Krugman’s blog, 5/28/15

There was one post yesterday, “Latvia: The Thrill Is Gone:”

Back in 2013, when Olivier Blanchard presented a paper on Latviaat the Brookings Panel, many of the participants were bemused: why was the august panel devoting so much time to a country with the population of Brooklyn? But Latvia was, for a time, the great poster child for austerity.

Even then, as many of us pointed out (I was one of Olivier’s discussants) that role rested on shaky foundations; the main really good news about Latvia, rapid productivity growth, arguably had more to do with the catchup of a very poor country by European standards than with macro policy.

And now, as Frances Coppola notes, the era of rapid bounce back has stalled out. Here’s Latvia as compared with another small peripheral economy (even fewer people, although comparable GDP) that followed very different policies:


And no, Latvia’s rapid pre-crisis growth says nothing at all about the success of its post-crisis policies — if anything, it should set the bar for success higher.

Truly, nothing much here to justify all that triumphalism.



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