industry from Romania: Facts and Figures
  • World Technical and Technological Firsts in the Romanian Petroleum Industry
  • The Extractive Industry from Romania after 1990
  • The Beginnings of the Romanian Steel and Iron Industry (1918–1948)
  • The Evolution of Rail Transportation since 1918 – A Critical Comparative Analysis
  • Romanian Transport System after December 1989
  • Grounds and Issues of Environmental Investments in the Romanian Socialist Economy
  • Water Resource in Romania between 1st and 2nd World War (1918–1940)
  • Economy and National Defense
  • The War Economy and the Romanian Army’s Equipping between the Two World Wars
  • The Planning and Forecasting Activity in Romania: 1918-2018
  • A Brief History of Taxation in Romania
  • General Aspects Regarding the Quality of Life in Romania during 1940–1947
  • Economic and Social Policies to Combat Poverty in Romania in the Last Century
  • The Innovation Bringing Death, the War without Peace against Diseases. An Economic Overlook
  • Biblical Sources in the Management of Human Resources
  • Specificity of Social and Economic Transformations of the Modern Society
  • Interdisciplinary Vision of the Relationship between Eco-Bioethics and Eco-Bioeconomy
  • The Global Public Debt: A Mere Economic State of Planet Earth?
  • New Inflationary Pressures Raising Global Challenges
  • Global Trends Regarding the Increase of the Role of States in Internal and International Economic Relations. Implications for Romania
  • Estimating World Reserves and Production of the Fossil Fuels Using Multiple Models: A Comparative Analysis
  • Factors Influencing Stock Market Development in Latin America
  • Romanian International Agri-Food Trade – Major Transformations of the Last Two Decades
  • Potential Impacts of the Scenarios Concerning the Future of Europe on Romania
  • China’s Role in the Development of a New Connectivity Paradigm in the North
  • The Implications of the Current Economic and Geopolitical Framework on Russian Inward FDI
  • Growth and Welfare. Correlations at the European Level
  • Heterogeneities in the EU Banking Systems and the Current State of Banking Integration
  • Efficiency of Material Resources and Forms of Manifestation of the Circular Economy in EU Member Countries
  • Human Capital Integration on the Labor Market through Education and Unemployment in the European Union
  • Foreign Direct Investments and their Impact on Economic Growth on Emerging Economies
  • Methodological Proposal for Predictor in Economy
  • Relations between Public Spending and Sustainable Development
  • Assessing Regional Price Variation in Romania Using Unit Values
  • An Evaluation of the Latest Developments in Professionalization Policies of Romanian Social Assistance Public Sector
  • Competitiveness of the Romanian Economy, Manufacturing Industry and Industrial Products
  • The Relation between Industrial Production and Employment in the Context of Structural Changes Affecting the Romanian Manufacturing Subsectors
  • Some Structural Changes of the Manufacturing Industry in Romania between 2000 and 2015
  • The Environmental Component of CSR Specific to Energy Companies Listed on Bucharest Stock Exchange
  • The Evolution of Foreign Direct Investments in Renewable Energy in Romania
  • Promoting the Production of Energy from Renewable Energy Sources (E-RES) in Romania
  • Security of Energy Supply and Geopolitical Influences in Eastern Europe. Study Case Republic of Moldova
  • Consumer Behaviour in Romanian Telecommunication Market
  • Common Agricultural Policy Effects on the Romanian Farms
  • Performance and Self Sufficiency in the Romanian Fruit Sector in the Context of the Common Market
  • Spatial Vulnerability of Romanian Rural Communities to Climate Change
  • Volatility for Pork Meat Prices in Romania and EU
  • Two Decades of Functioning of the Agricultural Land Market in Romania
  • The Implementation of Advanced Technologies in Sustainable Agriculture: Best Practices in Romania
  • The Sustainable Rural Development Potential: Case Study
  • Study on Animal Protein in Mountain Zoo-Products, a Reference for New Trends in Animal Husbandry in High Areas, as Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Sustainability and Mountains Biodiversity: A Survey and Perspective
  • Specific Elements for Organizing the Capitalization of “Mountain Products” on the Basis of Added Value, in the Associative-Cooperative System, in Favor of the Small and Medium-Sized Farmers. A Scenario for Organizing a “Pilot” Micro-Region in the Romanian Carpathians
  • Biodiversity and Evolution of Animal Genetic Resources in the Consolidation of the Romanian Natural and Food Patrimony
  • Bioeconomic Significances of the Management and Marketing of the Conservation and Development Biodiversity of the National Herritage of Local Animal Genetic Resources Studied Intelligent and Eco-Innovating
  • New Biotechnique Arguments, Based on Indicators of Meat Production in the European Union Countries, for the Zootechnization of Romanian Agricultural Production
  • Methodological Problems of the Ecological and Economic Determination of the Natural Habitat Quality
  • Sheep and Goat Farming Sector in Romania – Development Opportunities and Perspectives on the Long Term
  • Structural Changes of Services Rendered to Enterprises, in Romania, during 2008–2016
  • Correlations between Credit Default Swaps and Macroeconomic Developments in Romania
  • Challenges and Changes in the Microfinancing Policy in Romania
  • Theory and Practice of Antidumping Regulation as an Object of Economic Research
  • Study of Russian Commercial Banks’ Lending Activities Management Efficiency: Comprehensive Approach
  • New Perspectives Regarding Rural Mountain Tourism in Spain and Romania – Comparative Study
  • Social Services for the Elderly in Romania
  • The Infrastructure of Mountain Areas in Romania, a Determinant Factor for Economic Diversification and Social Development
  • External Trade and Employment in Foreign Capital Companies in Romania. Historical Approach
  • Romanian Trade Performance after 2001 as Compared to Poland in Terms of Neighbourhood Export Competitiveness
  • Evaluations of Growth in the Foreign Trade with Food Products and Post-Accession Comparisons
  • Characteristics of NEET’S in Romania
  • The Unemployement in Romania – Evidences Based on the Philips Curve
  • Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Values: Evaluation of Macedonia
  • Tracking Human Capital thorugh Theory Based Evaluation in Mechatrec Sector
  • Analyzing Income Data Using Quantile Analogues of Gini Coefficients
  • Evolution of Economic Vulnerability of Households in Romania during the Pre-Accession and Post-Accession to the European Union Periods
  • The Influence of Timisoara Urban Pole on Economic Growth and Socio-Demographic Dynamics
  • Evolution of Gender Gap in Romanian Educational System during 1919–2017 Period
  • Atypical Employment for Young Graduates: Does it represent a Stepping Stone or a Trap?
  • On the Residential Energy Consumers Vulnerability
  • Analysis of Discording Geodemographic Structures and Space Polarization in Regional Context Using GIS Technology
  • Precarious Employment-Poverty-In Work Poverty in Local Contexts of Social Underdevelopment
  • Romania and Republic of Moldavia – Differences and Similarities between Some Socio-Human Values Accepted by their Respective Populations
  • The Economic Polarization
  • Living Tomorrow. Housing in Romania in the Next 100 Years
  • Spanish Universities’ Reputation as a Determinant of the Country´s Competitiveness
  • The Role of Sponsorship, Patronage and Philanthropy for Supporting the Cultural & Creative Industries
  • Sustainable Development Indicators for Education and Professional Training
  • Optimal Strategies for Organizing Public Internal Audit Departments
  • Accessibility and Ecclesiastic Polarization of Monastic Settlements in the Romanian Carpathians. Case Study: Monastic Settlements on the Occidental Carpathians
  • Creativity and Innovation, Catalysts of Tomorrow’s World
  • Smart Cities for Sustainable Development in the 21st Century
  • Knowledge, Innovation and Heritage - Cross-Sectorial Support for Smart Development and Human Capital Transformation
  • A Composite Healthcare Index and its Relation with Romania’s Regional Development
  • Innovations in Green Nanotechnology for a Circular Economy
  • Exogenous-Endogenous Associative Tensions in the Multitude of Threats to Human Health: Social and Economic Consequences
  • Natural Halotherapeutic Resources – Cost-Benefits in the Context of Bio-Sanogenesis
  • Comparative Analysis of Health Care Systems in Romania and France
  • Industrialization of Circular Economy in Romania
  • Preserving Environment by Clean Energy Public Transport: The Case of Skopje, Macedonia
  • Life-Cycle Curve of Waste-Type Products

Aurel IANCU1

1 Academician, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Economic Research „Costin C. Kiritescu”, Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania, e-mail: iancua1@yahoo.com

The Great Union Centennial

Abstract This article covers the harsh geopolitical conditions in which, on one side, the union in one state of all Romanian provinces was accomplished in 1918 and, on the other side, the modernization, economic and social development policies were applied over a century. The article also illustrates, through statistical data, the main economic and social results that were attained over a century, underlying some of the country’s traits over the three time periods: interwar, socialist, post-Revolution.

