Can convergence keep up with a declining population?
After more than 50 years as part of the Soviet Union, Latvia regained independence in 1991 and set out on the road to independent democracy and a social market economy. The transition from a centrally planned system to a market economy required a complete overhaul of key economic institutions. EU membership in 2004 further enhanced the successful transition.
Latvia has been able to maintain a strong convergence towards the average EU per capita income in the past 25 years, although the process is slightly slower than in the other Baltic states. While in the early 1990s, the per capita GDP was below 25% of the EU average, it now reached 70%. Backed by economic growth, unemployment continued to decrease to 6.3% in 2019. Youth unemployment went down to 12% from 36% in 2010 during the Great Recession. The overall employment rate is higher than the EU average (77% vs. 73%). Continue reading
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