The (Eventual) Social Hardship of Soft Budget Constraints
The chapter examines the evolution of inequality in Greece and its broader socioeconomic, political, and policy implications. Greece stands out as a country case study since over the period 1974–2009 it experienced a significant reduction of inequality, mainly due to fortuitous macroeconomic developments. However, the catch-up with the EU15 levels of social spending did not coincide with improvements in the effectiveness of welfare state institutions and policies, and has not led to higher levels of political participation and of institutional trust. The appearance of improving efficiency in social welfare provision was mainly due to the soft budget constraints which prevailed during most of the period. The bursting of the debt bubble has left Greece exposed to serious political and social problems.
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