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Portugal Table of Contents


Economic Growth, 1960-73 and 1981-90

There was a striking contrast between the economic growth and levels of capital formation in the 1960-73 period and in the 1980s decade (see Table 4, Appendix). Clearly, the pre-revolutionary period was characterized by robust annual growth rates for GDP (6.9 percent), industrial production (9 percent), private consumption (6.5 percent), and gross fixed capital formation (7.8 percent). By way of contrast, the 1980s exhibited a pattern of slow-to-moderate annual growth rates for GDP (2.7 percent), industrial production (4.8 percent), private consumption (2.7 percent), and fixed capital formation (3.1 percent). As a result of worker emigration and the military draft, employment declined during the earlier period (by a half percent annually), but increased by 1.4 percent annually during the 1980s. Significantly, labor productivity (GDP growth/employment growth) grew by a sluggish rate of 1.3 percent annually in the recent period compared with the extremely rapid annual growth rate of 7.4 percent earlier. Inflation, as measured by the GDP deflator, averaged a modest 4 percent a year before the revolution compared with nearly 18 percent annually during the 1980s.

Although the investment coefficients were roughly similar (24 percent of GDP allocated to fixed capital formation in the earlier period; 26.7 percent during the 1980s), the overall investment productivity or efficiency (GDP growth rate/investment coefficient) was nearly three times greater (28.6 percent) before the revolution than in the 1980s (10.1 percent).

How does Portugal's GDP per capita compare with the average of the twelve members of the EC in the early 1990s, the European Twelve (EC-12), during the past three decades? In 1960, at the initiation of Salazar's more outward-looking economic policy, Portugal's per capita GDP was only 38 percent of the EC-12 average; by the end of the Salazar period, in 1968, it had risen to 48 percent; and in 1973, on the eve of the revolution, Portugal's per capita GDP had reached 56.4 percent of the EC-12 average. In 1975, the year of maximum revolutionary turmoil, Portugal's per capita GDP declined to 52.3 percent of the EC-12 average.

Convergence of real GDP growth toward the EC average occurred as a result of Portugal's economic resurgence since 1985. In 1991 Portugal's GDP per capita climbed to 54.9 percent of the EC average, exceeding by a fraction the level attained just before the Revolution of 1974.

Data as of January 1993