Tag Archives: Vekst

Storbritannia og Frankrike fremstår som de fremste som eksperimentører med ekspansiv kontraksjon.

La meg forklare. Som jeg skrev for noen timer siden, og som du som hobbyøkonom burde stusset ved, var at to tilsynelatende motstridende verdener eksisterer samtidig.

Frankrike øker skatter for å nedbetale gjeld, samtidig som vekstutsiktene og arbeidsledigheten ser dårligere ut i umiddelbar fremtid. Ville du hevet skattene i dårlige tider? Og hvis du gjorde det, ville du bruke de ekstra pengene på å betale utenlandske kreditorer?

Frankrike har dårlig vekstutsikter samtidig som arbeidsledigheten sitter fast på et høyt nivå.
Screen shot 2011 08 25 at 17 14 47
(Foto: Google)
Og den naturlige arbeidsledighetsraten (NAIRU) er også høy:Screen shot 2011 08 25 at 17 19 23
(Foto: Fra Stock and Volger-Ludwig, 2010 (PDF))

Frankrike driver derfor med hva økonomer sier er helt bakvendtland-politikk. Selv om Frankrike nærmer seg hva Rogoff og Reinhart mener er den magiske grensen på 90% gjeld av BNP (det er da de virkelige problemene kommer), så har Frankrike andre problemer enn gjeld, men det er i frykt av at markedet kommer til å straffe Frankrike i form av høye lånekostnader at Frankrike velger å bruke tid, krefter og penger på å senke gjelden og tilfredsstille markedet.

Forresten, hvor mye må Frankrike betale for å låne penger:France10Ybond (Foto: ECB, Bloomberg)

Hva Frankrike og Storbritannia gjør er langt fra konvensjonell økonomi. På den ene siden står det faktum at arbeidsledigheten er miserabel, ofte mellom 8%-12% i EU. Veksten i økonomien er ikke nok til å holde følge med befolkningsvekst, og eksportsektorer blir truffet hardt. På den andre siden står gjeldsspøkelset, som truer gjeldsbyrden til ett land hvis rentene øker (Hellas, Irland, Portugal).

Frankrike og Storbritannia er ikke slike land hvor gjelden burde veie tyngst.

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Norge: Movin’ on up.

Denne fra Statistisk sentralbyrå dukket opp i leseren min idag:

Kvartalsvis nasjonalregnskap: Fortsatt god vekst i norsk økonomi: «Bruttonasjonalprodukt (BNP) for Fastlands-Norge gikk opp med 1,0 prosent fra 1. til 2. kvartal, ifølge foreløpige sesongjusterte tall. BNP Fastlands-Norge var 2,4 prosent høyere i første halvår 2011 enn i første halvår 2010.»

(Via Statistisk sentralbyrå siste 3 dager.)

Dette er ikke et tegn på dramatisk vekst, men passer godt med bildet Norges Bank og Finansdepartementet tegner av norsk økonomi.

Industriproduksjon har falt noe, verksted og treforedling, mens kraftforsyning og tjenesteyting dro veksten oppover.

Dessuten er det hyggelig å se en økt eksport, 0,4% fra 1. til 2. kvartal.

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JP Morgan nedjusterer global vekst. Her er hvorfor.

Utdrag:

There are three main reasons for our downgrade. First, the recent incoming data, especially in the US and the euro area, have been disappointing, suggesting less momentum into 2H11 and pushing down full-year 2011 estimates. Second, recent policy errors – especially Europe’s slow and insufficient response to the sovereign crisis and the drama around lifting the US debt ceiling – have weighed down on financial markets and eroded business and consumer confidence. A negative feedback loop between weak growth and soggy asset markets now appears to be in the making in Europe and the US. This should be aggravated by the prospect of fiscal tightening in the US and Europe.

Hva som skyldes en nedjustering: økonomiske data, politisk snubling og kontraktiv finanspolitikk.

DnB NOR kom med sine ‘Økonomiske utsikter’ idag og gjenspeiler JP Morgans analyser.

Kommer med mer.

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0,2%. Er det alt du har Europa?

