From an agrarian society to a knowledge economy: Portugal, 1950-2010
This paper surveys the main features of Portuguese economic growth in the last half century, with a particular emphasis on the period after the return to democracy in 1974. It shows that significant structural change and capital deepening were the chief sources of growth in the Portuguese economy until the mid 1970s. From then onwards, human capital accumulation and productivity growth were the main reasons behind Portugal’s economic fortunes. Growth declined between these two phases, as in the rest of Europe. In Portugal, it slowed further after 1990. After surveying the main causes of the slowdown of the Portuguese economy in the last decade, Portugal’s main human capital indicators are compared to other European and OECD economies. While Portugal has made a remarkable transition from an agrarian society to an industry- and service-based economy, the country still has not been able to successfully move on to a knowledge-based economy. Such a transition, however, is instrumental to spur economic growth on and to improve productivity.
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