Keywords: Great Union Centennial, Romania’ economic history, Romanian Academy

The 2018 ESPERA Conference, organized by the National Institute for Economic Research of the Romanian Academy, is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the return to the homeland of the provinces inhabited by Romanians.

This anniversary dictates an account firstly, of how and under which conditions the Great Union was accomplished and secondly, the conditions and manner in which the Romanian economy has evolved, all the more as this past century was marked by profound contradictions, with discontinuities and fractures in the economic policy and thought, that had negative effects to the real economy.

As mentioned in the Foreword of “Romania’s Economy after the Great Union”, 2nd volume, (2018) the ideas and the movement for the country’s unification are much older and stemmed from the people’s beliefs in the unity of language, customs and religion, as well as from the contribution of the Romanian intellectual elite to the history awareness, to the development and practice of the Romanian language, and to the creation and development of the national identity. The Romanian Academy, setup in 1866, played a leading role through the election of the most representative intellectuals of all Romanian Provinces: four from Wallachia, three from each Moldova, Bessarabia and Transylvania, two from each Banat, Bukovina, Maramureș and from the Southern Danube area. Through their research in history and linguistics, developed in collaboration with many intellectual and patriot contributors, through cultural and political publications and activism, they contributed for decades to the knowledge and cultivation of the Romanian people’s history and language as primary means to arouse a unified national identity conscience.

The year 1918 was the best time for the unification of the provinces inhabited by Romanians, as well as a period full of political and military events, when old empires collapsed and during which the following provinces were united with Romania: Bessarabia on the 27th of March; Bukovina on the 28th of November; ←1 | 2→Transylvania, Banat and Maramures on the 1st of December. The unifications took place in most complicated, unstable and difficult times. The Russian Bolshevik Government, in power since October 1917, broke off the diplomatic relations with Romania and actually was at war with our country; the King, the Government and the other Romanian institutions moved to Iaşi (the capital city of Moldova, not yet occupied), but were under pressure exerted by the Central Powers to make peace separately. After the defeat of the Central Powers by the Allied Forces, with support from the United States, on October 27, 1918 the Romanian Government issued an ultimatum to the occupation army to leave the country’s territory in 24 hours; in Transylvania, although an armistice was in place between the Romanian and Hungarian armies, some isolated fights still took place. These incidents intensified after Hungary became a Soviet republic in March 1919, and the Communist Party led by Bela Kun created the Hungarian Red Army and rejected the Trianon Treaty; then they attacked the Romanian Army, in order to join the Soviet Red Army in Ukraine, with the goal to reconquer Transylvania and to disseminate the Bolshevik Revolution in Romania and all Europe, as Lenin intended.

This endeavour was suppressed by the Romanian army, whose people had been without civil rights and suffering injustice for centuries from the ruling minority, who enjoyed economic, political and cultural privileges.

The unification of all the provinces inhabited by Romanians was not only a deed of historical justice, by gaining freedom from foreign occupation, but also generated the auspicious opportunities for the country’s development and modernisation, through the identification and exploitation of the existing national resources to the national interest and the advantage of all citizens.

It is worth mentioning that the political and military actions of 1918 and 1919 delayed the necessary legislative and institutional unification, as well as the economic recovery. This period is important, as it sets the premises for future institutional construction and recovery of the economy, which was substantially destroyed by war and extremely heterogeneous in regards to the development level, the resources and the economic legislation.

A broad view over Romania’s economic development expressed in smoothed centenary statistical series shows that during the one hundred years passed from the Great Union, the profound changes in all the economic, social and scientific domains have led to a strong development and modernisation of the Romanian economy and society. For example, although the country’s area diminished after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the population number increased from 15.541 million in 1920 to 19.415 million in 2018. The urban population share increased from 21.4 % in 1930 to 53.7 % in 2017, and the rural one diminished from 78.6 % to 46.3 % over the same period. The life expectancy at birth (which measures the general health and the quality of life) increased from 41.2 years for males and 42.6 years for females in 1930–1932 to 72.1 years for males and 79.1 years for females in 2016.

Also, Romania’s Gross Domestic Product per capita, in 2000 USD dollars at the PPP, increased 23.3 times between 1920 and 2017. The branch structure of the economy changed owing to industrialisation. The financial and banking system ←2 | 3→developed and became more modern and consolidated. The system of international economic relations expanded rapidly and the foreign trade structure radically changed. From the export of primarily raw materials, the country turned to the export of industrial products and services.

What is characteristic to Romania (as well as other countries in the region) is that it faced changes and experiments imposed by imperial powers, which caused discontinuities and gaps in the economic and social development.

The transition from one economic system to another demanded each time profound institutional reorganizations, at high costs to the economy and society, determined by the extent of the changes made. An in-depth analysis of the policies implemented in Romania over one century and their effects were presented in “Economia României după Marea Unire: vol. 1 – Macroeconomia” (see Iancu, Păun, 2018) and “Economia României după Marea Unire: vol. 2 – Economia sectorială” (see Iancu, Georgescu et al., 2018).

To capture the significance of each period from the point of view of Romanian economic evolution, of stimulating and inhibiting factors and their effects, the analysis covered the following periods: interwar (1918–1945), socialist (1946–1989), post-Revolution (1990–2018).

The first of the above-mentioned volumes reveals that the recovery, development and modernisation of the economy were based on the liberal economic policy “through ourselves” (but open to foreign capital) of the National Liberal Party, alternated with the “open doors” policy (but stimulating the domestic capital) of the National Peasants’ Party.

After a period of openness and dominance of the liberal economic thought, as reflected in the 1923 Constitution, the Romanian economic policy was gradually influenced by protectionist and control-based trends. It emerged under the influence of the authoritarian entities that were brought to power by the deteriorating political climate in the region and in the whole Europe, by the resurrection of revisionist groups in some of the countries with dictatorial regimes, by the loss of territories (Northern Transylvania, Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia) and by Romania entering the war to recover Bessarabia and Bukovina.

The 1920–1939 period was considered one of the most prosperous in regards to the organic (viable) development and modernisation of the economy through the development and modernization of the educational networks in all provinces, roads and railways infrastructures, telecommunications, public works throughout the country, discovery and capitalization of natural resources. The new drive and initiative were visible in the industry, where domestic capital was strongly promoted along the foreign capital. In a relatively short period of time (1920–1939), which included the Great Depression (1929–1933), the production of goods (gross value added expressed in USD at the PPP, 2000 USD) increased two times, the industrial production three times, the agricultural production 1.6 times, and constructions two times.

Meanwhile, besides the oil extraction and processing, new industry sectors were created, such as machine building and metal processing (engines, railway cars, aeroplanes, automobiles, weaponry, metal structures), industrial chemistry, ←3 | 4→food and TCF (textile, clothing, footwear). The territorial loss in 1940, as well as the cost and war destruction diminished the production to 60 % in 1947, relative to 1939.

After the Soviet occupation and the imposed establishment of the Communist regime in 1946, the Romanian economic policy suffered a turnaround, with the radical change of the legal and institutional systems, through the strengthening of the repression system, which promoted the terror against the intellectual and political elite, the replacement of private property with the state-owned one through nationalisations, and of entrepreneurship with centralized planning. The introduction of the Weberian bureaucratic system into the economy was effective in mobilizing the resources for extensive development in the first 25 years of planned economy.

High net accumulation rates (26–36 %) and the mobilisation of the workforce from the overpopulated rural area ensured a high-rate development of the Romanian economy through industrialisation, in accordance with the Leninist principle to primarily develop the heavy industry and its pillar, the machine building. Of all investments in the economy between 1950 and 1959, the industry sector received 42–50 %, out of which, the heavy industry (Group A) received 84–86 %, while the consumer goods industry (Group B) was allotted only 13–16 %. From 1950 to 1989 the total number of employees increased 3.76 times, from 2.123 million to 7.997 million. From the total employed population, industry and constructions sectors represented 45.1 % in 1989, as against 14.2 % in 1950. These allocations of resources stimulated the growth of the total goods, which grew 9.48 times (annual average rate of 6 %) and of the industrial production, which grew 15.69 times (annual average rate of 7.3 %) in the period 1950–1989. The whole country was electrified and industries (including the machine building) were established in all districts.

Because of the dogmatic orientation towards the systematic priority development of the heavy industry, the consumer goods and services sectors were neglected, which caused their long-lasting scarcity in the domestic market. Moreover, the heavy industry was oversized, especially the basic chemical plants (power consuming ones) and the petrochemical plants dependent on imported oil, as well as the large steel mills and heavy equipment plants using imported iron ore, coking coal and special parts. Also, the machine building was over-diversified to the detriment of quality and technological renewal. Such projects, which were gigantic compared to the domestic market size, were aimed at foreign markets for supplies and trading, located in politically unstable and very risky regions. The industrialisation policies, the foreign loans and the forced exports for paying debts before the set term caused major economic and financial imbalances, and a serious economic crisis.

