Showing posts with label Macro Demystified.   Show all posts

Football’s minnows demonstrate how poor countries can catch up

From a new post by Tim Harford:

“Prof Rodrik has found evidence that unconditional convergence does happen, not for economies as a whole but for specific manufacturing sectors in those economies, such as “macaroni and noodles” or “knitted or crocheted apparel” or “plastic sacks and bags”.

If such a sector is well behind the global cutting edge, it can expect labour productivity to grow by 4-8 per cent a year, enough to double every decade or two. This tendency holds regardless of what else might be happening in the economy. Why?

The likely answer is that such manufacturing sectors get drawn into global supply chains. They can learn quickly, and must do so to respond to the incessant threat of competition. They will be doing business with suppliers and customers who can provide swift feedback and instruction. In the modern global economy, certain kinds of know-how travel fast, small tasks are unbundled, and part-finished goods and components shuttle back and forth across borders. Any enterprise plugged into this process will improve quickly. It may be more closely integrated into global supply chains than its own local economy, which might not keep up.

All of which brings us back to football. Two economists, Melanie Krause and Stefan Szymanski, decided to examine whether the unconditional convergence hypothesis holds for international men’s football, as it does for manufacturing sectors. (Prof Szymanski is the co-author, with the Financial Times’s Simon Kuper, of Soccernomics. (UK) (US)) Football, after all, offers a long data set and some clear measures of performance. International football’s governing body, Fifa, has more members than the UN.

Sure enough, Profs Krause and Szymanski found that the strength of international football teams is converging. The minnows are acquiring bite, and the old cliché, “there are no easy games in international football”, is far truer today than it was in 1950.

Perhaps we should not be surprised. As with manufacturing, the standard of competition is fierce, performance metrics unforgiving, and the very best ideas will be copied. As an additional spur to progress, elite football offers a global labour market: a strong player from a weak national team will spend most of his time at a top club side in the company of world-class dietitians, trainers, and teammates. His home nation will enjoy the benefits.

It is tempting to draw grand conclusions from all this, about the increasing importance of knowledge in globalisation; about the bracing effects of robust international competition; about the benefits of being open to international migrants. But perhaps it is better to just watch the football. In an age of distressing reality-TV politics, here, at least, is a competitive spectacle we can all enjoy.”

Continue reading here.

 

 

From a new post by Tim Harford:

“Prof Rodrik has found evidence that unconditional convergence does happen, not for economies as a whole but for specific manufacturing sectors in those economies, such as “macaroni and noodles” or “knitted or crocheted apparel” or “plastic sacks and bags”.

If such a sector is well behind the global cutting edge, it can expect labour productivity to grow by 4-8 per cent a year,

Read the full article…

Posted by at 11:00 AM

Labels: Inclusive Growth, Macro Demystified

Optimal inflation and the identification of the Phillips curve

From a new VOX post by Michael McLeay and Silvana Tenreyro:

“We have long known that the empirical Phillips curve may vary with monetary policy (Lucas 1976). One common explanation for the Great Inflation of the 1970s is that policymakers mistakenly tried to exploit the prevailing reduced-form Phillips curve, and in so doing caused it to disappear (e.g. Sargent et al. 2006). In contrast, our point is that a disappearing Phillips curve is also a natural consequence of good monetary policy. If the true model of the economy involves a Phillips curve relationship, monetary policymakers aware of its existence should ensure it remains elusive in the data.”

From a new VOX post by Michael McLeay and Silvana Tenreyro:

“We have long known that the empirical Phillips curve may vary with monetary policy (Lucas 1976). One common explanation for the Great Inflation of the 1970s is that policymakers mistakenly tried to exploit the prevailing reduced-form Phillips curve, and in so doing caused it to disappear (e.g. Sargent et al. 2006). In contrast, our point is that a disappearing Phillips curve is also a natural consequence of good monetary policy.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 1:13 PM

Labels: Macro Demystified

Six unconventional introductions to economics

From Tim Harford:

“My list of five of the best introductions to economics wasn’t exactly the usual suspects, but I wanted to stray a little further off the obvious territory and recommend six books you might want to read to give you an unusual introduction to economics.

