What countries can cope with austerity, and why?

IMF has suggested in a report that austerity programs may be counter-productive and slow down economic growth. Financial Times on the other hand showed a different perspective as they pointed out that IMF had left some countries, proving the opposite, out of their report.

Countries such Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have all managed cuts in public spending and, in some cases, tax raising without a critical drop in growth. How is that possible when South European countries are not able to do this without a significant hit on growth?

Does it come down to work ethic and determination of certain cultural groups? Has it to do with other economic figures and structures?

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