When it came to the intensive and qualitative development, and the elimination of imbalances, the centralized command system was unable to reform itself and complete the economic reforms. The system entered a severe crisis and finally collapsed.

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The return to a market economy and the reconstruction from the foundations of the institutions and the legal system based on democratic rules required a costly and long transition.

The transition to a new economic system based on private property and competitive markets was not smooth and free of destruction and losses. The crisis of the command economy system was replaced with a transformational crisis caused by structural changes in ownership, the legislative and institutional restructuring, the real economy restructuring, management, etc. The new crisis lasted through the 1990s (except for 1993 and 1994 because of the financial discipline introduced into the state system and the stagnation of the changes and the privatization, as well as the export stimulation).

Once the changes required for the transition to a functional market economy were made and some political problems in the Balkan area were overcome, the European Council agreed in December 1999 that Romania and Bulgaria were ready to negotiate their accession to the EU, which happened in 2007. These events stimulated the opening of the Romanian economy to other EU economies and the intensification of the exchanges in the European market as well as a massive inflow of EU investments, having as first effect the comeback to economic growth at high rates.

Table 1: GDP trends, Romania






















Annual rate





















Source: AMECO.

In 2003, Romania achieved the 1990 GDP, and in 2004, the 1989 GDP.

Unfortunately, some pro-cyclical policies and the economic openness without a preventive legislation caused the 2009–2010 crisis and GDP diminution: -7.1 % and -0.8 %, respectively and massive lay-offs.

The negative GDP rates during the three recessions between 1990 and 2017 were improved during the cycle boom, so that the GDP growth was 1.74 times higher in 2017 as against 1990. During the analysed period, a major change took place in the sectoral structure of the economy. From 1990 to 2016, the GDP share in agriculture decreased from 23.7 % to 4.4 %, in industry from 44.1 % to 25.8 % while in services the share increased from 26.3 % to 63.1 %.

A pressing problem of the post-revolutionary period was the workforce. The exit from the market of a large number of major economic agents who could not face competition, as well as the post-privatisation restructuring affected mostly the extractive, manufacturing and construction sectors. This could have caused a long-term unemployment explosion if not for the three control levers: some of the new unemployed (especially those from the mining and construction sectors) were absorbed by the small agricultural exploitations following to the 1991 Land Law; some found jobs owing to the new investments, and ultimately most of them (usually high-skilled workers) went to other EU countries.

One major objective of the foreign economic policy, as far back as the early 1990s, was the integration into the EU. Starting with 1993, the Association Agreement with the EU was applied with the aim to gradually eliminate the customs duties and the import and export quotas for industrial products.

After creating a functional market, applying the Community acquits and establishing the democratic institutions and the rule of law, in 2007 Romania ←5 | 6→←6 | 7→became a full member of the EU, with full rights and obligations, as per the Accession Treaty. The next step for a deeper integration is the euro adoption. This can be achieved after fulfilling the five nominal convergence criteria in accordance with the Maastricht Treaty and the EU Functioning Treaty, that is: price stability, long-term interest rate stability, a budget deficit below 3 % of the GDP, a public debt below 60 % of the GDP, and exchange rate stability. The lessons of the 2008–2010 crisis, as well as the official documents of the EU show that the nominal convergence should be sustainable, and sustainability should be based on the real convergence by bringing the country’s GDP per capita closer to the EU GDP, as well as of other real economic indicators.

In 2015–2016, the nominal criteria were met owing to the rigorous implementation of the macroeconomic policy. As for the real convergence, Romania made remarkable progress, as shown by the data below:

Table 2: GDP per capita*, Romania



















% of the EU average



















Source: Eurostat 2018.

Note: *At the standard PPP.

But before reaching the critical mass of 70–80 % of the EU average, Romania still has a long way to go, estimated to be reached by 2024–2025 (Iancu, 2017; Dăianu et al., 2017).

While the nominal convergence criteria it suffices to apply a rigorous financial and budgetary discipline to maintain the macroeconomic equilibrium, the way to achieve the real convergence is more difficult and takes more time. A policy for mobilizing the factors of development at higher rates is required, to fill the gaps with other countries under free market conditions, having limited levers in number and effects.

The retrospective macroeconomic research presented above provides only a partial picture of the Romanian economy in the last century. The sectoral approaches considered in the second volume Sectoral Economy (“Economia sectorială”) of the above-mentioned book that we will refer further below, deals with important new aspects on subjects of great interest.

The first group of topics refers to the research of the demographic evolution and the transformation of the rural area and the urbanisation over a century of turmoil and contradicting policies. This research work provides not only new information but also ways for formulating and implementing future strategies and policies for adjusting some undesirable trends in some regions, such as the decline of the country’s population by almost one third between 1990 and 2018, the disappearance of many localities by depopulation and an ongoing migration of the young population to other countries with better employment opportunities and living standards.

The second group of topics deals with the evolution, knowledge, management and capitalisation of the main production factors. This includes the following:

The soil and its characteristics, the land and the main usage categories, water resources and their quality, forestry evolution.

The evolution of the underground resources (oil, natural gas, coal, and ferrous and non-ferrous ore); exploration and exploitation.

The domestic and foreign capital formation and evolution, the development of scientific research and innovation, with a focus on the contribution of Romanian personalities to research and innovation.

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 8→←8 | 9→

The third group of topics deals with the evolution of the economic sectors – agriculture, industry, energy, constructions and public works, transportation, communications and information technology, domestic trade, tourism, foreign trade and major changes in the foreign trade structure.

The presentation of the economic and social changes over a century goes on with the fourth group of topics on public services such as education, health care, defence and public order as well as the implications of the economic development for the standard of living and the quality of life.

Special attention was paid to topics concerning the financial components of the economic development of our country, such as the evolution of the budgetary system and taxation, of the financial and banking system, and the public debt.

The general presentation of Romania’s economic and social modernization is completed by the analytical description of the administrative-territorial and management framework, the economic agents’ structure evolution, the environmental protection legislation, economic and social statistics, planning and forecasting methods of economic development.

Three special chapters deal with the Romanian Academy’s role and contribution: research of the Romanian history and language, the emergence and rising of the Romanians national identity and unity, the development of culture and science; the evolution of the research institutes and economic research; the contribution of some economists, members of the Romanian Academy, to the economic research in our country.


The analyses briefly presented above reveal that all researched areas have made remarkable progress, often in adverse conditions. By comparing the present geopolitical, economic and social environment to the past, we see that Romania has never been in a more favourable position as it is today. For example, the NATO and the EU membership are strong guarantees for preserving the unitary, independent and democratic character of the state, further providing opportunities for partnership with all the countries of the two organisations. Moreover, the accession to the European Union and deeper integration of Romania into the economic, institutional, legal and monetary structure of the EU, and the financial support contribute substantially to Romania’s modernisation of economic, social and cultural life.


1.Axenciuc Victor, Georgescu George (2017). Romania’s Gross Domestic Product, and National Income 1862–2010. Secular statistical series and methodological foundations, Editura Academiei Române.

2.Dăianu Daniel, Kallai Ella, Mihailovici Gabriela, Socol Aura (2017). România şi aderarea la Zona Euro, Editura Academiei Române.

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3.Iancu Aurel (2017). Problema trecerii României la euro şi convergenţa economică, Institutul Naţional de Cercetări Economice, Studii economice, Bucureşti. (http://studii-economice.ro/2017/seince170525.pdf)

4.Iancu Aurel, Păun Nicolae (edit.) (2018). Economia României după Marea Unire, vol. I, Macroeconomia, Editura Academiei Române.

5.Iancu Aurel, Georgescu George, Axenciuc Victor, Florin-Marius Pavelescu, Ciutacu Constantin (edit.) (2018). Economia României după Marea Unire, vol. II, Economia sectorială, Editura Academiei Române.

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Luminița CHIVU1, Valeriu IOAN-FRANC2

1 Senior Researcher, National Institute of Economic Research „Costin C. Kiritescu”, Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania, e-mail: chivu@ince.ro

2 Corresponding Member of the Romanian Academy, Senior Researcher, National Institute of Economic Research „Costin C. Kiritescu”, Romanian Academy, Bucharest, Romania, e-mail: cide90@gmail.com

A Century of Economic Academic Research in Romania: From 1918 to 2018

Abstract The cultural and scientific life of the period saw important reforms in education aiming to train specialists in social science, in general, and economic science, in special. Under the influence of personalities who distinguished themselves not only by their culture and erudition but also by their self-sacrifice, real schools were credited owing to their capacity to gather and stimulate the creative energies of many specialists. The purpose of these endeavours was to find solution to urgent needs of the Romanian society and economy.

Keywords: economic research research institutes, economic literature, economic change

1. The 1918–1947 period

The cultural and scientific life of the period saw important reforms in education aiming to train specialists in social science, in general, and economic science, in special. Under the influence of personalities who distinguished themselves not only by their culture and erudition but also by their self-sacrifice, real schools were credited owing to their capacity to gather and stimulate the creative energies of many specialists. The purpose of these endeavours was to find solution to urgent needs of the Romanian society and economy.

