Feb 27, 2012

Capital and Institutions First

Good article about the lack of competitiveness (read "productivity" in a broad sense, if you find "competitiveness" vague and misleading) of Southern Europe countries (link).

We all know that when residents of poor countries emigrate to rich ones, the same weak bodies and flawed characters that produce very little at home suddenly explode into economic vigor.

If Southern Europe lacks competitiveness, the part of the cost structure that needs to be reformed has to do with rents paid to capital rather than the sticky wages of workers.

The European periphery was rendered uncompetitive by toxic patterns of capital allocation, for which both Northern Europe’s financial institutions and Southern Europe’s regulators ought to be held accountable.

The wages workers are paid for the goods and services they do produce are in line with the rest of Europe’s.

Knowing a little of my country and some Italians, I quite agree.
In my experience, it's not workers per se that are less productive, less trained or have less potential. And from what I know those who did move outside of Italy indeed perform well abroad. Maybe there's a little selection bias since those who move might be better than those who remain on average. But I believe this is not so strong and in my experience I did not find large intrinsic difference in the people I worked with within Italy and outside it.

The real and large difference is in the "system", or in the capital depth in a broad sense as social and physical capital. It's the fact that the same person may not find himself in the right condition to perform and behave well (and live better). He may not have the right infratructure and the right incentives.

Feb 13, 2012

Cochrane sulla crisi europea

Interessante articolo di John Cochrane sulla crisi europea e sull'euro.
Trovo molto condivisibile la parte sui pericoli della svalutazione.
Sono abbastanza d'accordo sul fatto che l'unione fiscale non sia un nodo cruciale, specialmente se questo implica che chi adotta l'euro si fa anche carico di salvare eventuali Stati in crisi. Ritengo però che un qualche tipo di unione fiscale, forse politica, sia comunque la strada da perseguire nel lungo periodo per ragioni economiche ed anche di politica internazionale.
Concordo anche sulla necessità di una migliore regolamentazione bancaria, più che di salvataggi ecc.

Insomma un articolo con molti spunti per ragionare e non scontato, almeno rispetto a quel che si sente normalmente in giro.
Buona lettura.

Come le cattive idee peggiorano la crisi del debito europeo


Feb 12, 2012

We could be creationg jobs, but we don't.

I, as an economist and as an Italian, found this article very touching.
The reasoning is neat. And it makes clear what kind of issues arise in the labour market on the enterpreneur's side.
Is it really only about Hungary?

I wish more people in Italy could listen and understand the argument with an impartial eye. And think about our labor market again. In particular about what should be the role of the State in solving these kind of frictions.

To give you an idea, here an abstract (full article):

I could hire 12 people with €760 net salary, but I don't.

Feb 11, 2012

Stop ACTA & TPP


Stop ACTA & TPP: Tell your country's officials: NEVER use secretive trade agreements to meddle with the Internet. Our freedoms depend on it!

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Cosa sono ACTA e TPP?
Per cominciare inquadriamo la cosa: stiamo parlando di internet, copyright e proprietà intellettuale.
Siamo nello stesso campo del SOPA, di cui al post precedente.

Le mie idee al riguardo le ho già espresse, perciò rimando ai vecchi post, ricordando che il mi pensiero deriva solo in parte da convinzioni personali, ma soprattutto da ragionamenti coerenti dal punto di vista economico, dall'analisi dei fatti e da alcune argomentazioni di tipo etico.

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