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Saving Greece Once Again: Have We Reached the Root of the Crisis?

Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung 3 / 2015, S. 29-45

Klaus Schrader, David Bencek, Claus-Fiedrich Laaser

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In 2010, the first economic adjustment program began offering a blueprint for economic recovery and a feasible way for Greece to emerge from the crisis. The authors show that Greece neither overcame its structural weaknesses nor developed export industries as a driver of growth in the course of reforms, and they conclude that Greece’s sectoral structures still mirror a low level of industrial development as well as a service industry with a below-average growth performance compared to other EU countries. Greece’s composition of exports exhibits a limited growth and value-added potential, and is similar to the export patterns of low-income countries due to a focus on raw materials and labor-intensive goods. The analysis also shows that without significant growth, the Greek debt will remain unsustainable. A haircut or a phasing out of the debt burden can only complement supply-oriented structural reforms, however. The reform agenda of August 2015 is a new attempt to implement the reforms that the creditors have been waiting on for the past five years.

JEL-Classification: F15;F43;H63
Keywords: Structural change, foreign trade, unsustainable sovereign debt, structural reforms

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