At the very beginning of the period, academicians and professors tried to set up economic and social associations and institutes.

There was a close link between institutionalized research in the social field (including the economic one), and higher education, based on complementary and mutual stimulation of their creative capability. On one hand, personalities of the higher economic education system created research associations and institutes and, on the other hand, prestigious researchers from the economic research institutes set up new faculties within higher education entities and trained people for new fields/disciplines.

←11 | 12→

Although autonomous, the research activity within the higher education system was a public endeavour, and the new research institutions were mostly non-governmental but still receiving support from the state.

The debates within the Assembly of Deputies on the 1926 state budget were focused on specific institutions: “Among the non-governmental institutions partly financed from the state budget we find: The Institute of Conjuncture, The Romanian Social Institute, The Romanian Economic Institute, The Institute of Social Science, etc. They published journals, organized conferences on major economic and social issues”. (Monitorul Oficial, 1926, p. 378)

In a paper on the institutional organisation of the economic domain between 1918 and 1948, Nicolae Păun considers that institutions are contact areas between the state authorities and economic life. By including the above-mentioned non-governmental institutions in this category, the author concludes that all these institutions contributed to defining, supporting and implementing the strategy for the development and the modernisation of the country. (Păun, 2009)

The benchmarks of the activity of the above institutions are briefly presented below.

In April 1918, when seeking refuge in Iaşi (the country’s capital during the war), Virgil Madgearu1, along with Dimitrie Gusti, Vasile Pârvan and Ioan Răducanu, set up the Association for Social Study and Reform. “We had to consider a new social – created with some help within the narrower borders and for less Romanians – able to restore what had been torn and later to recover what had been lost in ideals. The material loss had to be covered by sum moral surplus. That was the general atmosphere”. (Institutul Social Român 1921–1926, 1926, p. 2)

Stimulated by the objectives of the association many economists, sociologists and practitioners joined it. The same year, in December, after the Great Union the Association established its head office in Bucharest.

In April 1919, the Association published the first issue of “Arhiva pentru ştiinţă şi reformă social” (The Archives of Social Science and Reform) and suggested the creation of the Romanian Social Institute to work together with the Association. This action was unsuccessful and in 1923 they decided its transformation into the Romanian Social Institute2. Although initially their intention was that the membership should not be compatible with the status of politician, later this restriction was given up since the members “could give up their political links” and devote their time to the study.

The Romanian Social Institute (RSI), headed by Dimitrie Gusti accompanied by Virgil Madgearu as secretary general intended: to deal with issues related to social science, especially to those concerning Romania’s social state; to make practical ←12 | 13→suggestions to finalize the social reform; to provide the members and other persons interested in social matters with means of documentation and dissemination.

Initially, the members (about 100 in number) were included in the following departments: agricultural, financial, commercial, industrial, juridical, administrative, political, social and demographic hygiene, cultural, political and social theory. Later, two other departments were created: the foreign policy department and the sociology and “feminine studies” department. The leadership of the Institute was provided by a committee consisting of president, former presidents of the institute, presidents and former presidents of the departments, general secretary and former general secretaries, as well as several full members elected by the General Assembly. (“Arhiva pentru ştiinţă şi Reformă socială”, 1929, p.32)

The application for membership had to be supported by three members and submitted to the president of the department. After checking on the compliance with the professional competence and the quality of the scientific papers, the membership was granted after the department’s vote and the leadership’s confirmation.

The activities of the departments resulted in publications, conferences and draft laws. During the first ten years, the RSI organized series of lectures on various issue: The New Constitution of Romania (23 lectures): Doctrines of the Political Parties (18 lectures); Romania’s Foreign Policy (20 lectures); Romanian Social Life after the War (17 lectures); Capitalism in the Social Life (20 lectures); Village and Town (21 lectures); The Policy of Culture (27 lectures); The Theory of Culture (10 lectures); Romanian Issues in the International Context (156 lectures, by the 12 departments of the Institute).

As High Regent G. Buzdugan said in 1928 on the tenth anniversary of the RSI, its activity served real needs of consolidation, reorganisation and legal unification of Romania: “Of course, the significant social and political changes, as well as profound disturbances in the economic and financial field caused by the war, cause daily conflicts of interests and major problems to both the proper organisation of the State’s internal social life and the harmonisation of the international relations within the new legal and political order of the world. This shows the importance and the great benefits of the objective studies on present social, political and economic issues, which – by examining their complexity and the social realities and the practical solutions requiring regulation – provide a firm base for producing lasting legal works; and on international matters, documented studies and properly controlled information help us to find equitable solutions, by taking into account the country’s legitimate interests, aiming at strengthening the relationship among the peoples, in a spirit of peace and friendship, to which all the international events are destined after the war. (“Arhiva pentru ştiinţă şi Reformă socială“, 1929, p.3)

On the same occasion, Dimitrie Gusti said “The slow, smooth and upward evolution of the RSI consisted of three characteristic phases: the heroic phase of the association establishment in Iaşi, the positive phase of achievements consisting in the transformation of the Association into Institute, and, finally the present phase, which I might call the phase of the great expectations. Considered in the ←13 | 14→beginning an intellectual adventure by some members of our young culture – rebelling against the sacrifices required by the scientific discipline. The Association and later, the Institute faced hard times, when difficulties seemed hard to overcome, courage faded, means were absent and the others’ indifference made the prospects seem gloomy. There was mistrust and uncertainty, which fortunately did not last long, owing to daring attempts, profound beliefs, and strong optimism and especially to the awareness of the purpose to achieve the rebuilding and the consolidation of the moral and intellectual richness of the enlarged country”. (“Arhiva pentru ştiinţă şi Reformă socială”, 1929, p. 8)

The members of the Institute decided to award prizes for remarkable achievements in economic research.

“The first award was possible owing to 80,000 lei donated by a member, of which an indivisible annual prize of 4,000 lei was to be given for an original paper on issues concerning the industrial economics in Romania. The prize is called ‘Mihail Manoilescu’ after the founder” (Institutul Social Român 1921–1926, 1926, p. 13)

After 1926, the Institute was located in the Palace of the Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studied in Bucharest.

The activity was closely linked to the international scientific circles. Here lectures were delivered by Albert Thomas, Erik Colban, C. Zimmerman, representatives of the Nations Society such as Celestin Bouglé, Leon Duguit, Edourd Chapuisat, Henry Truchy, James T. Shotwell, etc.

For their involvement in the activity of the Institute, several foreign personalities were granted honorary membership: Celestin Bouglé (a Sorbone professor), William Smith Curberston (former US minister in Romania, Carnegie and Rockefeller Trusts), Sir Eric Drumont (Secretary General of the United Nations), Guillaume Léonce Dupart (a Geneva University professor), Edourd Lambert (a Lyon University professor), Gaston Richard (Secretary General of the International Institute of Sociology, in Paris), James T. Shotwell (a University of Colombia professor), Werner Sombart (president of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie), Albert Thomas (director of B.I.T., in Geneva), Henry Truchy (a professor at the Faculty of Law, in Paris), Leopold von Wiese (Secretary General of Forschungs-Institute für Sozialwissenschaften), etc.

Feeling a need for a new edition of the “Romanian Encyclopaedia”3 (3 volumes) published between 1898 and 1904, by Cornel Diaconovich4, the Romanian Social Institute included in the 1928 programme a new work adapted to the new geopolitical context: “The Social, Economic and Political Dictionary of Romania”.

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The work was supposed to include articles concerning various domains: sociology, ethics and general politics; history of political, economic and social doctrines; juridical encyclopaedia; constitutional law; administrative law; international public law; history of the Romanian law; political economics (history of economic facts; theoretical political economics; national political economics); finance; statistics; the co-operative system; agricultural issues; industrial legislation; social policy; foreign policy; political biographies; education legislation; church legislation; military legislation; social history of the Romanians; economic and political geography of Romania; popular culture in Romania, etc. It became a representative work of president of Romania.

After several unsuccessful attempts of cooperation between the Romanian Social Institute and ASTRA, in 1932 Virgil Leonte, who had already initiated a smaller encyclopaedia, brought together teams from the two institutions besides other scientific personalities and started the “The Encyclopaedia of Romania”.

“The Encyclopaedia of Romania” was published in four volumes between 1928 and 1943, under Dimitrie Gusti’s coordination and with support from the Royal Cultural Foundation through a multidisciplinary approach to important areas of the social life in order to provide a picture of Romania of that time. “The ideal of the desired Social, Economic and Political Dictionary of Romania, a maturity work of the RSI, flourished here in freedom” (Gusti, 1943, p. III). The young economist, Costin C. Kiriţescu contributed to the fourth volume: now the National Institute for Economic Research bears his name.

