Growth in the ‘Cohesion Countries’: the Irish tortoise and the Portuguese hare, 1979-2002
The deepening of economic and financial integration in the European Union has led to different responses from the group of ‘cohesion’ countries. Ireland and Portugal stand out as the two extreme examples, as Ireland caught-up to the forerunners very rapidly after the launching of EMU, in 1992, whereas Portugal lost ground. This paper looks at structural shifts in order to explain the different performances of the two economies. We conclude that Portugal’s labour productivity lag was the outcome of a less favourable structure of employment; that differences in the structure of employment are not clustered in specific industries; and that such structural differences are associated with different factor endowments, namely physical and human capital.
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