The article makes an international comparison of the part played by services, notably services to business associations, in Hungary's economic development. After estimating the extent of these business services, the author analyses in more detail the corporate and economic attributes of business services (knowledge-intensive, professional) in the narrow sense. Services have helped to boost Hungary's economic development (in structural change, employment and productivity increases) in the last decade. Business services in the narrow sense have contributed to the greatest extent to the positive economic results, but despite an outstanding initial level, the intensity of their development has fallen behind that of the acceding countries including Hungary, with signs of breaks in the trend since 2000. The detailed examination of the economic characteristics of professional services has shed light on the extremely heterogeneous nature of their markets, the competitive disadvantage for domestic firms, and the dominance of foreign capital. The main lesson is that knowledge of this field is still patchy, due to lack of measurement (measurability) and important data, even though the catch-up process depends increasingly on developing these services and improving their efficiency.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.