“The Archives for Social Science and Reform” was published by the Romanian Social Institute in Bucharest from 1919 to 1943. The last issue was published in French to be presented at the International Congress of Sociology in Paris.

The publication was headed by Dimitrie Gusti (1919–1920) as director, Virgil Madgearu (1919–1923) as editor-in-chief and Nicolae Ionescu as secretary. The publication received studies, reviews and notes from Virgil Madgearu, Anibal Teodorescu, Corneliu Botez, Andrei Rădulescu, Manoil Manoilescu, Grigore Tăbăcaru, Gheorghe Ionescu-Siseşti, Ion Cornea, Victor Tufescu, Victor Papilian, and papers from Victor Slăvescu, Mihai Ralea, Dumitru Ion Suchianu, Emanoil Bucuţa, Ramiro Ortiz, G. Bogdan Duică, Ioan C. Filitti and others.

In 1944, Dimitrie Gusti was elected president of the Romanian Academy. In 1946 he set up the National Council of Scientific Research; he was the president of the Council until 1948. (Info INS, 2017, p. 3)

On January 15th 1921, “Revista economică” (The Economic Journal) mentioned the establishment of the Romanian Economic Institute in Bucharest, with material and moral aid from several economic entities “to support and to stimulate them to get involved in facilitating the country’s agricultural, commercial and industrial progress and in nationalizing the enterprises, dependent on the foreign capital, from the liberated territories”. (“Revista economică”, no. 2, 1921)

Ba analysing the domestic and external economic and financial developments, the Institute was supposed to provide information and suggest measures to intensify the agricultural and industrial production, to facilitate transport and ←15 | 16→merchandise exchange at home and abroad, to put forward proposals and approve economic and financial draft laws, to promote measures for the organisation of the public and private loans, to provide information to enterprise and to establish relationships with foreign enterprises based on mutual exchanges.

Periodicals, in Romanian and French, and conferences were considered for raising the intellectual level of the employees of the Romanian enterprises.

In brief, the Institute had to help the Romanian enterprises to understand the domestic and global developments “for sound guiding”.

In February 1921, the same publication (“Revista economică”, no. 8, 1921) wrote that almost all banks and companies formed, under the leadership of the National Bank of Romania, the Romanian Economic Institute “in order to create an organisation, stemming from Romanian institutes and enterprises, for guiding private energies and entrepreneurship to play their role in the general economic development of Great Romania”.

Later, other banks, loan companies, saving banks, industrial and commercial companies as well as businessmen, industrialists and others became members.

When the Institute was founded, a temporary management committee was set up including: Oscar Chiriacescu (former minister, director of the National Bank), V.I. Brătianu (former minister and delegated manager of the Romanian Bank), Gr. Călinescu (general director of the Discount Bank), Gr. Creangă, August Opran, Al. N. Ştefănescu and Gr. Golescu (general director of the Agricultural Bank).

Over time, the Board of Directors of the Institute included L. Mrazek (vice-president, professor, director of the Geological Institute), L. Golescu (general director of the Statistics) and C. Casassovici (industrialist) as delegated managers, Constantin D. Buşilă (professor at the Polytechnic School), R. Halfon (delegated manager at the Commercial Union and the Chrissoveloni Bank), G. Ionescu Siseşti (professor at the High Agricultural School and director of the House of the Communities and Agricultural Exploitations of the Central Cooperation House), Al. Perieţeanu (former director of the Romanian Railways) as managers, and Gheron Netta as director of the Institute (former minister of finance, professor at the Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studies).

Many other people were members of the management team over the years: C.I. Băicoianu (director of the National Bank of Romania), C. Bungeţianu (professor at the Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studies), Şt. Cerchez (president of the Union of the Industrialists), etc.

The Institute received financial support under the form of subscriptions from the members as percentage of the paid-in stock capital.

Between 1921 and 1948, the activity of the Institute was presented in “Buletinul Institutului Economic Românesc” (Bulletin of the Romanian Economic Institute), a periodical. The Bulletin consisted of two sections: the first section presents the current activity of the institute, studies and solutions to various matters provided by the members and the second section includes studies and reports submitted by collaborators. Besides, the Bulletin included the following headings: “Economic Notes and Information” on the developments in various countries in domains, ←16 | 17→such as agricultural, animal ad forestry products, mining and industrial products, goods exchanges, customs procedures, communication means, transport, fairs and exhibitions, values exchanges, banks, stock exchanges and finance, etc.; “Economic Press Archives” dealing with issues, such as general economics, agriculture, industry, labour, trade, transport, economic policy, finance, etc.; “Economic Statistics” for several branches; “Received Books” including presentations of books by Romanian and foreign authors. (Ioan-Franc, 2017, p. 93–94)

“The Romanian Economic Bibliography” is a supplement dealing with books included in the specialized literature. The most frequent issues covered the following: trade (in wood, oil, cereals, meat, fruits, wine); national industry (oil extraction and processing); monetary and loan policy, price policy, stock exchange and banks, accounting issues, the economic importance of the Danube Delta and the Constanţa Port, popular banks and cooperation, foreign capital in Great Romania, as well as studies on other countries: Germany, Czechoslovakia, the United States, Russia, Finland, Greece, Austria, Egypt, Bulgaria, Poland, Canada, England, Japan, etc.

By number of contributions, the leading authors are: Gheron Netta, Xenofon Netta, Victor Slăvescu, M.I. Mihăilescu, Constantin Karadja, Mihail Pizanty, C, Bungeţianu, Marin Mihuţ, Dimitrie P. Pascu, L. Colescu, G. Popescu, Eugen V. Torgaşev, Caius Bartoşi, Paul Demetriad, Cicero C. Gorciu, Scarlat Panaitescu, Lucian Turdeanu. (Ioan-Franc, 2017, p. 95)

In 1936, Virgil Madgearu, as president of the Romanian Association for the Study of Economic Conjuncture, set up the Romanian Institute for the Study of Economic Conjuncture5, which he headed from 1936 to 1940.

This Institute was a benchmark for many researchers and stimulated the economic research. Among its members we find Gheorghe Zane, Mircea Vulcănescu, Roman Moldovan, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Florin Oromolu, Gheorghe Rădulescu. The Association functioned until 1940. (Economistul, nr. 16–17/2016)

The Institute published “Buletinul conjuncturii economice” (Bulletin of Economic Conjuncture), quarterly between 1936 and 1939, and monthly between June 1938 and August 1940.

The experience acquired by Madgearu in this Institute helped him prepare a monumental synthesis in “Evoluţia economiei româneşti după războiul mondial” (Evolution of the Romanian Economy after the World War), published in 1940.

Gheorghe Zane said that the presence of Virgil Madgearu “as a head of this institution is a proof of his endeavour to propagate the progress made in economic science. He headed the Institute with his well-known exigency, and the outcome is obvious. He stimulated the team work in the Institute. The bulletins were first read, analysed and discussed with his collaborators; today they are precious sources with regard to the Romanian economy of that time. V. Madgearu saw also the ←17 | 18→usefulness of the monographic method and supported his friend Dimitrie Gusti”. (Enciclopedia României, 1943)

The research activity of the time is revealed by publications of that time. Besides the above journals and publications we should add: “Independenţa economică” (Economic Independence) (1918–1948) on economic and social matters, “Revista ALACI” (ALACI Journal), “Annals of the Academy of High Commercial and Industrial Studies” (1939–1944), “Analele statistice şi economice” (Economic and Statistical Annals), “Economia naţională” (National Economy), a newspaper published until 1941.

A detailed presentation of these publications, editorial teams, authors and themes may be found in “Publicistica economică românească 1918–1947” (Romanian Economic Publications 1918–1947), coordinated by Professor Valeriu Ioan-Franc6.

2. The Centralized Economy, 1948–1989

Under the impact of the new ideological orientation the private and non-governmental institute of research in social sciences were dissolved and the research carried out by public institutions was based on planning with an applicative purpose.

In 1948, major changes took place in the national cultural and scientific area. The Romanian Economic Institute and the Institute for the Study of International Economic Conjuncture disappeared. Sociology was considered “a reactionary and bourgeois science” and no longer a profession or an institution. In the same year the Romanian Social Institute and the National Council of Scientific Research were also dissolved (Zamfir et al, 2010, pp. 3–16)

Although there were more institutes and researchers in the economic field, their activity was influenced – especially in the 1950s and 1960s – by the communist ideology requiring to mention the importance of the Communist Party’s documents and to reject any contrary opinion. Valuable researchers were isolated, marginalized or even sentenced to prison.

In this context, some researchers decided to avoid any links with the Communist Party’s ideology and policy and oriented their research towards theoretical and methodological issues based on mathematics when dealing with the consumption structure, the economic modelling, the economic efficiency, the optimal ←18 | 19→relation between accumulation and consumption, the economic equilibrium, the assessments of prediction models, etc.

The fundamental research was mainly carried out by the Romanian Academy and its subordinated institutes in poor conditions.

