Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search

Stefan Karlsson

What Greece can learn from Finland

Despite being half its size, Finland actually surpassed Greece in first quarter GDP last year. What is Finland doing right, and what is Greece doing wrong?

By Guest blogger / June 11, 2012

A replica of an ancient Drachma coin is pictured outside the Numismatic Museum, as the main building of the central Bank of Greece is seen in the background in Athens on Tuesday June 5, 2012. Greece's GDP lagged behind Finland's in the first quarter of 2012, despite being twice its size in population.

Dimitri Messinis/AP/File


Greece and Finland are both in the geographic eastern periphery of the euro area, except that Greece is in the south east and Finland is in the north east. In terms of population, though Greece is almost exactly twice as big as Finland, having 10.8 million people versus 5.4 million for Finland.

Skip to next paragraph

Stefan is an economist currently working in Sweden.

Recent posts

However. the most recent quarter, Finland actually surpassed Greece in terms of economic size, despite the fact that Greece has twice as big population. In the first quarter Greece had a GDP of €47.19 billion versus €47.42 billion for Finland. First quarter GDP was for seasonal reasons lower than usual in absolute terms in both Greece and Finland, but since the seasonal effect appears to be basically the same for both countries, this has little or no relevance for their relative position.

So despite being twice as many as the people of Finland, the Greeks can't produce more. To what extent this reflects bad behavior from the Greeks and to what extent it reflects good behavior from the Finlanders can be discussed, I for one think it reflects on both, though mostly the former.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer


Editors' picks

Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!