onsdag 30 november 2011

Minimilöner, industrialisering och multipla jämvikter

"Big Push models suggest that local product demand can create multiple labor market equilibria: one featuring high wages, formalization, and high demand and one with low wages, informality, and low demand. I demonstrate that minimum wages may coordinate development at the high wage equilibrium.

/.../ formal employment increases and informal employment decreases in response to the minimum wage. Local product demand also increases, and this formalization occurs only in the non-tradable, industrializable industries"
Jeremy Magruder (UC Berkeley), "Can Minimum Wages Cause a Big Push? Evidence
from Indonesia
", paper 23 september 2011

via Chris Blattman, 17 nov

Eurokrisen, uppdatering inför den 9 december

"the people who bullied Europe into adopting a common currency, the people who are bullying both Europe and the United States into austerity — aren’t technocrats. They are, instead, deeply impractical romantics."
Paul Krugman, NYT 20 nov

Den 9 december är det toppmöte igen så det kan vara lönt med ett försök till sammanfattning av vad som hänt sedan sist.

"Mr. González-Páramo even accused investors of cynical self-interest when they pleaded for a European version of quantitative easing, the use of large purchases of securities to encourage economic growth.

“Market participants that call for the E.C.B. to play this role may care only about the nominal value of their assets and the need to avoid losses,” he said in Oxford.

To outsiders, it may seem that the E.C.B., based in Frankfurt and steeped in the conservative culture of the Bundesbank, would rather let the euro go up in smoke than compromise its principles. But policy makers do not see the choice in those terms.

To them, the best way to address the crisis is to stick to principles, the most important of which is preserving price stability. That is set out in the first sentence of the statute that defines the E.C.B.’s tasks. “The primary objective” of the European system of central banks “shall be to maintain price stability,” the statute reads. "
NYT, 25 nov

"the situation in Europe is dire, and two issues crossing my desk this afternoon only add to my angst. First, Karl Smith at Modeled Behavior sees that the ECB is losing all control of monetary policy /.../
Very, very scary - remember that the ECB is the last great hope. But it can't be effective if the European banking system collapses, which looks more likely each day. A signal that the related rush to cash is severe is that the ECB is no longer able to fully sterilize its asset purchases. Stories at the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Recognize the risk that even when the ECB switches to quantitative easing, the resulting cash just sits unused in bank reserves. Sound familiar? Europe has liquidity trap written all over it.

A second point comes from Edward Harrison, who spots a story which claims France and Germany are looking to impose a strict zero (!) percent budget deficit target by 2016."
Tim Duy 29 nov

"It should be painfully evident at this point that any process toward greater fiscal integration will be a years-long process. Financial markets, however, move at something much closer to the speed of light - as fast as traders can hit the "sell" button. /.../
[Merkel] 'The countries who don't keep to the stability pact have to be punished – those who contravene it need to be penalised. We need to make sure this doesn't happen again.'
/.../ It is tough to advise anything other than to sell Europe as long as Germany insists on this morality play."
Tim Duy, 24 nov


"With economic conditions darkening and public benefits rapidly shrinking, next year's social disruptions are likely to make 2011's look like child's play. That, in turn, may make the effort to hold the euro zone together far more difficult."
Ryan Avent, 30 nov

"finance ministers meeting to discuss the future of the European Financial Stability Facility seem to have taken some key decisions regarding the fund. The EFSF will be able to lever its meagre €440 billion in capital (less amounts already committed to rescues for Greece, Ireland, and Portugal) in two different ways. First, by using its resources to guarantee 20% to 30% of the bond issues of struggling peripheral economies and, second, by creating "co-investment funds" that (it is hoped) will attract money from other investors and which can be deployed to buy bonds."
Ryan Avent, 30 nov

Ryan Avent, "Who killed the Eurozone", 28 nov

1 december: ECB-Draghi viktigt tal!

