Believing in national exceptionalism: Ideas and economic divergence in Southern Europe

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Series Details Vol.27, No.1, January 2004, p45-70
Publication Date 2004
ISSN 0140-2382
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Article abstract:

Economic adjustment in Spain, Portugal and Greece prior to the EMU nominal convergence programme is examined in an effort to explain divergence from policy orthodoxy. A notion of national exceptionalism is proposed as an ideational framework through which government policy makers perceive their country's position in the European and global sphere. Three levels of national exceptionalism are distinguished, in ascending order of explanatory importance: a level at which national exceptionalism is rooted in cultural predispositions; a level at which it appears to be empirically and logically plausible; and a level at which it offers a politically beneficial ideological strategy. When all three levels concur, national exceptionalism carries notable ancillary explanatory power. That is the case with post-authoritarian Greece through the 1980s, but not with Spain or Portugal.

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