In 1953, the Economic Research Institute (ERI) of the Romanian Academy was set up following the Council of Ministers Decision nr. 251/77; it has lasted to the present7.

Over time, the Institute was coordinated by several institutions: the Romanian Academy between 1953 and 1970; the Academy of Social and Political Sciences, between 1970 and 1973; and the Central Institute for Economic Research between 1973 and 1989. (Zaman et al, 2013)

In spite of the Marxist ideology constraints, the political and ideological subordination, and when the party papers and the speeches delivered by Secretary General of the Communist Party were mandatory issues, personalities of the economic science created real schools, especially in the following fields: History of the national economy: Gheorghe Zane, N.N. Constantinescu, Costin Murgescu, Victor Jinga, Gheorghe Dobre, Ion Veverca; Demo-economics and economic sociology: Vladimir Trebici. Constantin Grigorescu; Mathematical statistics and econometry: Costache Moineagu, Aurel Iancu, Eugen Balaş, Tiberiu Schatteles, Marcu Horovitz.

Cherishing the tradition of the Romanian monographic school established by Dimitrie Gusti, the ERI conducted complex monographic studies on the economic and social changes in the rural area and industrial enterprises by direct research on site, including survey-type investigations of the peasants’ households.

Under the aegis of the Institute, important works were published: “Contribuţii la istoria capitalului străin în România” (Contributions to the foreign capital history in Romania), coordinated by C. Murgescu and N.N. Constantinescu (Editura Academiei R.P.R., 1960) and “Sistemul bănesc al leului şi precursorii lui” (The leu money system and precursors), Costin C. Kiriţescu, of which volume I in 1964, volume II in 1967 and volume III in 1971.

In the Collection “Texte din istoria gândirii economice româneşti” (Papers on the history of the Romanian economic thought) the following were published: a volume about the 19th century economists (an introductory study by Gh. Zane); a volume on the economic thought of P.S. Aurelian (an introductory study by C. Murgescu) and a volume on the economic thought of Xenopol (an introductory study by I. Veverca).

In the Colection “Texte din istoria gândirii economice universal” (Papers on the history of the universal economic thought) included: two volumes of David Ricardo’s economic works (an introductory study by C. Murgescu), “The Wealth of Nations” (in Romanian) by Adam Smith (an introductory study by N.N. ←19 | 20→Constantinescu) and some works of Charles Fourier (an introductory study by G. Mladenatz and preface by Gh. Zane).

The Institute enjoyed some openness in the early 1960s which was mostly the outcome of the endeavours made by Gheorghe Rădulescu, Roman Moldovan and Costin Murgescu. They stimulated the knowledge of the world research in this field but under the Communist Party’s political and ideological control. In this respect, the library of the Institute played a leading role.

After 1965, the Institute initiated the publication of “Bibliotheca Oeconomica”, “Caiete de studio” (Study Papers), and “Caiete documentare” (Documentary Papers) for the dissemination of the research outcome. As for the economic history and thought, the 250 volumes published within the “Memoria Oeconomica” and “Idei economice contemporane” (Contemporary Economic Ideas) collections occured in a more relaxed environment.

Starting in 1967, professor Murgescu consider the transition from the branch-based research (industry, agriculture, trade, etc.) to issue-based research. Then the programmes included issues concerning the economic equilibrium and optimum, economic growth models, branch links balance and the Cobb-Douglas production function. New themes were approached: environment protection and the assessment of the development level of Romania. As a rule, the analysis of the economic realities in our country included references to other countries: international comparisons became a current research method. In 1967, the Institute received the right to carry out doctoral activities. Most of the doctoral theses were published in “Bibliotheca Oeconomica Collection”.

Several generations of researchers contributed to the prestigious activity of the Institute. The first generation included the following researchers: I. Desmireanu, D. Dumitru, C. Grigorescu, N. Belli, M. Horovitz, V. Pascu, Gh. Dobre, C. Bogdan, Gr. Vâlceanu, S. Perţ, M. Ştefan, Gh. Răboacă, Tr. Lazăr, Gr. Corlan, C. Cămăşoiu, M. Stănescu, I. Anghel, S. Sava, V. Axenciuc, C. Moineagu, C. Iacobovici-Boldişor, T. Schatteles, I. Lemnij, R.C. Demetrescu, V. Iordache and M. Ion.

This was followed by the generation of Gh. Zaman, M. Ciumara, S. Sandu, M. Poenaru, M. Molnar, I. Bratu, C. Ciutacu, O. Nicolaescu, M. Naneş, V. Pilat, Gh. Manolescu, H. Puwak, R. Creţoiu, E. Ionescu, A. Platon, A. Popper.

The third generation included valuable ERI researchers such as: D. Dăianu, A. Dochia, G. Georgescu, I. Ghizdeanu, Gh. Oprescu, A. Rădulescu, D. Aldea, S. Tănăsescu, F. Pavelescu, C. Popa, S. Dinu, Z. Belli (Goschin), I. Nişulescu, A. Zahiu (Dachin), V. Vasile, G. Predoşanu, M. Popovici, L. Chisăgiu, V. Predoşanu.

Among the collaborators of the Institute we find remarkable scientists, members of the Romanian Academy: Gh. Zane, Al. Bârlădeanu, R. Moldovan, C. Murgescu, I. Rachmut, M. Biji, N.N. Constantinescu, C. Kiriţescu, E. Dobrescu, T. Postolache, C. Ionete, V. Trebici and A. Iancu.

Many other specialists from the education area and state institutions were involved in the research work: I. Goliat, Gh. Dolgu, I. Berceanu, P. Jica, A. Negucioiu, M. Părăluţă, V. Spiridon, V. Candelă, M. Popescu, V.V. Topor, M.C. Demetrescu, Gh. Creţoiu and I. Bulborea.

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The ERI’s area of activity was more clearly defined because other economic research centres were set up within the ministries and other central organisations.

On April 1st 1967, the Institute for the Study of International Economic Conjuncture was set up within the Ministry of Foreign Trade. At the end of 1968, the institute was organized as a unit of the Council of Ministers, which included an Office for the Study of World Economy.

“The Madgerian tradition […] was resumed three decades later, when – on April 20th 1967 – the Institute for the Study of International Economic Conjuncture was set up as a budgetary entity with legal personality, initially headed by Professor Alexandru Zamfir, a real authority in the field. He was followed by Ion Stoian former minister of foreign trade, and then by Costin Murgescu for 20 years”. (Economistul no. 40–41, 2014)

It was a good time for national economic research. The Institute conducted many studies and made syntheses concerning Romania’s positioning in accordance with evolution of the world economy for: promoting international economic and commercial relationship; ensuring easier access of the Romanian products to foreign markets and improving the export competitiveness: promoting open relationships with international financial organisations (IMF, World Bank); direct involvement in multilateral commercial negotiations on the foreign trade liberalisation (GATT); providing support especially to developing countries through UNO programmers (UNCTAD conferences, G77).

In 1973, the Central Institute for Economic Research (CIER) was set up to coordinate the research activity in the economic domain.

The CIER was organized similarly to the structure of the Economic Research Institute. The Institute included: specialized institutes and centres; research conducted by the “Ştefan Gheorghiu” Academy; departments/laboratories and the whole research activity carried out by the higher economic education system (The Faculty of Economic Studies, economic faculties of the universities); research conducted by the political economy departments and teams of the technical higher education system; the Prospective Research Laboratory of the Bucharest University.

In 1976, the CIER was reorganized “in order to ensure a unitary concept and the coordination of economic research for the organic integration of research with education and economic practice and the efficient use of the research potential in this field”8.

Its scope was expanded to include, besides the coordination of the economic research, studies and analyses concerning the country’s economic development and the improvement of the economic activity of the enterprises. The entire research activity of the economic research staff as well as of the higher education staff ←21 | 22→teaching economics was carried out within the CIER. The research outcome was disseminated through debates on economic practice and theory as well as partnerships with similar entities from other countries. It’s Centre for Information and Documentation played a leading role in coordinating the publication activity of the economic research units and the editorial board of “Revista economică” (Economic Journal).

At the same time new entities are set up: the Institute of Industrial Economics; the Institute of Domestic Trade and Tourism Economics; the Institute of Finance, Money Movement and Prices; and the Centre for Information, Documentation and Synthesis. Some of them were renamed: the Institute of Economic Research became the Institute of Socialist Economics, the Research Institute of Agricultural Economics turned into the Institute of Agricultural Economics, the Institute for the Study of International Economic Conjuncture became the Institute of World Economy and the Institute for Planning Studies and Research was called the Institute for Planning and Forecasting.

At the same time, territorial centres of the CIER were establishment within the economics faculties in Cluj-Napoca, Iaşi, Timişoara and Craiova.

Finally, the CIER network consisted of seven research entities with legal personality (the Institute of Socialist Economics, the Institute of Industrial Economics, the Institute of Agricultural Economics, the Institute of World Economy, the Institute of Trade and Tourism Economics, the Institute for Planning and Forecasting, the Institute of Finance, Money Movement and Prices), the four territorial centers and the Centre for Information, Documentation and Synthesis. This structure lasted till early 1990s.

