06 Feb 2013

Learning from small countries? Contemporary Nordic sagas

Daniel Gros

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The experiences of small countries like Greece, the Baltic states and Iceland are often adduced as evidence to justify arguments both for or against austerity. In this Commentary, CEPS Director Daniel Gros observes, however, that the proponents in these disputes usually neglect to mention the key idiosyncratic characteristics and specific starting conditions that can make such direct comparisons meaningless. He points out that Latvia has recovered quickly whereas Greece is still in recession. And Iceland is not a good counterexample, because its fish catch increased due to global warming whereas most other countries saw their exports fall in the crisis.