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Behind the Greek default and restructuring of 2012

Porzecanski, Arturo C. (2012): Behind the Greek default and restructuring of 2012.

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Abstract

The pedestrian narrative about the Greek financial crisis and default is that the country was fiscally mismanaged for a long time and failed to carry out needed structural reforms that could have improved economic growth prospects and enhanced the country’s creditworthiness. Therefore, a default and debt restructuring were inevitable sooner or later—and certainly so once the financial markets were informed, as happened in October 2009, that prior governments had underestimated their budget deficit and public debt figures. The prosaic tale of the supposed inevitability of the Greek tragedy has been endorsed, for example, by a prominent economic historian: “Since independence in the 1830s, Greece has been in a state of default about 50 percent of the time. Does that tell you something?” In reality, Greece’s road to default and debt restructuring in 2012 was not at all straightforward—and there was no historical inevitability about it, either.

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