16.57 Analysts at Barclays Capital have this to say about Draghi’s “fiscal compact” comments:

Our interpretation of these remarks is that, subject to a firm agreement on a new fiscal pact at next Friday’s EU summit, and clearly defined plans by the new Italian government to achieve a balanced budget by 2013 (due to be announced next Monday), then the ECB is ready to step up significantly its degree of bond purchases … However, it is by no means certain that the EU Summit will be able to achieve this level of commitment: while we expect developments along these lines, there is considerable uncertainty about the precise outcome.

ur Draghis tal:
A new fiscal compact would be the most important signal from euro area governments for embarking on a path of comprehensive deepening of economic integration. It would also present a clear trajectory for the future evolution of the euro area, thus framing expectations.”

artikel om Draghis tal:

"The Paris plan is for a new fiscal discipline package to be agreed at the euro summit on December 9, paving the way for the ECB to deliver a “Christmas present” of decisive action on the markets, preferably setting ceilings on yields which it will defend at all costs, much as the Bank of Switzerland did in September when it acted to stop the Swiss france rising in value."
Hugn Carnegy på FT:s livekrisblogg 1 december

Saez och Diamond: höj skatten!

källa: Världsbanken, som tagit från Source KPMG's Individual Income Tax and Social Security Rate Survey 2009 (www.kpmg.com), and PricewaterhouseCoopers's Worldwide Tax Summaries Online (www.pwc.com).

"Via a circuitous Internet chain – Paul Krugman of Princeton University quoting Mark Thoma of the University of Oregon reading the Journal of Economic Perspectives – I got a copy of an article written by Emmanuel Saez, whose office is 50 feet from mine, on the same corridor, and the Nobel laureate economist Peter Diamond. Saez and Diamond argue that the right marginal tax rate for North Atlantic societies to impose on their richest citizens is 70%."
Brad DeLong, "The 70% Solution", Project Syndicate 30 november

artikeln som DeLong refererar till:
Peter Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, "The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations" (pdf), Journal of Economic Literature höst 2011

Uppdatering 28 februari 2012
Christina D. Romer och David H. Romer, "The Incentive Effects of Marginal Tax Rates: Evidence from the Interwar Era", NBER Working Paper No. 17860, februari 2012

Uppdatering 4 mars 2012
PS presidentkandidat Hollande har uttalat sig för att höja den högsta marginalskatten i Frankrike till 75 procent, för dem som tjänar över 1 miljon € per år. FT:s Gideon Rachman kommenterar:
"Even by European standards, a top-rate of tax at this level would make France a real outlier. Currently, Sweden has the highest top-rate of tax in Europe at 56.5%. Germany’s top rate is 47.5% and France is at just 41%. The fact that Britain has a top-rate of 50% – currently significantly higher than France – is a source of considerable embarrassment to George Osborne, the UK chancellor. He, for one, would be delighted if Mr Hollande is elected president of France in May, and makes good on his promise.

Yet, before the Reagan and Thatcher reforms, very high top levels of tax were standard stuff in the West. The US had a top tax rate of 70% in 1980. It is now down to 35%. Meanwhile, in the UK, it wasn’t until 1988 that Nigel Lawson, Margaret Thatcher’s chancellor, cut the top tax-rate from 60% to 40% – a move that literally provoked howls of anger from the Labour backbenches.
So if Hollande wins and actually enacts his proposal it will be a bold move. Perhaps he will be a trailblazer, shifting the debate on income tax back to the pre-Thatcher era. Or perhaps, France will remain an anomaly – and even more rich French people will move to London or Geneva. Either way, it would be an interesting experiment."

Gideon Rachman, "Hollande and soaking the rich", FT:s The World-blogg 28 februari 2012

FT:s livekrisblogg 29 februari uppger att 75-procentsnivån bara skulle beröra ca 3500 personer och dra in runt €250-300 miljoner.

