OECD Economic Surveys: Portugal

Every 18 months
1999-0405 (online)
1995-3348 (print)
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OECD’s periodic surveys of the Portuguese 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: Portugal 2014

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27 Oct 2014
9789264207059 (PDF) ; 9789264228153 (EPUB) ;9789264207042(print)

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OECD's 2014 Economic Survey of Portugal examines recent economic developments, policies and prospects. Special chapers cover boosting export performance and reducing inequality and poverty.

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    This Survey is published on the responsibility of the Economic and Development Review Committee of the OECD, which is charged with the examination of the economic situation of member countries.The economic situation and policies of Portugal were reviewed by the Committee on 23 September 2014. The draft report was then revised in the light of the discussions and given final approval as the agreed report of the whole Committee on 6 October 2014.The Secretariat’s draft report was prepared for the Committee by Jens Arnold under the supervision of Pierre Beynet. Research assistance was provided by Gabor Fulop and Matheus Bueno. The survey also benefitted from external consultancy work.The previous Survey of Portugal was issued in July 2012.

  • Executive summary
  • Assessment and recommendations
  • Progress in main structural reforms

    This table reviews action taken on recommendations from preceding Surveys. Recommendations that are new in this Survey are listed in the relevant chapter.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Thematic chapters

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    • Boosting export performance

      In the years before the economic crisis, Portugal had low growth, a decline in export competitiveness and rising imbalances that included a large current account deficit and a strong expansion of the non-tradable sector. Strengthening export performance is therefore one of the principal challenges for Portugal. A successful rebalancing of the economy is underway since Portugal started an ambitious structural reform programme in 2011, but more needs to be done to build on the recent export success. This includes both measures to improve competitiveness, such as reforms in energy and services sectors, and measures to boost productivity growth, such as tax reform, improving the performance of the judicial system and better public support for research and development. Given that exporting firms are typically the top performers in their industry, and have been so even before becoming exporters, it is important to avoid policies that could slow down the possibilities for high-performing firms to gain market share, such as the extension of collective wage agreements or the design of tax credits for research and development activities. Support for small enterprises should also be designed to benefit start-ups with a strong growth performance, as well as firms that are increasing their participation in international trade.

    • Reducing inequality and poverty

      Portugal has one of the most unequal income distributions in Europe and poverty levels are high. The economic crisis has halted a long-term gradual decline in both inequality and poverty and the number of poor households is rising, with children and youths being particularly affected. Unemployment is one of the principal reasons why household incomes declined. The tax and benefit system alleviates both inequality and poverty significantly. The tax system is markedly progressive, and recent tax reforms have likely increased this progressivity. Transfer payments, especially non-pension benefits, are reducing inequality and poverty in a fairly efficient way. Nonetheless, a number of adjustments could strengthen the equalising role of the benefit system, which is generally biased towards benefits for elderly people, while families with children should receive more support. Raising income thresholds in the guaranteed minimum income scheme could be a well-targeted way to support the most vulnerable households, in particular families with children. Unemployment benefits also contain a significant bias towards older recipients, while their coverage is still relatively low. In-work tax credits for low-income earners may be a more effective way to support low-income families than raising the minimum wage, which could lead to job losses. The education system should provide more support to students at risk of falling behind to reduce grade-repetition and drop-out rates, while further increasing class sizes would be a reasonable way to generate savings without affecting learning progress much. Scaling up vocational courses and adult education, including in the context of active labour market policies, could improve the capacity of many households to generate income and lead to a more equitable income distribution.

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