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OECD Economic Surveys: Greece 2007

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Greece 2007

This edition of OECD's periodic survey of Greece examines recent economic performance and key challenges including fiscal consolidation, reform of pensions, easing entry into the labour market, improving tertiary education, and fostering competition in network industries.

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Assessment and recommendations

Over the past decade, Greece has progressed rapidly in closing the income gap with the best performing economies, particularly once the recent 26% upward revision to the level of GDP is taken into account. This data revision is largely the result of improved measurement of the fast-growing services sector, while, contrary to many press headlines, the contribution from the inclusion of illegal activities was less than 1% of GDP. A full assessment of growth performance is difficult because data revisions prior to 2000 have yet to be published, but it is likely that growth in GDP per capita over the past decade has exceeded 4½ per cent per annum, which would rank Greece second highest (after Ireland) in the OECD. Explanations for the rapid catch-up in living standards include: financial market liberalisation coupled with membership in monetary union, which led to a substantial reduction in borrowing costs; buoyant activity in export markets in southeastern Europe; and the fiscal stimulus and focal point given by the Olympic games in 2004.

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