Uppdatering 10 april 2012
Ett nytt paper av Filip Spagnoli vid den belgiska centralbanken undersöker för- och nackdelar med låga skatter. Abstract:
"Low tax rates can be seen as a desirable policy goal for a variety of reasons. Your views on justice and desert may require a system of taxation that allows people to keep as much as possible of what they earn. Or you may have strong opinions on property rights, self-property, self-reliance and the 'undeserving poor'. In this paper, however, I will examine the merits of another and prima facie more convincing rationale, namely that low levels of taxation - especially low levels of taxation on the income or wealth of the so-called productive segments of society - are beneficial for economic growth. I criticize both the theoretical underpinnings of this view and its factual basis. The paper has three parts: 1) a description of the view; 2) a theoretical criticism; and 3) a criticism based on statistical correlations. I believe this issue is of the utmost importance given the urgency with which many legislators and economists in various countries advocate tax cuts. This advocacy is regrettable because neither the theoretical nor the empirical grounds for it are sound. It may even be the case that low tax rates have unwanted harmful consequences instead of the assumed beneficial ones."
Spagnoli, "There’s No There There: Low Tax Rates and Economic Growth", 27 mars 2012

Uppdatering 27 april
The Economist konstaterar att trenden sedan 1980 med fallande högsta marginalskatter kan vara på gång att vändas.
The Economist Daily Chart-bloggen, "Tax returns", 26 april

Och Chye-Ching Huang har gjort en översikt över effekter av höga skatter på arbetsutbud, sparande, investeringar m m.
Huang, "Recent Studies Find Raising Taxes on High-Income Households Would Not Harm the Economy" (pdf), Center on Budget and Public Policy Priorities, 24 april

tisdag 22 november 2011

Arbetskraftsbrist och löneglidning 1996-2010

Genom Riksbanken hittar jag den ytterst fylliga excel-fil som tydligen ackompanjerar varje utgåva av bankens Penningpolitiska rapport, som kommer tre gånger om året. I dessa excelfiler finns en ruggig mängd statistik som man säkert kan använda till en hel del olika saker.

Från dagens upptäckt, statistiska bilagan (.xls) till rapporten från oktober 2011 nöjer jag mig idag med följande diagram:

från A.17

från A.19

torsdag 17 november 2011

Gapper om Occupy Wall Street

John Gapper har en bra krönika i FT om Occupy Wall Street (OWS) och huruvida den rörelsen - som Gapper sympatiserar med, "Who does not feel there is something wrong with government-backed banks acquiring such a disproportionate share of society’s wealth?" - kan förändra någonting.

Gapper gillar att rörelsen sa nej till att gå in i traditionell politik och att man fått goodwill genom sitt direktdemokratiska arbetssätt, men menar att för att kunna åstadkomma verklig förändring behövs ändå något mer än att tälta i en park och ha långa diskussioner. I slutet av sin krönika kommer han in på att även innan OWS blev utslängda ur parken av polisen, så hade viktiga verksamheter flyttat därifrån och in i intellektuella arbetsgrupper. Och det här är intressant:

"The intellectual action has already been moving out of the park and into working groups that discuss everything from alternative banking to green economics.

The alternative banking group defies the traditional image of Occupy Wall Street. Many of its most committed participants come from the finance industry, including some bankers and traders from large Wall Street firms. It has been organised by Carne Ross, a diplomat and author of The Leaderless Revolution, and Cathy O’Neil, a quantitative financial analyst who has worked at D.E. Shaw, the hedge fund, and RiskMetrics, the consultancy.

The group is drafting comments on implementation of the Volcker Rule limiting proprietary trading in large banks, and trying to invent a structure for a new kind of mutual bank. It could draw on credit unions and mutual organisations such as Mondragon, the Basque federation of worker co-operatives.

“I worked in the financial industry and spent years doing something that I slowly but surely realised was a house of cards,” Ms O’Neil told me. “You observe the incentives at first hand and see how corrupt it is.” She admits it is “a little bit bizarre” to find insiders planning Wall Street’s overthrow but they are “the only ones who understand it”.

