Are Greeks Really the Poor Relations of the European Union? Evidence of the Standard of Living
Close, David Henry
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Greek governments frequently emphasise that their goal is convergence in standard of living with the European Union average, and assume that they have far to go. This paper discuses the methods available to compare standards of living between the 15 member countries. They are: estimates of Gross Domestic Product at Purchasing Power Parity; average incomes in relation to average prices of everyday necessities; estimates of income inequality; subjective expressions of satisfaction with living conditions, and subjective assessments of improvement or deterioration in them; and ownership of certain goods, and of homes. Each measure is open to objection; but on most, Greece comes near the bottom of the EU scale. According to the other criteria of Human Development adopted by the United Nations, Greece rates high in health but low in educational level.