Det ser slik ut. Fra Eurostat kommer mer dårlige nyheter for EU (men ikke for skandinavia):

Flash estimate for the second quarter of 2011

Euro area and EU27 GDP up by 0.2%

GDP increased by 0.2% in both the euro area1 (EA17) and the EU271 during the second quarter of 2011, compared with the previous quarter, according to flash estimates published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the first quarter of 2011, growth rates were +0.8% in both zones.

Begredelige 0,2% vekst for EU landene i andre kvartal. Sverige, Finland og Latvia er landene som kommer best ut av denne rapporten (1,0%, 1,2%, og 2,2%), maskinen Tyskland vokste med 0,1%, Italia 0,3% og Spania 0,2.

Frustrasjonen ligger tykt i landskapet.

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Nå som det var gjort, her er 1,3% dårlig nyheter fra USA.

1,3
De ferskeste produksjonstallene fra USA er offentliggjort. På forhånd var det tipset 1,9% annualisert vekst, noe som i seg selv er meget dårlig. Knapt ikke i takt med befolkningsveksten. Så kom indikasjonene på at det ville ligge et sted mellom 1,7% og 1,8%. Deretter ble 1,5% slengt rundt. Det skulle vise seg å være optimisisk

Bureau of Economic Analysis publiserte de faktiske data. Den amerikanske økonomien vokste med en annualisert rate på 1,3% i andre kvartal. Samtidig ble tall fra fjerde kvartal i fjor nedjustert kraftig.
Hva skjedde?

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and federal government spending
that were partly offset by a negative contribution from state and local government spending. Imports,
which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

Amerikanere bremser opp privat konsumet:

Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.1 percent in the second quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.1 percent in the first. Durable goods decreased 4.4 percent, in contrast to an
increase of 11.7 percent. Nondurable goods increased 0.1 percent, compared with an increase of 1.6
percent. Services increased 0.8 percent, the same increase as in the first.

Se på første setning. Et kraftig tramp på bremsen.
Vi du lese mer om detaljene i USA, gå hit.

Når jeg samtidig kikker på arbeidsløsheten, og hvordan den er sammensatt ser det fortsatt ikke lyst ut i USA.

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Jeg har ventet på en god grunn til å snakke om økonomisk vekst. Her er en unnskyldning.

Bruce Bartlett, som vi har nevnt her tidligere, kommenterer på skattekutt som kilde (eller ikke) for økonomisk vekst og det å sette skattekutt i sentrum for et økonomisk vekst argument er en dårlig idè (les hele, fet er meg):

What Really Matters for Growth (It’s Not Tax Rates):

When Republicans talk about economic growth, they tend to talk as if there is only one factor that affects it: tax rates. Thus, last week former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, put forward an economic plan that he said would raise growth rate of the real gross domestic product to 5 percent per year from its historical level of about half that. His only specific proposal for achieving this ambitious goal was to slash tax rates on the wealthy.

Pawlenty would cut the top individual income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, and eliminate completely all taxation of capital gains, interest and dividends – the principal sources of income for the wealthy. Implausibly, Pawlenty asserted that despite reducing revenues by some $8 trillion over the next 10 years – from the lowest level of federal revenues as a share of GDP in 60 years – that his plan would balance the budget. I could find no data or analysis of how Pawlenty’s plan would actually achieve this goal.

My purpose today is not to criticize the particulars of Pawlenty’s plan, which is very much in the Republican mainstream, but rather to talk about the nature of economic growth and how one-dimensional the GOP view is. The truth is that economists know a lot about what causes growth and what policies will raise the growth rate, and tax rates have a far smaller role than most people and all Republicans believe.

To present the textbook view of what determines long-term economic growth, I turned to an actual textbook by Harvard economist Gregory Mankiw, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for George W. Bush.

Mankiw begins by noting that economic growth is essentially a function of productivity – output per man-hour. How much a worker can produce is a function of several things: physical capital (machines, equipment, public infrastructure), human capital (education and training), natural resources (energy, land), and scientific and technological knowledge.

The key determinant of the amount of capital available to workers is saving – foregone consumption from current production. In general, more saving will lead to more investment, and more investment will raise productivity and growth.