If Occupy Wall Street is to leave a permanent mark, this is the sort of effort on which it must focus, rather than seizing patches of land. The brokers who met at a Buttonwood tree on Wall Street in 1792 to found the New York Stock Exchange created something enduring. They did not need to sleep under it."

Jag tror verkligen på att "plan beats no plan" och att samhällskritiska/kapitalismkritiska rörelser därför måste ta tag i just sådant intellektuellt arbete för att kunna erbjuda konkreta alternativ. Därför är det intressant med dessa offshoots från OWS.

John Gapper, "A better way to occupy Wall Street", FT 16 november

söndag 13 november 2011

Avsattes Berlusconi av "den internationella marknaden"?

statistik från Bloomberg

"Berlusconi avsattes av den internationella marknaden"
Titti Nylander i P1:s Godmorgon världen!, 13 november 2011

"The bond market vigilantes are back"
James Mackintosh, Financial Times 11 november 2011

Kan man säga att Silvio Berlusconi avsattes från posten som italiensk premiärminister av "den internationella marknaden"? Vad betyder det i så fall? Godmorgon världen!s krönikör i söndags skrädde i alla fall inte orden, utan hon deklarerade frankt - men oproblematiserat - att "Berlusconi avsattes av den internationella marknaden".

FT:s Guy Dinmore och Giuilia Segreti formulerade sig liknande:
"Mr Berlusconi’s doom was sealed when Italian yields passed 6.5 per cent on Monday, and he lost his party’s backing."
Här är det alltså räntan på statsobligationerna som det syftas till. I den nuvarande statsskuldskrisen är detta ett av de mest omdiskuterade måtten på ett lands ekonomi, och det har i samband med Italien och Spanien i år spekulerats mycket kring att både Portugal och Irland tvingades ta hjälp av EU-bailout/krislån när deras 10års-obligationsräntor nått nivåer över 8 procent. (IRL bailout = nov 10. då 10-årig yield på ca 8,5 %. PT bailout = maj 11. då 10-årig yield på ca 9,5 %.)

Kan man då säga att det var den "internationella marknaden" som "avsatte Berlusconi"? Tja, Kash Mansoori pekar på att Italiens fundamenta - statsskuld som andel av BNP, tillväxt, osv - de senaste 20 åren inte varit sämre än Japans, men att Japan ändå får låna mycket billigare. Var Berlusconi då "oskyldig" och avsattes av marknaden? Mansoori pekar på att tre avgörande anledningar till att marknadens aktörer misstror Italiens förmåga att betala tillbaka sina skulder, i högre grad än Japans förmåga, är att
a) Italien är med i EMU och inte kan trycka pengar
b) Japan har current account-överskott medan Italien har underskott
c) Japan kan låna för 1 % medan Italiens lånande är mycket dyrare (alltså en spiraleffekt, samtidigt orsak och utfall)
Italien valde att gå med i eurozonen och därmed försvaga sig inför såna här krislägen. Berlusconi har (se diagram i Mansooris inlägg) konstant fört statsbudgetunderskott. Att Berlusconi nu tvingats avgå kan inte sägas vara fullständigt osjälvförvållat.

Jag är helt för diskussioner om "statens strukturella beroende av kapitalet". Men är ändå tveksam till den form som diskussionen tagit denna gång.


ITA = världens 8:e största ekonomi och 3:e största bond market

"It is in this sense that Mr Berlusconi could be said to have been forced from office by the bond markets – ordinary savers, pension funds and banks dumped Italy’s bonds from fear. /.../

Japan, the US and UK remain havens, with 10-year gilt yields hitting their lowest ever during the week. No matter that all three countries have levels of debt never before seen outside wartime; money has to go somewhere.
But it will not take much to trigger a full-blown panic over sovereign debt, and the power of even the most reluctant vigilantes is now clear. Watch out for the next lynching."
"“We believe Italy is beyond the point of no return and will be forced into a managed debt restructuring as early as 2012,” Roubini Global Economic commented in a doom-laden report headed “Italy: Too Little, Too Late.”"
Guy Dinmore & Giulia Segreti, "Berlusconi resigns after reform vote", FT 12 nov

