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Looking for a Success in the Euro Crisis Adjustment Programs: The Case of Portugal

Listed author(s):
  • Ricardo Reis

Portugal’s adjustment program in 2010-14 under the troika was extensive and aimed at addressing its large debt and anemic growth, so it may serve as a blueprint for reforms in the Eurozone. This paper argues that, conditional on a diagnosis of the underlying problems of the Portuguese economy, the adjustment program failed to deliver in definitely addressing the problems in public finances, but succeeded in leaving promising signs of reform in the structure of the economy. In particular, on the negative side, public debt is still high, primary surpluses improved modestly, and public spending barely fell as the problem of ever-rising pension payments remained unsolved. On the positive side, unemployment fell sharply, exports and the current account balance rose, capital and labor reallocated to more productive and tradable sectors, and the country is growing faster than the EU for the first time in 15 years.

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File URL: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/ReisTextFall15BPEA.pdf
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Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 46 (2015)
Issue (Month): 2 (Fall) ()
Pages: 433-458

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Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:46:y:2015:i:2015-02:p:433-458
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  1. Obstfeld, Maurice, 2013. "Finance at Center Stage: Some Lessons of the Euro Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9415, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Dias, Daniel A. & Richmond, Christine & Wright, Mark L.J., 2014. "The stock of external sovereign debt: Can we take the data at ‘face value’?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 1-17.
  3. Duffy, David & FitzGerald, John & Timoney, Kevin & Byrne, David, 2014. "Quarterly Economic Commentary, Spring 2014," Forecasting Report, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number QEC20141, December.
  4. Ricardo Reis, 2013. "The Portugese Slump and Crash and the Euro Crisis," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 143-210.
  5. McQuinn, Kieran & Whelan, Karl, 2015. "Europe's Long-Term Growth Prospects: With and Without Structural Reforms," Papers WP501, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  6. Athanasios Orphanides, 2015. "The Euro Area Crisis Five Years After the Original Sin," Credit and Capital Markets, Credit and Capital Markets, vol. 48(4), pages 535-565.
  7. Luís Fonseca & Matteo Crosignani & Miguel Faria-e-Castro, 2015. "Central Bank Interventions, Demand for Collateral, and Sovereign Borrowing Costs," Working Papers w201509, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
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