In This Review

From Stagnation to Forced Adjustment: Reforms in Greece, 1974-2010
From Stagnation to Forced Adjustment: Reforms in Greece, 1974-2010
Edited by Stathis N. Kalyvas, George Pagoulatos, and Haridim
Columbia University Press, 2013, 320 pp

This is the best volume yet on recent economic policy in Greece. It combines analytic rigor with a command of critical economic, legal, and historical details. Eschewing overly technical analysis, this group of authors recognizes that the causes of Greece’s dilemmas and the future trajectory of Greek reform rest above all on domestic politics. Greek politicians, they argue, can act more freely and effectively than many observers realize. Yet the country has been bogged down by two decades of poorly designed and badly executed institutional change, based more on special interest job creation and regulation than on fair-minded redistribution. The unsatisfactory results have now been locked in thanks to political pressure not just from public-sector employees but also from farmers, truckers, electric power producers, medical professionals, and other powerful beneficiaries. This bodes ill for ongoing EU efforts to impose reform from the outside.