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Poland Table of Contents


The Welfare System

The communist central planning system made a wide variety of payments to subsidize citizens in certain categories and encourage or discourage the activities of citizens in other categories. By the mid-1980s, the planning labyrinth created by such payments was such a fiscal burden that severe cuts were made in some payments. Like the health system, Poland's welfare system underwent substantial decentralization and restructuring, and all parts of the system suffered from limited funding in the transition period that began in 1989. Although a higher percentage of the population needed welfare services because of high unemployment in that period, the need to reduce the government's budget deficit caused drastic cuts in many services. Eventual reversal of this trend depends upon the speed with which Poland's economy rebounds from its transition crisis and upon the efficiency of the new welfare bureaucracies.

Data as of October 1992