Why did the Portuguese economy stop converging with the OECD? Institutions, Politics and Innovation

Pedro Marques
Journal of Economic Geography

Underlying the crisis affecting peripheral European countries is their structural, longterm loss of competitiveness (Hadjimichalis, 2011, European Urban and Regional Studies, 18: 254–274). This article will focus on the Portuguese case and discuss the institutional constraints that hindered its economy from transitioning towards the production of higher-value added goods and services. It will discuss institutions as the product of a political process laden with power asymmetries and argue that the dominance of a relatively small community at the heart of economic and political life in Portugal has conditioned the development of the economy as a whole. Using this framework, this article will then contribute to the literatures on innovation and technological modernisation and argue that alongside a technical process of catching up there is a political process that can enable or constrain development.