OECD Economic Surveys: Greece

Every 18 months
1999-0286 (online)
1995-3224 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Greek economy. Each edition surveys the major challenges faced by the country, evaluates the short-term outlook, and makes specific policy recommendations. Special chapters take a more detailed look at specific challenges. Extensive statistical information is included in charts and graphs.

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OECD Economic Surveys: Greece 2016

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10 Mar 2016
9789264251021 (EPUB) ; 9789264251014 (PDF) ;9789264251007(print)

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This 2016 OECD Economic Survey of Greece examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. The special chapters cover: Structural reforms for inclusive growth and Boosting exports.

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  • Basic statistics of Greece, 2014

    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee (EDRC) of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.The economic situation and policies of Greece were reviewed by the Committee on 25 January 2016. The draft report was then revised in the light of discussions with the committee and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on 3 March 2016.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by Christian Daude and Christine De la Maisonneuve under the supervision of Piritta Sorsa. Statistical research and support was carried out by Guillaume Bousquet, with general administrative support provided by Anthony Bolton, Mikel Inarritu and Brigitte Beyeler. The survey also benefitted from contributions by Massimo Geloso, Frederic Gonzales, Chrysa Leventi, Manos Matsaganis, Domna Michailidou, Iota Nassr, Hildegunn Nordas, Eduardo Olaberria, Virginia Robano, Dorothee Rouzet, Ania Thiemann and Gert Wehinger.The previous Survey of Greece was issued in November 2013.

  • Acronyms
  • Executive summary

    Updated OECD Economic Outlook 98 database.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    After Greece adopted the euro in 2001, low interest rates fuelled rapid credit growth, high economic growth and rising incomes, but they also distorted risk assessments and lead to a severe deterioration of the fiscal position, largely reflecting rising spending. Wages rose beyond productivity, gradually but persistently weakening competitiveness, undermining exports and expanding the trade deficit (). The private sector operated behind complex barriers, fostering informality, oligopolies and inefficiencies. In the fall of 2009, the sharp increase in the budget deficit led to soaring interest rates, loss of access to international capital markets, and economic adjustment programmes with the EU, ECB and IMF.

  • Progress in structural reform

    The objective of this Annex is to review action taken since the previous Survey (November 2013) on the main recommendations from previous Surveys.

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    • Structural reforms to boost inclusive growth

      This chapter takes stock of the main structural reforms that Greece has undertaken since 2010, those currently proposed and that are in the process of implementation, and quantifies the medium and long-term effects on output. Special attention is given to three issues that are relevant to understanding reform dynamics in Greece: i) the short-term impact of reforms; ii) the effect of some reforms on income inequality and other socioeconomic outcomes; iii) implementation problems that might undermine the ability of structural reforms to deliver their expected outcomes. The reforms, if fully implemented, could raise output by more than 13% over the next decade. Reforms in product markets are particularly important in boosting growth. Poverty and inequality have increased despite policies to mitigate the social impacts of Greece’s deep depression since 2009. Better social policies are needed to strengthen the social safety net and make growth more inclusive. Much of the burden of adjustment has been borne by labour. Labour market institutions should balance the objectives of increasing jobs, reallocating workers to where they can earn the most, and ensuring the fruits of the economic recovery are widely shared.

    • How to boost export performance

      This chapter analyses the structure of Greek exports and presents policy recommendations to boost export performance. Despite recent improvements, export performance deteriorated in the last decade particularly in the service sector. The decline in unit labour costs since the beginning of the crisis has restored cost competitiveness, but the response of exports has been sluggish due to severe liquidity constraints of exporters, lack of investment in export industries and in part because prices did not adjust as fast. Greece is dominated by SMEs and specialised in low-technology goods which makes it difficult to be well integrated into global value chains. Structural problems in product markets, barriers to exporting, access to finance and administrative burden affect competitiveness and impede export performance. Boosting investment in infrastructure and logistics, further liberalising the network industries, improving investment in human and knowledge-based capital to allow upgrading in the GVCs will be essential to enhance export performance.

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