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Economic Growth in Greece: Past Performance and Future Prospects

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  • Bosworth, Barry
  • Kollintzas, Tryphon

Abstract

This Paper examines the past growth performance of the Greek economy and examines the outlook for future growth in light of the macroeconomic stabilization that was achieved over the last half of the 1990s and following Greece's admission to the Euro currency zone. The Greek economy performed very poorly over the quarter century from 1970 to 1995, during which it was the poorest country in the European Union. We develop a set of growth accounts that attribute part of the deteriorating performance to a falloff in capital formation, but the most dramatic factor is a sharp deterioration in multi-factor productivity, or the efficiency of the economy. Part of the explanation lies with the collapse of macroeconomic policy that took the form of large fiscal deficits and very high rates of inflation; but the Greek economy also fares poorly in other dimensions of its economic institutions, such as competitiveness of its tradable goods sectors, a highly constrained labor market, and a reputation as an unattractive market for foreign capital. Over the last half of the 1990s, Greece undertook a successful program to restore fiscal and monetary stability – by the end of 2000, it had qualified for admission to the Euro currency system. The restoration of rational macroeconomic policies also led to an improvement in economic growth to the extent that Greece matched the performance of the rest of the EU over the 1995-2000 period. It also appears that these growth rates are sustainable and consistent with current rates of capital accumulation. The next step would be for Greece to attain an accelerated path of growth that would allow it to catch up with the rest of EU in future years, following perhaps the experience of Ireland. We conclude, however, that Greece still lacks a strategy to achieve a further acceleration of growth. It lacks a strong export sector comparable to that of Ireland; and, while it continues to be an unattractive destination for foreign direct investment, domestic rates of saving are insufficient to finance higher rates of capital investment. It needs to institute a faster past of reform of domestic economic institutions if it hopes to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

Suggested Citation

  • Bosworth, Barry & Kollintzas, Tryphon, 2001. "Economic Growth in Greece: Past Performance and Future Prospects," CEPR Discussion Papers 2852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2852
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dimitri G Demekas & Zenon Kontolemis, 1996. "Unemployment in Greece; A Survey of the Issues," IMF Working Papers 96/91, International Monetary Fund.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Papageorgiou, Theofanis & Vouldis, Angelos T., 2013. "Business cycles and economic crisis in Greece (1960–2011): A long run equilibrium analysis in the Eurozone," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 804-816.
    2. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Markaki, Maria, 2007. "Input - Output Modelling of Labour Productivity and the Working Time in Greece," MPRA Paper 74453, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Neumann, Michael, 2006. "Do Larger Nations Have Higher Unemployment Rates?," Discussion Paper Series 85, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    4. Bitros, George C., 2012. "From Riches to Rags or What Went Wrong in Greece," MPRA Paper 43504, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Konstantakis, Konstantinos N. & Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Vouldis, Angelos T., 2016. "Non performing loans (NPLs) in a crisis economy: Long-run equilibrium analysis with a real time VEC model for Greece (2001–2015)," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 451(C), pages 149-161.
    6. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Markaki, Maria & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2010. "The macroeconomic impacts of the Attiki Odos motorway in the Greek Economy: An Input–Output Analysis," MPRA Paper 74429, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2007. "Technology and Sector Clustering in the Greek Economy," MPRA Paper 74487, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Louzis, Dimitrios P. & Vouldis, Angelos T. & Metaxas, Vasilios L., 2012. "Macroeconomic and bank-specific determinants of non-performing loans in Greece: A comparative study of mortgage, business and consumer loan portfolios," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1012-1027.
    9. Gogos, Stylianos G. & Mylonidis, Nikolaos & Papageorgiou, Dimitris & Vassilatos, Vanghelis, 2014. "1979–2001: A Greek great depression through the lens of neoclassical growth theory," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 316-331.
    10. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2005. "The Basic Characteristics of the Regional Department of Attica and Estimates of Potential Output and Potential Labour," MPRA Paper 74452, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Antonopoulos, Christos & Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 2009. "The contribution of Information and Communication Technology investments to Greek economic growth: An analytical growth accounting framework," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 171-191, August.
    12. Athena Belegri-Roboli & Aggeliki Demertzi & Maria Markaki & Panayotis Michaelides, 2011. "An Input-Output Analysis of Environmental Effects of Infrastructure Investments in the Greek Economy: The Case of - Attiki Odos - motorway (refereed paper)," ERSA conference papers ersa10p481, European Regional Science Association.
    13. Belegri-Roboli, Athena & Demertzi, Aggeliki & Markaki, Maria & Michaelides, Panayotis G., 2011. "Labour Gap, Output Gap and Inflation by Economic Sector: The case of Greece and the Peloponnese Region (2000-2007)," MPRA Paper 74446, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic institutions; Greek economy; reforms; structural funds package;

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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