A couple of years after the financial crisis I came across Charles Perrow’s Normal Accidents (UK) (US). Perrow is a sociologist who became fascinated by particular kinds of system, ones which were “complex” (meaning that consequences of error are unpredictable) and “tightly coupled” (meaning that the consequences unfold quickly and irreversibly). His case studies include terrible accidents such as the Challenger disaster and Chernobyl – hauntingly described – but I increasingly came to realise that economic and financial systems could and should be studied with the same eye.  (For the same reason, I’d also recommend anything by James Reason. (UK) (US).)

Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein’s Cartoon Introduction To Economics (UK) (US) is perfectly conventional in many ways – except that it’s a cartoon, and also pretty funny, as you might expect from Bauman, a stand-up comedian. Good stuff.”

Continue reading here

From Tim Harford:

“My list of five of the best introductions to economics wasn’t exactly the usual suspects, but I wanted to stray a little further off the obvious territory and recommend six books you might want to read to give you an unusual introduction to economics.

A couple of years after the financial crisis I came across Charles Perrow’s Normal Accidents (UK) (US).

Read the full article…

Posted by at 1:29 PM

Labels: Macro Demystified

The U.S. Personal Saving Rate

A new IMF paper shows that “Before the crisis, the personal saving rate was trending downwards. However, in 2008 there was a significant rise in the saving rate that continued until the end of 2012, suggesting a permanent change in household behavior. […] the rise in the saving rate during 2008-2012 was caused by the negative shocks to income, employment and wealth. This result explains why the saving rate resumed its decline in 2013, as real disposable income, employment
and net worth recovered. Assuming that the real growth in these determinants remains strong, the estimated model predicts continued negative pressures on the current account deficit and further external imbalances attributable to the U.S. household sector.”

A new IMF paper shows that “Before the crisis, the personal saving rate was trending downwards. However, in 2008 there was a significant rise in the saving rate that continued until the end of 2012, suggesting a permanent change in household behavior. […] the rise in the saving rate during 2008-2012 was caused by the negative shocks to income, employment and wealth. This result explains why the saving rate resumed its decline in 2013, as real disposable income,

Read the full article…

Posted by at 1:35 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth, Macro Demystified

Finance, the state and innovation

From the Enlightened Economist:

“Yesterday brought the launch of a new and revised edition of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy by William Janeway. Anybody who read the first (2012) edition will recall the theme of the ‘three player game’ – market innovators, speculators and the state – informed by Keynes and Minsky as well as Janeway’s own experience combining an economics PhD with his experience shaping the world of venture capital investment.

The term refers to how the complicated interactions between government, providers of finance and capitalists drive technological innovation and economic growth. The overlapping institutions create an inherently fragile system, the book argues – and also a contingent one. Things can easily turn out differently.

The book starts with a more descriptive first half, including Janeway’s “Cash and Control” approach to investing in new technologies, and also an account of how the three players in the US shaped the computer revolution. This is an admirably clear but nuanced history emphasising the important role of the state – through defense spending in particular – but also the equally vital private sector involvement. I find this sense of the complicated and path dependent interplay far more persuasive than simplistic accounts emphasising either the government or the market.”

Continue reading here.

From the Enlightened Economist:

“Yesterday brought the launch of a new and revised edition of Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy by William Janeway. Anybody who read the first (2012) edition will recall the theme of the ‘three player game’ – market innovators, speculators and the state – informed by Keynes and Minsky as well as Janeway’s own experience combining an economics PhD with his experience shaping the world of venture capital investment.

Read the full article…

Posted by at 11:33 AM

Labels: Macro Demystified

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