What does GDP measure? How was it constructed and how did it become so important? What are alternatives? A historical introduction into the critique of GDP as measure of economic welfare.
How countries achieve long-term GDP growth is up there with the most important topics in economics. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it “the consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” Ricardo Hausmann et al take a refreshing approach to this question in their Atlas of Economic Complexity. They argue a country’s growth depends on the complexity of its economy: it must have a diverse economy which produces a wide variety of products, including ones that cannot be produced much elsewhere. The Atlas goes into detail on exactly what complexity means, how it fits the data, and what this implies for development. Below I will offer a summary of their arguments, including some cool data visualisations.
As the global economic landscape evolves, demographics shift, inequality expands, climate change gets worse and technology continues to advance at breakneck speed, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is struggling to stay relevant.
This essay focuses on the sources of government revenue within the Middle East and North African (MENA) region and proposes the implementation of a regional tax reset through increased taxation and tax reforms, deregulation in the private sector and economic diversification to reduce macroeconomic volatilities caused by the hydrocarbon industry.
Environmental catastrophe looms large over politics: from the young person’s climate march to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, increasing amounts of political space are devoted to the issue. Central to this debate is the question of whether economic growth inevitably leads to environmental issues such as depleted finite resources and increased waste, disruption of natural cycles and ecosystems, and of course climate change. Growth is the focal point of the de-growth and zero-growth movements who charge that despite efficiency gains, increased GDP always results in increased use of energy and emissions. On the other side of the debate, advocates of continued growth (largely mainstream economists) believe that technological progress and policies can ‘decouple’ growth from emissions.
The notion that the demand and supply side are independent is a key feature of textbook undergraduate economics and of modern macroeconomic models. Economic output is thought to be constrained by the productive capabilities of the economy - the ‘supply-side' - through technology, demographics and capital investment. In the short run a boost in demand may increase GDP and employment due to frictions such as sticky wages, but over the long-term successive rises in demand without corresponding improvements on the supply side can only create inflation as the economy reaches capacity. In this post I will explore the alternative idea of demand-led growth, where an increase in demand can translate into long-run supply side gains. This theory is most commonly associated with post-Keynesian economics, though it has been increasingly recognised in the mainstream literature.
Draw me the economy gives a short introduction in the measurement of the Gross Domestic Product and Purchasing Power Parity and comments on what needs to be taken into consideration when comparing countries and mentions some shortcomings of GDP as criterion of wealth.
Global Value Chains (GVCs) started to play an increasing and key role in the global economy from the 1990s on. The market mechanism in GVCs supports industrialisation in the Global South and under certain conditions product and process upgrading. But GVCs do not lead to the catching-up of countries in the sense of them approaching real GDP per capita levels comparable with developed countries. These arguments are supported by a critical interpretation of the traditional trade theory, the New Trade Theory and specific approaches to explain GVCs, especially different governance structures and power relationships. Several case studies support these arguments. For catching-up, countries need comprehensive horizontal and vertical industrial policy and policies for social coherence. The small number of countries which managed to catch up did this in different variations.
What influence do changes in tax policy or state decisions on expenditure have on economic growth? For decades, this question has been controversially debated.
Although sometimes used as synonyms, economic growth and economic development refer to different processes. While economic growth refers to an increase in real national income and output (i.e., GDP growth rate), economic development refers to an improvement in the quality of life and living standards (i.e., life expectancy).
With the onset of an economic crisis that has been universally acknowledged since the end of March, two main questions arise: To what extent is the corona pandemic the starting point (or even the cause) of this crisis? And secondly: can the aid programmes that have been adopted prevent a deep and prolonged recession?
The general idea of a Job Guarantee (JG) is that the government offers employment to everybody ready, willing and able to work for a living wage in the last instance as an Employer of Last Resort. The concept tackles societal needs that are not satisfied by market forces and the systemic characteristic of unemployment in capitalist societies. Being a central part of the Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), attention for the JG concept rose in recent years.
Dependency in Central and Eastern Europe - Self-reliance and the need to move beyond economic growth
In this essay, the author takes a critical perspective on the pursuit of growth as the solution for providing for environmental sustainability and economic stability in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Drawing from the framework of dependency theory and presenting brief insights into European core-periphery relations the author then argues for the implementation of an alternative strategy to development that is built around the concept of self-reliance.
The Great Recession 2.0 is unfolding before our very eyes. It is still in its early phase. But dynamics have been set in motion that are not easily stopped, or even slowed. If the virus effect were resolved by early summer—as some politicians wishfully believe—the economic dynamics set in motion would still continue. The US and global economies have been seriously ‘wounded’ and will not recover easily or soon. Those who believe it will be a ‘V-shape’ recovery are deluding themselves. Economists among them should know better but are among the most confused. They only need to look at historical parallels to convince themselves otherwise.