Among the general directors of the CIER we find Ioan V. Totu who stimulated courageous economic research. In 1977 he coordinated the publication of “Progresul economic în România: 1877–1977” (Economic Progress in Romania, 1877–1977).

Each of the component institutes of the CIER approached specific complex issues which required the involvement of specialists from several domains.

The Institute of Socialist Economics conducted studies on: economic laws; the utilization of material resources; the modernisation of the national economy, branch correlation and labour organisation; the territorial development of the production forces; expanded reproduction and the production and utilisation of the national income; the management of the national development fund and of the consumption fund; improvement in the organisation and management of the economic and social activity; improving productivity and efficiency; environmental economics; history of the national economy

This is proved by the articles published in the Study Papers and the information included in “Anuarul lucrărilor de cercetare ştiinţifică în domeniul economiei”, 1976–1980 (Yearbook of Economic Research, 1976–1980) and further editions published by “Revista economică” (Economic Journal) coordinated by Alexandru Deteşan and Valeriu Ioan-Franc.

There are many other works dealing with economic issues of the time: S. Perţ, “On the contribution of labour training to economic growth” (Editura ←22 | 23→Academiei RSR, Bucharest, 1976); C. Grigorescu, “Population and economy” (Editura Academiei RSR, Bucharest, 1979); C. Grigorescu (coordinator), “Efficient use of labour in industry and constructions” (1981, authors: S. Perţ, I. Bratu, L. Mihăilescu, C. Ciutacu, O. Naneş, G. Toma, D. Mihalcea, I. Petrov); M. Morovitz (coordinator), “Specific investment and higher economic efficiency. International comparisons” (1981, authors: C. Grigorescu, G. Zaman, S. Sandu, M. Ciumara, M. Pop, I. Resteman, G. Danielescu); S. Sava (coordinator), “Neo-Keynesism in Western European economic thought” (1981, authors: E. Ionescu, M. Rudăreanu, D. Dăianu); C. Grigorescu, M. Horovitz, Gh. Zaman, S. Sandu, G. Danielescu, “Labour productivity in Romania and other countries” (1981); Gh. Răboacă, S. Perţ, I. Bratu, L. Mihăilescu, C. Ciutacu, O. Naneş, G. Toma, D. Mihalcea, “Population and workforce in Romania and other countries” (1981); C. Grigorescu (coordinator), “The experience of some capitalist countries in agriculture development” (1983, authors: M. Stănescu, R. Creţoiu, Şt. Mihai, I. Ghizdeanu, G. Georgescu, M. Stancu, A. Bărbulescu); C. Grigorescu (coordinator), “Assessment of Romania’s economic and social development – A comparative study of 118 countries” (1985, authors: M. Stănescu, Şt. Mihai, R. Creţoiu, G. Georgescu, I. Ghizdeanu, A. Bărbulescu, S. Tănăsescu, Gh. Oprescu, R. Stroie, N.V. Mihăiţă); C. Grigorescu, M. Stănescu (coordinators), Gh. Răboacă (coordinator), “Full employment and efficient use of labour” (1988, authors: S. Perţ, C. Ciutacu, F.M. Pavelescu, G. Toma, D. Mihalcea, I. Petrov) and many others. Relevant studies were published in the 41 volumes of “Bibliotheca Oeconomica”.

The Institute of Industrial Economics (IIE) made research focused on: the management of the raw material and energy stock; the training and the utilisation of labour; technical progress and investment efficiency; the intensive utilisation of the production capacities; improvement in the technical-material supply; the production organisation and labour productivity improvement; ways to reduce the material consumption and the production expenses; higher economic efficiency, the efficiency of specialisation and production diversification; proportions and correlations of the industrial branches and sectors; the territorial development of industry; the development of transports; improvement of the ministry-central-enterprise relations; improvement of the system of indicators, norms and regulations used in industry.

Here are some representative works of the researchers of the Institute: Corneliu Rusu, “Structural information organisation of an enterprise” (Editura Politică Bucharest, 1978): Aurel Iancu, “Economic growth and environment” (Editura Politică, Bucharest,, 1979); Aurel Iancu (coordinator), “Power comsumption and the production structure” (Editura Academiei RSR, Bucharest, 1979); Aurel Iancu, Vasile Bogdan, Alexandru Mihăilescu, Mihai Giuvelea, “Resources and the structure of the industry” (Editura Academiei RSR, Bucharest, 1980); Corneliu Russu, “The organisational framework of an enterprise” (Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucharest 1983); Corneliu Russu (coordinator), Dan Sava, Olga Mihăiescu, Elena Pelinescu, “Technical progress – Efforts, effects, efficiency” (Editura Politică, Bucharest, 1984); Corneliu Russu (coordinator), Olga Mihăiescu, Elena Pelinescu, ←23 | 24→“Scientific and technical creation and industrial innovation” (Editura Politică, Bucharest, 1989).

The themes included in the research programme were many and most of them satisfied some real needs: C. Russu (coordinator), “The influence of new and modern products on the economic indicators of the productive units” (1981, authors: D. Sava, O. Mihăilescu, E. Pelinescu. I. Calcan, V. Mihuţ, R. Cochinţu); A. Iancu (coordinator), “Investment and the use of the basic investment factors” (1982, authors: A. Ionescu, M. Givelea, P. Coman, L.L. Albu, C. Panaitescu, M. Şurelea, A. Volintiru, A. Oprea, D. Creţu, M.L. Tomoşoiu); L.L. Albu, C. Panaitescu, M. Şuvelea, D. Creţu, C. Viezuină, “Higher efficiency of the production capacities in industry” (1983); C. Russu, G. Manea, “Modernizing the productive activity in heavy industry branchers to improve economic efficiency” (1987, authors: N. Hornianschi, O. Mihăescu, E. Pelinescu, V. Platon, R. Ciorpaciu, L. Marinescu, T. Popescu) and others.

Relevant studies were published in over 90 issues of Studii de economie industrială (Industrial Economics Studies).

The Institute of Agricultural Economics (IAE) focused on issues such as: the intensive and reasonable use of land; agricultural production zoning, branch combination and higher economic efficiency; efficiency of mechanisation and fertilisation, of irigations and other land reclamation works; production expenditures and ways to increase the net income: higher efficiency of the agricultural production; the economic and organisational consolidation of the state-owned and cooperative agricultural units; the improvement of the economic relations between the state-owned and cooperative units; agricultural activities of the hauseholds; the organisation, management and planning of the agricultural units; the production organisation in agro-industrial units. Along with other research institutes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry, the Institute provided the economic foundation of studies in the agricultural field.

The studies in the agricultural economics focused on: the agricultural production zoning, under the scientific influence of S. Hartia, territorial distribution and economic efficiency in the agricultural production. (Gavrilescu, 2003)

In the 1980s, the research and the study in the agricultural domain were confined to technical issues.

We present some of the representative works of the researchers of the Institute: I. Teşu, M. Stroe, G. Iosif, “Meat production economy”, 1982; S. Vrejbă, I. Braşoveanu, V. Baghinski, “Economic efficiency of the chemical treatment in agriculture” (1967); S. Hartia, “Linear programming for farm management” (1975); V. Hălmăjan, “Territorial distribution of the agricultural production by economic-mathematical methods” (1977); M. Zaharia, F. Toderoiu, Fl. Ciocoiu, “The economic efficiency of the full combating of diseases and pest of wheat and sugar beet” (1983): S. Hartia (coordinator), “Increasing productivity of agri-food production and economic effects” (1987, authors: C. Alexandri, N. Bogdan, M. Costea, R. Coţianu, I. Davidovici, D. Gavrilescu, M. Grodea); M. Ibănescu, C. Scutaru (coordinators), “Economic-mathematic model for conventional and non-conventional energy sources in agriculture (model testing)” (1988), etc.

←24 |

The economic-mathematical modelling of various agricultural processes implied models for the optimisation of the size and structure of the agricultural enterprises, of the equipment stock, of the territorial distribution of the equipment and of the imvestment. Here are some important works: I. Davidovici, S. Stegăroiu, M. Vincze, C. Scutaru, S. Hartia, “Modelling decision-making in the agricultural production system” (1982); I. Davidovici, V. Baghinschi, I. Bold, “Economical use of the production factors by farms” (1989).

The Institute for Planning and Forecasting (IPF) conducted studies on: optimisation of the national economy size; the correlation between accumulation and consumption; factors of economic growth pace; balance among branches; investment efficiency; planning methodology; the system of indicators for the national economy development and long-term economic forecasting.

Studies were prepared for improving planning in industry, agriculture, constructions, transport and education.

