Barriers to European Growth: A Transatlantic View

Barriers to European Growth: A Transatlantic View

Barriers to European Growth: A Transatlantic View

Barriers to European Growth: A Transatlantic View

Excerpt

In the early 1970s, after more than two decades of unparalleled performance, the economies of the major European countries began to falter. Economic growth slowed sharply during the remainder of the 1970s as inflation and unemployment both rose. In the first half of the 1980s growth slowed further, and though inflation eventually subsided, unemployment grew even more rapidly.

While economic performance deteriorated in all industrial countries after 1973, the distinguishing feature of the European experience has been the behavior of unemployment. For Europe as a whole it has risen in almost every year since 1973, now standing at 11 percent of the labor force.

This study reports on a joint undertaking by American and European economists and other experts to examine the principal European economies in an effort to understand the causes of the high unemployment and to offer some suggestions for policy. An initial planning conference was held in February 1986. Eight American authors then prepared papers on various aspects of the European economies. The papers were presented at a conference held at Brookings in October 1986, where they were discussed and evaluated by a group of European economists and government officials. The papers, the formal comments, and summaries of the general discussion are presented in this volume. The volume is introduced by an overview chapter, written by the editors, that summarizes the major findings of the study and, building on those findings, offers a number of suggestions about the causes and remedies for European unemployment.

The editors of the volume, Robert Z. Lawrence and Charles L. Schultze, are senior fellow and director of the Brookings Economic Studies program, respectively. During the course of the project, all the American authors visited Europe, where government officials, university economists, and many research organizations gave them extensive . . .

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