2004 OECD Economic Surveys: Portugal 2004

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Portugal’s progress towards economic convergence with the rest of Europe has diminished in recent years, and in this 2004 review of Portugal’s economy, OECD recommends stepping up growth through policies that raise human capital, encourage the mobility of the labour force, and facilitate innovation and the diffusion of technological advances. Competition needs to be stiffer and the climate for doing business needs to be further improved. This edition’s special feature covers reform of the health care system.

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Key Challenges and Issues

Portugal’s key medium term challenge is to raise income levels, to close the still large gap with more advanced OECD countries. This will require policies and reforms that raise output growth in a durable way, especially via higher labour and total factor productivity. Thanks to average annual GDP growth of about 3½ per cent since the mid 1980s, Portuguese living standards have much improved. However, there have been protracted periods of weak growth when the catching-up process stopped, including the most recent downturn. At this point in time, it is hard to know how much of the ongoing ...

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