"Bond market researchers suggest Mr Berlusconi’s departure could lower Italy’s cost of sovereign borrowing by a full percentage point. For a €1,900bn ($2,611bn) debt stock, this amounts to €19bn per year. If the same applies to Mr Berlusconi’s many years in power, the total cost to Rome’s Treasury could add up to hundreds of billions of euros. "

om ECB:s möjligheter att stoppa SPA:s och ITA:s rising bond yields

Private interest groups in the EU and the economic crisis
Thomas Prosser (Trinity College, Dublin)


Roubini, "Down with the Eurozone", Project Syndicate 11 nov

G.I., "It's not about Berlusconi", Economist Free Exchange

Alexander Friedman, "It's time for you to fire the silver bullet, Mr Draghi", FT 9 nov
- eurozonen behöver tid, den är "the silver bullet", och bara ECB kan ge den tid genom att på riktigt bli zonens lender of last resort. Draghi får inte rynka på näsan när han köper obligationer.
"The ECB should turn its bond-buying programme, the securities market programme, from “limited” to “unlimited”, in effect capping the lofty yields that threaten Italy and Spain. Despite what Mr. Draghi, and Jean-Claude Trichet before him, have said, the ECB is the lender of last resort to sovereign nations, for there is no one else. But again, this needs to be stated. "
en skarp credit tightening pågår nu som bankernas respons på nya kapitaltäckningskrav; de drar in 1000 mdr € av kredit. Deflationärt!
"Ultimately, the only lasting solution is likely to involve fiscal confederation and eurobond issuance. But this will take time and only a bold stance from the ECB would calm markets for long enough for European politicians to consider and negotiate the necessary treaty changes to make this happen."

Peter Spiegel på krisbloggen, 9 nov kl 13:53
Kommissionen sätter hård reformpress på Italien; dokument med 39 frågor läckt till FT
"Essentially, the European Commission is asking for another round of austerity measures, a step normally only taken with bail-out countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal, if they’re missing their bail-out targets. If Commission monitors continue in this vein, their Italy mission is unlikely to be a low-key affair."

RBS tror inte att ens stora ECB-köp kan fixa Italien: krisbloggen 9 nov, 15:16
“The situation has deteriorated so dramatically a large scale asset buying by the ECB would not necessarily be a panacea,” said RBS credit analyst Alberto Gallo in a conference call with investors.
“I do not think the ECB on its own could bring back the market to the point before Italy succumbed to contagion.”

Uppdatering 11 december 2013
Paul Krugman kommenterar S&P:s downgrade av franska statsobligationer till AA och hävdar att det beror på att S&P har en bias för högerpolitik, trots att den inte leder till mer tillväxt eller dylikt.
"I think that when S&P complains about lack of reform, it’s actually complaining that Hollande is raising, not cutting taxes on the wealthy, and in general isn’t free-market enough to satisfy the Davos set. Remember that a couple of months ago Olli Rehn dismissed France’s fiscal restraint — which has actually been exemplary — because the French, unacceptably, are raising taxes rather than slashing the safety net.
So just as the austerity drive isn’t really about fiscal responsibility, the push for “structural reform” isn’t really about growth; in both cases, it’s mainly about dismantling the welfare state.
S&P may not be participating in this game in a fully conscious way; when you move in those circles, things that in fact nobody knows become part of what everyone knows. But don’t take this downgrade as a demonstration that something is really rotten in the state of France. It’s much more about ideology than about defensible economic analysis."
Paul Krugman, "Ideological Ratings", Conscience of a Liberal 8 november 2013

måndag 7 november 2011

Efter recession: stagnation

Ryan Avent om USA, 3 november:

"the Fed's forecast has—yet again—been revised downward. The central bank now anticipates that the unemployment rate will be around 8% in 2013. That's 6 years after the onset of recession, 4 years after the beginning of the recovery, and that's 2 full percentage points above the Fed's upper-end estimate of the long-term natural rate of unemployment. Given this clear and substantial admission of its own continued failure, the Fed obviously opted to do more, right?

