Spain and Portugal have been the focus of international attention due to their respective economic recoveries in recent years, coming from very difficult economic times. Both were, along with Greece and Italy, among the EU nations most affected by the 2008 crisis, suffering from economic contraction, high levels of unemployment, internal and external indebtedness, wide public deficits and, in the case of Spain, a gigantic real-estate bubble. Nevertheless, and despite the countries’ achievements in sorting out their economic woes, Portugal’s improvement is seen as miraculous, while Spanish achievements are somewhat undervalued. The question now is to elucidate if these arguments are well substantiated and analyse the demographic and economic foundations of both countries. As John Adams wrote in 1770, ‘facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence’. So let us find out.
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