DP8827 Western Europe's Growth Prospects: an Historical Perspective
This paper surveys the recent economic history of Western European growth. It concludes that this experience has been disappointing and that further reforms are desirable in many countries. The requirement for reform comes both from achieving 'close-to-frontier' status and from the opportunities provided by the new technological era. The paper goes on to consider the effects that the current crisis may have on medium-term growth rates. The lesson from the 1930s is that, if the current crisis leads to a similarly bad downturn, the policy reaction in terms of greater state intervention will not be conducive to improved growth prospects.