From Accession to Cohesion: Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain and Lessons for the Next Accession



wiiw Research Report No. 298,
74 pages including 19 Tables and 40 Figures

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This study presents a concise analysis of the macroeconomic developments in four cohesion countries (CCs): Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, from 1960 to 2000. Special attention is being paid to the economic performance of these countries after their accession to the European Union (EU). The aim is to find out whether the new EU Accession Countries (ACs) from Central and Eastern Europe can learn from the experience of the CCs concerning future benefits and disadvantages resulting from accession.The study is divided into five major parts.

The first part is devoted to methodological questions.

In the second part the developments of major macroeconomic indicators for each CC for the period 1960 to 2000 are tracked and set in relation to each other. In doing this, we concentrate on the influence of exogenous demand factors (or injections) and so-called leakages that together determine the level of economic activity. Exogenous demand injections are private investment, government expenditures (for consumption and investment) and exports, whereas leakages contain private savings, net taxes (taxes net of subsidies and transfers) as well as imports.

The third part deals in detail with the role that FDI and EU transfers played in the four CCs with respect to their influence on private investment, net exports and hence on economic growth as well as on the CCs' trade performance and external position.

The fourth part focuses on the patterns of income catching-up of the four CCs in relation to the EU average; attention is drawn to the differences in growth records depending on whether GDP is measured in national currency terms or at purchasing power standards (PPS).

The fifth part contains brief general remarks on the growth strategy of the ACs


Keywords: cohesion countries, development before and after EU accession, FDI, external position, convergence of cohesion countries and lessons for new entrants

JEL classification: E2, P2, O1

Countries covered: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain

Research Areas: Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy