Should senior economic advisors feel they can loose their job to make them do their homework?
I’m afraid I’ve got to react to Antonio Fatas, who shows that (A) Spanish productivity increased relatively fast after 2008 while (B) German and UK and Dutch productivity actually declined. This explains a lot of the differences in unemployment in these countries: when GDP declines with about 6% and GDP per worker increases with 10% employment (measured in workers) will decline by 16% (as happened in Spain). When (as happened in the UK) GDP declines with 2% but GDP per worker declines with 5% – employment will actually increase. The regular reader of this blog is aware of this. It’s good that Fatas points this out.
But that’s not why I react. In a twitter reaction, @miotei, “Senior Analyst, International Political Economy, Elcano Royal Institute. Author of ‘The Euro, the Dollar and the Global Financial Crisis‘”, states: ‘Yes, sadly Spanish workers seem to work a lot harder when they feel they will lose their job“.
Sadly, @miotei, who has a job as an economic advisor with serious responsibilities and can make people lose their job when he gives the wrong advise, clearly did not do his homework and should have worked a lot harder. The large arithmetical increase of Spanish productivity is NOT caused by ‘reforms’ but by the epic decline of low productivity construction, which arithmetically led to a rise of average productivity of the entire economy. Look here. A more generalized critique of using macro productivity data as indicators of competitivety can be found here. Macro-economics is to an extent the science of weighted averages of weighted averages which is pretty compicated complicated as the weights shift all the time. @miotei should have known this. He didn’t. Should he loose his job? Or might it be better when he feels that he, a spanish economist, has a mission: working to restore Spanish prosperity and employment by giving sound advises aimed at employing people and the journey to an economy were Spanish people are treated with dignity by at least senior economic analysts?