The first generation of researchers who contributed to the institute development and the training of future researchers was represented by: Ionel Desmireanu, Toma Melinte, Eugen Topală, Ana Bulgariu, Iulian Ursache, Pompilia Lupu, Szabo Francisc, Leonard Cazan, Elena Zamfirescu, Maria Scarlat, Ionel Florescu etc.

The second generation included the following researchers: Aristide Diaconescu, Aurel Cămara, Ana Maria Ciumara, Mihuţ Miron Biji, Mircea Panaite, Marin Comşa, Cornelia Atudosiei, Narcisa Nica, Gabriela Frentz, Silvia Caragea, Felicia Roşca, Ilie Brezoianu, Marius Pop, Cornelia Pârlog, Marioara Iordan, Ileana Dumitrescu, Valeria Pop, Mădălina Dogaru, Victor Stoica, Vladimir Calmuschi.

The third generation was represented by the following researchers: Florina Tănase, Iulia Trăistaru, Dorin Jula, Dan Constantinescu, Cornel Târhoacă, Dorel Ailenei, Constantin Secăreanu, Mihai Roman, Emil Dinga, Gilbert Alin Sumedrea, Valentin Scarlat, Roxana Iftimie, etc.

The outcome of the forecasting research consisted of several papers on the economic and social development of the country’s districts by 1990, the consumption on the 1990 horizon, the durables market between 1985–1990, etc. (Constantinescu et al, 1992, p. 234)

First, we should mention the studies coordinated by C. Caloianu and Ion Desmireanu. Other studies covered several areas: Ion Desmireanu, “Economic efficiency of investment – Theoretical and methodological research” (1967); I. Desmireanu, A. Bulgariu, I. Manolache, N. Nica, M. Comşa, “The main synthetical indicators of Romania’s economic growth as against other countries” (1981): E. Topală, N. Nica, V. Stoica, F. Mihăilă, C, Atudosei, “Forecasting concerning the economic development in the world by 2000” (1981); E. Topală, M. Comşa, I. Florescu, N. Nica, E. Enache, V. Stoica, Z. Anghelescu, M. Varză, “Flows and structures of the national economy as shown by the inter-branch balance” (1983); I. Ursache, P. Lupu, A. Găburici, G. Mircea-Frenţ, M. Aungurenci, S. Caragea, I. Dumitraşcu, D. Stefu, E. Bândea, B. Murariu, “Documentary study of Romania’s territorial economic and social development”, 1944–1984 (1983): E. Ghizari (coordinator), “State and prospects for foreign loans” (1983, authors: I. Drăgulin, C. Dima, S. Bumbuianu, ←25 | 26→A. Pencu); M. Miron-Biji (coordinator), “Employment, distribution by branches and training of labour for the future, by taking into account labour resources and a higher labour productivity in all sectors” (1987, authors: M. Scarlat, A.-M. Ciumara, D. Jula, M. Iordan, M. Gheorghiu, V. Calmunchi, F. Tănase); M. Comşa (coordinator), “Alternatives regarding the development of the main branches of the Romanian economy”, 1991–2000 (1987, authors: A. Găburici, I. Florescu, G. Enache, C. Târhoacă, V. Stoica, M. Varză, etc.)

The Institute of World Economy (IWE) conducted research in the following fields: the socialist economies, the developing countries and developed capitalist countries; forecasting the world economy evolution; Romania’s participation in the international economic cooperation; ways to improve the foreign trade efficiency; COMECON economic cooperation; international markets’ conjuncture; changes and trends in world market prices; international economic organisations; the new international economic order; theories concerning the international economic relations; regulations and trends in the international economic laws concerning the trade, the cooperation and the international transport; maritime law; customs law, industrial property law; international arbitrage.

The IWE researchers provided practical support as regards the diversification of the geographical orientation of the Romanian foreign trade, including the political reasons, through daily data processing and weekly, quarterly and annual analyses of stock exchange listings, representative prices, price indices of manufactured goods, currency exchange rates, as well as the partner economies conjuncture the developments in the markets of basic products, semifabs and manufactured goods, etc.

The Institute published a wide range of papers and books: A. Rădulescu (coordinator), “Forecasting the international commercial flows of products of the machine-building industry up to 2010” (1981, authors: I. Ştefan, V. Vasilescu, P. Constantin, O. Stoicescu, I. Enache, G. Crăiniceanu, V. Petcu, L. Carata, L. Olaru, M. Cartas, E. Stănculescu); M. Modoveanu (coordinator), “Study in the demand for prospecting, exploration and exploitation of the ferrous and non-ferrous resources in some African countries” (1981); R. Gheorghiţă, M. Isărescu (coordinators), “The role of the financial levers in promoting the exports of machine-building industry products” (1981); M. Isărescu (coordinator), “Opportunities for growing and diversifying our exports to the American market. A comparative analysis” (1983); S. Frâncu, “The foreign debt of the African countries and its impact on the Romanian exports” (1986); E. Dijmărescu (coordinator), “Comparative analysis of Romania’s exchanges with Western European countries; opportunities to increase exports” (1983, authors: C. Albu, C. Damşa, R. Gheorghiţă, I. Lupu, F. Olteanu, N. Pop, L. Rădulescu, I. Fota); C. Murgescu, A. Ghibuţiu, N. Os, “International economic developments” (1987), etc.

By their market surveys, marketing studies, economic and political syntheses, the IWE researchers contributed to major decisions concerning the investment policy. Among them we find the iron ore market studies; studies for improving the processing of basic raw materials; market surveys for trucks, cars, tractors, ship ←26 | 27→diesel motors, shipbuilding; market surveys for the aluminium industry; studies for the optimisation of non-ferrous raw materials.

The Institute of Trade and Tourism Economics (ITTE) focused on the following domains: domestic market, goods demand evolution; trends and ways to develop restauration and the services to the population; trade network improvement; the organisation of commercial units; the improvement of the cooperative commercial units; relationships between suppliers and commercial units; domestic tourism development and planning; foreign market and international tourism forecasting; the legal regime of the international tourism.

A specific feature of the ITTE, if compared to the other CIER components, is that research was based on contracts concluded with entities from the real economy based on economic and financial self-management, which impacted on the thematic range of the studies, as follows:

(1) The study of the population’s demand for goods was based on the principles of marketing. It is conducted by means a panel of consumers (over 7,000 households) and a panel of the commercial network (1,400 units). The themes approached a wide range of issues from durables to basic food or services. The following researchers took part in this activity: A. Vainer, I. Marmandiu, D. Lupu, S. Cergău, V. Ştefănescu, L. Dimoftache, M. Ştefănescu, R. Damian, N. Teodorescu, V. Neagu, G. Dulliu, I. Buşilă, M. Constantin, V. Nicolae, C. Zimniceanu, G. Sticlaru, M. Titircă, N. Nistorescu, P. Rogoveanu, S. Năstase, I. Bradea, N. Kindlein, M. Codin, V, Gheorghe, A. Făinaru, C. Nicolau.

(2) The development of the retail and wholesale trade deals with the general and specific geography of the selling spaces and aims to set the network rules similar to those in developed countries. The spaces were allotted in two ways: on the groundfloor of the blocks of houses or as individual structures such as department stores, hypermarkets and commercial centres. The following researchers took part in this activity: A.-L. Ristea, R. Emilian, V. Adăscăliţei, V. Ionaşcu, M. Truşcă, S. Gronski, G. Dugar, G. Alfiri, Fl. Marinescu, M. Ionică, T. Anghelescu, A. Cristescu, M. Deju, V. Cojocaru, L. Zincă.

(3) Designing and implementing the computerized system in the trading system, mainly in large commercial areas and the equipping with computers. Pioneering researchers were C. Zaharia, R. Iatan, S. Enăchescu, A. Stănescu, C. Roşca-Cristea, V. Ioan-Franc, Al. Bârsănescu, I. Brătianu.


XXII, 1242
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2019 (November)
Economic growth Natural Resources Human capital Innovation Labour market Migration Energy Economic convergence European integration Financial crises Globalisation impact International investments International trade Forecasting tools
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2019., XXII, 1242 pp., 190 fig. b/w, 170 tables

Biographical notes

Luminita Chivu (Volume editor) Valeriu Ioan-Franc (Volume editor) George Georgescu (Volume editor) Jean-Vasile Andrei (Volume editor)

Chivu Luminita is General Director at the National Institute for Economic Research, Romanian Academy. She is a member of the Editorial Review Board, International Journal of Sustainable Economies Management. Ioan- Franc Valeriu is General Deputy Director at the National Institute for Economic Research, Romanian Academy. He is the head of the Centre for Economic Information and Documentation and Editor-in-chief of NIER publications. Georgescu George is General Deputy Director at the National Institute for Economic Research, Romanian Academy. He is a member of the National Statistical Council. Andrei Jean-Vasile is Assistant professor at Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti, Department of Business Administration. He is Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Sustainable Economies Management and Associate Editor of Economics of Agriculture.


Title: The Romanian Economy. A Century of Transformation (1918-2018)
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