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Portugal and the Global Financial Crisis – short-sighted politics, deteriorating public finances and the bailout imperative


  • Paulo T. Pereira,
  • Lara Wemans,


The aim of this paper is twofold. On the one hand to explain the institutional, economic and political foundations of the Portuguese bailout in April 2011. On the other hand, to clarify the impact of the global financial crisis (GFC) in Portuguese public finances, and the interaction between domestic fiscal policy and monitoring and recommendations from the European Commission (EC) and the European Council (ECo). A long run perspective (1974-2011) on management of public finances shows that Portugal has some institutional and constitutional problems that should be sorted out in order to achieve sound public finances. Moreover, in the second half of the 90s fiscal policy was expansionary and the high conversion rate of the former currency (escudo) to the euro still hampers economic growth and competitiveness. With weak growth in the first decade of XXI century and persistent public and external deficits, Portugal came to the frontline of the negative impacts of the GFC. The total absence of political cooperation and the existence of some minority governments only made things worst. We conclude, with a brief overview of the bailout, its prospects of success, and some structural institutional measures that should be taken.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulo T. Pereira, & Lara Wemans,, 2012. "Portugal and the Global Financial Crisis – short-sighted politics, deteriorating public finances and the bailout imperative," Working Papers Department of Economics 2012/26, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
  • Handle: RePEc:ise:isegwp:wp262012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paulo Trigo Pereira & João Andrade e Silva, 2007. "Citizens’ Freedom to Choose Representatives: Ballot Structure, Proportionality and “Fragmented” Parliaments," Working Papers Department of Economics 2007/13, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    2. van Riet, Ad, 2010. "Euro area fiscal policies and the crisis," Occasional Paper Series 109, European Central Bank.
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    H30; H50; H60;

    JEL classification:

    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H60 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - General

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