Deforestation is estimated to be responsible for about 12-29% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This essay will explore ecological economics as an alternative lens through which to approach forest conservation and the acceleration of climate change.
What made the false assumption that saving the economy at all cost during a pandemic so popular? This paper discusses different pathways through the COVID-19 pandemic at national and international level, and their consequences on the health of citizens and their economies.
An essay of the writing workshop on contemporary issues in the field of Nigerian economics: Labour and all the dynamics, such as laws, mobility, gender participation, regulation etc., that are associated with it cements the need for this paper which seeks to objectively review, analyse, and if deemed necessary, give plausible recommendations.
Understanding international trade is central to economics and is currently a hot political issue. It’s an area where popular perceptions of mainstream economics are low, since they have historically missed some important downsides of trade agreements, especially the hollowing out of former manufacturing hubs in the Western world. et economists have for long time had a theory of trade with an impressive amount of scientific clout behind it: the gravity trade model.
This article by Rüdiger Bachmann et.al. discusses the economic effects of a potential cut-off of the German economy from Russian energy imports.
Here we look at the effect of the 2008 Climate Change Act passed in Parliament in the United Kingdom as an effort to curb emissions in all sectors. The Act aside from setting goals to become a low-carbon economy sets up an independent committee on Climate Change to ensure the implementation of policies to comply with the ultimate goal of 80% reduction in total emissions in 2050. I make use of the Synthetic Control Method (SCM) to create a comparative case study in which the creation of a synthetic UK serves as a counterfactual where the treatment never occurred (Cunningham, 2018).
Whether a black swan or a scapegoat, Covid-19 is an extraordinary event. Declared by the WHO as a pandemic, Covid-19 has given birth to the concept of the economic “sudden stop.” We need extraordinary measures to contain it.
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
Feminist economics is a key component of the movement for pluralism in economics and one that has, to some extent, been acknowledged by the mainstream of the profession. It seeks to highlight issues which affect women because (it claims) they have not traditionally been recognised in a field dominated by men. On top of this, it seeks to carve out a space for women in the discipline, both for intrinsic reasons of fairness and diversity and because it means that women’s issues are more likely to be highlighted going forward.
An essay of the writing workshop on Nigeria’s Readiness for and the Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
As the Covid-19 fueled economic downturn begins to intensify this winter, an extended study of the Italian cooperative sector’s historical resilience in times of crisis can serve as a learning experience for other countries seeking to create policies that foster more stable economies, with job security, care for marginalized communities and adequate counter-cyclical policies. Particularly, the Italian cooperative sector’s contributions to three aspects should be noted in closing. Firstly, the innovative phenomenon of cooperative enterprises has contributed to social inclusion of immigrant communities, the activation of youth, the unemployed and people with disabilities, a true compensation for both a market and state failure. Secondly, they have contributed to a reduction in income and wealth inequalities at a time when the issue of inequality is of global significance. Thirdly, the Italian cooperative movement has helped local communities revitalize in the face of demographic shifts and rendered them more resilient to the ravages of globalization. Each of these in their own right is a remarkable achievement.
Feminist economics focuses on the interdependencies of gender relations and the economy. Care work and the partly non-market mediated reproduction sphere are particularly emphasised by feminist economics.
This film looks at the role economic growth has had in bringing about this crisis, and explores alternatives to it, offering a vision of hope for the future and a better life for all within planetary boundaries.
Is degrowth bad economics To properly answer this question it is essential to understand what economic growth really is The term growth is often associated with an increase in wealth a term loosely defined but according to the degrowth movement economic growth is a narrower concept only describing an increase …
In 18th century Europe figures such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Friedrich List and Jean Baptiste Colbert developed theories regarding international trade, which either embraced free trade seeing it as a positive sum game or recommended more cautious and strategic approaches to trade seeing it as a potential danger and a rivalry and often as a zero-sum game. What about today?
Towards a post-work future: a necessary agenda to reconcile feminist & ecological concerns with work
In this essay the author outlines the basis for embracing a post-work agenda, rooted in an emancipatory potential from the domination of waged work, which could help answer both feminist and ecological concerns with work.
In this essay the authors take a look at how welfare could be provided in a degrowth society.
A central question in development economics literature is, “Why do countries stay poor?” The key disagreements are whether the lack of economic growth stems from institutions or from geography (Nunn 2009). From an institutional perspective, hostile tariff regimes and commodity price dependencies form a barrier to a sectoral shift that would otherwise lead to economic development in developing countries (Blink and Dorton 2011) (Stiglitz 2006).[i]