The first phase of transition to a market economy in Central and Eastern Europe was characterized by a sharp decline in output. The fall in real GDP exceeded 20% while real industrial production even decreased by 40%. This text provides comprehensive multi-factor explanations for this unique and painful experience. Various hypotheses are analyzed: credit and fiscal policies may have been too tight; the collapse of the CMEA and the USSR came as a shock; domestic producers were neither experienced, nor flexible enough to adjust the output to new patterns of demand. It contains a combination of authors from East and West who have extensively analyzed new data based on national studies. If we can understand the causes of recent output decline then we can hope to assess the prospects for Eastern Europe. The book is intended for researchers and students as well as interested officials who deal with the transition of formerly centrally planned economies in Central and Eastern Europe.