OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

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Boosting export performance in Portugal

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.


Keywords: competitiveness, productivity, structural reforms, exports
JEL: F1: International Economics / Trade; K2: Law and Economics / Regulation and Business Law; K4: Law and Economics / Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior; J5: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining; H2: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue; L5: Industrial Organization / Regulation and Industrial Policy; J3: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs; D2: Microeconomics / Production and Organizations
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