Economists have spent many years trying to figure out how to increase the rate of saving, without much success. Insofar as individuals are concerned, their saving is largely determined by the need to save for retirement, get the down payment on a house, pay for their children’s education, and have a financial cushion for unforeseen circumstances. These are all things people would have to save for even if they got no return on their savings at all. Consequently, reducing the tax rate on saving is very unlikely to raise the personal savings rate. Research on the impact of tax-favored savings accounts, such as Individual Retirement Accounts and 401(k) plans, shows that people mostly shift their saving and don’t increase the total amount. Of vastly more importance, economically, is saving and investment by businesses and governments.

What matters for business investment is not the corporate tax rate, but the ultimate tax rate on capital including the tax on the corporation’s owners, the shareholders. In 2003, that was almost 58 percent – 35 percent at the corporate level and as much as 35 percent at the individual level. Now, that combined rate is at most 45 percent because in 2003 the tax rate on dividends was reduced to a maximum of 15 percent.

Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that the 2003 tax cut did anything to stimulate corporate investment. Indeed, according to the Federal Reserve, nonfinancial corporations have increased their holdings of liquid assets to $1.8 trillion from $1.2 trillion since 2003. Thus it’s implausible that a further reduction in the corporate rate, as Pawlenty and other Republicans favor, would do much to raise investment.

What is holding back business investment is not taxes, but poor economic prospects. For some time, members of the National Federation of Independent Business have listed “poor sales” as their number one problem. Businesses are not going to invest, no matter how low the tax rate is, if there is no demand for their output.

Government mainly affects savings not so much through tax rates as through the budget deficit, which constitutes negative saving. When government borrows, it takes funds out of the economy that would otherwise be available to finance domestic investment. Alternatively, the U.S. must borrow more from foreigners, which increases the trade deficit. In the national income and product accounts, the trade deficit is subtracted from GDP, thus lowering growth.

The bottom line is that neither taxes nor spending by themselves are the most important government contribution to the investment climate; it’s the budget deficit. Consequently, a reduction in tax revenue which raises the deficit is unlikely to stimulate domestic investment because more money will have to be borrowed from abroad. Conversely, a tax increase dedicated to deficit reduction could well be stimulative, as was the case with the 1982 and 1993 tax increases. Contrary to Republican dogma, rapid growth followed on both occasions.

A big cut in the budget deficit would be destabilizing in the short-run, but a reduction in the long-term deficit would free up more national saving for private investment. But if taxes are cut at the same time, as Republicans insist, then the economic consequences are ambiguous. With federal taxes at a historical low – they are currently just 14.8 percent of GDP versus a postwar average of about 18.5 percent – it’s implausible to argue that further tax cuts will stimulate growth. Indeed, there is good reason to think that undermining the government’s ability to raise revenue will raise prospects for future deficits, which will drain saving from the economy and reduce investment. For this reason, I am also very skeptical of the idea just floated by the White House to further cut the payroll tax.

If we want to raise the long-term rate of growth, we have to go back to the textbook and increase saving and investment, channel more public investment into education and basic infrastructure, and do everything in our power to promote scientific research and technological advancement. It’s not sexy and it takes a lot of time, but it works.

For 2 uker siden leverte jeg inn min siste eksamen på masternivå; faget var ‘Økonomisk vekst’. Så poengene Bruce nevner sitter ennå langt framme i hodet. Gi meg noen dager på å formulere en kommentar til dette. I mellomtiden, sjekk her

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USA vekst nedjustert. Fra 4% til 2,3%. Ikke bra.

Via David Leonhardt i NY Times:

Higher oil prices, government layoffs, Japan’s devastation and Europe’s debt woes are all working against the recovery. Already, a prominent research firm founded by a former Fed governor, Macroeconomic Advisers, has downgraded its estimate of economic growth in the current quarter to a paltry 2.3 percent, from 4 percent. The Fed’s own forecasts, notes that former governor, Laurence Meyer, “have been incredibly optimistic.”

Dette er ikke bra. Alle avgjørelser med utgangspunkt i at vekstoppgangen etter finanskrisen hadde bitt seg fast, er mer eller mindre defekte. Inflasjonsbekymringene om at for løs pengepolitikk skulle presse inflasjonen langt over målet er defekte. Alle scenarioer for fremtiden, som inkluderer forventninger om økonomisk vekst, må nedjusteres. Ikke bra.

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