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Historical cycles of the economy of modern Greece from 1821 to the present

Alogoskoufis, George (2021) Historical cycles of the economy of modern Greece from 1821 to the present. Hellenic Observatory Discussion Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe (158). Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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This paper reviews and interprets the history of the economy of modern Greece, from the eve of the war for independence in 1821 to the present day. It identifies three major historical cycles: First, the cycle of state and nation building, 1821-1898, second, the cycle of national expansion and consolidation, 1899-1949, and third, the post-1950 cycle of economic and social development. During these two hundred years, the country and the economy have been radically transformed. Compared to the first Greek state, Greece managed to almost triple its national territory, to increase its population by almost 15 times and to increase its real GDP per capita by another 15 times. From the margins of south-eastern Europe, it has moved to the core of today’s European Union. The paper focuses on the main determinants of economic performance during these cycles, with particular emphasis on the role and interactions of social and economic conditions, ideas, institutions and geopolitics. During the first two cycles, the economy underperformed, as state building and the pursuit of the ‘great idea’ were the top national priorities. Despite the early introduction of appropriate economic institutions, fiscal and monetary instability prevailed in the context of a relatively stagnant economy, due to wars, internal conflicts and the international environment. The economy and the welfare state only became a top priority during the third cycle, when a number of domestic and international factors contributed to economic and social development. Greece seems to have largely achieved many of its national goals, having consolidated both its borders and democratic institutions and become a relatively prosperous country in the core of the European union, despite the alternation of triumphs and disasters and the frequent occurrence of wars and internal conflicts, debt crises, ‘defaults’ or economic depressions. Yet many problems remain and the challenge for the future is to focus on reforms that will ensure even higher security and prosperity for the future generations of Greeks.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Hellenic Observatory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2021 13:51
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 23:53

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