No, in fact, you'll be shocked to learn that it did not."
Avent, "Someone should really do something", Economist Free Exchange 3 nov


3 nov: ECB räntesänkning 1,5 % --> 1,25 %
"A deepening Eurozone recession is inevitable. Even if full-blown financial crisis is avoided, the cost will be continued austerity programs that will sink the Eurozone economy ever deeper into recession. This will only exacerbate the problems facing European banks as nonperforming loans rise, which will be on top of the credit contraction to follow plans to have banks recapitalizing themselves with private money by next summer."
Tim Duy, "Aftershocks", Economist's View 1 november

"A eurozone recession – possibly severe – looks almost inevitable before the end of the year, even if the region’s debt crisis does not intensify further.

A sharp fall in German industrial production in September, reported by Berlin on Monday, provided the latest evidence that growth had gone into reverse in Europe’s largest economy. Production was down 2.7 per cent on the previous month. /.../

The risk now is that doubts over the public finances and future political leadership of Greece and Italy turn a “mild” recession into something much worse. “The persisting uncertainty is poison for economic growth,” warned Ulrike Rondorf, economist at Commerzbank.

Unlike the export-led economic slump in Europe that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank in late 2008, the causes of the current slowdown are largely domestic – and unlikely to be reversed in the foreseeable future.

Compounding a loss of economic confidence among business leaders and consumers, fiscal austerity measures are squeezing spending on goods and services across the continent, not just in crisis affected countries such as Italy, Spain Portugal and Greece. France on Monday announced another package of tax increases and expenditure cuts."
Ralph Atkins, "German slowdown likely to lead to eurozone recession", FT 7 nov

Uppdatering 19 januari 2012
Standard & Poor's bedömer det inte som att eurozonens nedskärningspolitik/austerity är rätt medicin och nedgraderar Frankrike och Österrike från AAA plus fyra länder som inte var AAA. Economist kommenterar:
"According to S&P, EU leaders have misdiagnosed the euro-zone crisis. They have focused too much on tackling the increase in governments’ budget deficits, which is only part of the problem. As a result, they did not pay enough attention to the deeper causes of the crisis: the divergence in competitiveness between the euro-zone’s core of strong economies and its struggling "periphery" as well as the huge cross-border debts that stem from this gap. Reforms based solely on fiscal austerity could easily become self-defeating, notes S&P."
Economist Free Exchange, "France goes soft-core", 14 januari

Tim Duy, "How's That Austerity Working?", Economist's View 15 januari
"Even the illusion of political unity in Europe appears to be dissolving before our eyes. This, of course, should come as no surprise to anyone watching the European crisis unfold. The key problem always was the internal imbalances, a problem for which European policymakers have never offered a credible solution. They simply don't have such a solution in the context of a system of fixed exchange rates. I believe that currency devaluation is the only option that will change relative competitiveness in any reasonable timeframe and restore internal balance. But that option is unavailable for Euro members.

Lacking currency devaluation as a tool to resolve imbalances, European policymakers turned to fiscal austerity. That plan has failed, pushing nation after nation into ever deepening recession. With Greece going on its fifth year of recession, I imagine by now that Portugal, Spain, and even Italy now see the writing on the wall for themselves. Sadly, however, the alternative is exiting the Euro, which almost certainly means financial chaos for the Continent as a whole. /.../
In Europe, the unstoppable force of austerity is colliding with the immovable object that is reality. "
Tim Duy, "Is Europe About to Unravel", Economist's View 16 januari

Uppdatering 19 april 2012
Hur ser en japanisering -- "lost decade" etc -- av eurokrisen ut? Richard Milne spekulerar i sjunkande tyska statsobligationsräntor (dvs stigande priser på statsobligationerna) och fallande eller långsamt utvecklande aktiepriser.
Richard Milne, "Eurozone is starting to look Japanese", FT 18 april