position:chief economist

  • Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment | Reuters

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

    The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

    Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

    The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

    Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

    But participants in the trial were happier and healthier than the control group.

    “The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way (than) the comparison group,” chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

    Chief economist for the trial Ohto Kanniainen said the low impact on employment was not a surprise, given that many jobless people have few skills or struggle with difficult life situations or health concerns.
    Owner Sini Marttinen poses for a picture at her coffee shop she founded while benefitting from Finland’s basic income scheme in Helsinki, Finland January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Philip O’Connor

    “Economists have known for a long time that with unemployed people financial incentives don’t work quite the way some people would expect them to,” he added.

    Sini Marttinen, 36, had been unemployed for nearly a year before “winning the lottery”, as she described the trial.

    Her basic income gave her enough confidence to open a restaurant with two friends. “I think the effect was a lot psychological,” the former IT consultant told Reuters.

    “You kind of got this idea you have two years, you have the security of 560 euros per month ... It gave me the security to start my own business.”

    Her income only rose by 50 euros a month compared to the jobless benefit she had been receiving, “but in an instant you lose the bureaucracy, the reporting”, Marttinen said.

    Mira Jaskari, 36, who briefly found a job during the trial but lost it due to poor health, said losing the basic income had left her feeling more insecure about money.

    The center-right government’s original plan was to expand the basic income scheme after two years as it tries to combat unemployment which has been persistently high for years but reached a 10-year low of 6.6 percent in December.

    That followed the imposition of benefits sanctions on unemployed people who refused work.

    The basic income has been controversial, however, with leaders of the main Finnish political parties keen to streamline the benefits system but wary of offering “money for nothing”, especially ahead of parliamentary elections due in April.
    Slideshow (2 Images)

    Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party has proposed limiting the basic income to poor people, with sanctions if they reject a job offer, while Conservative finance minister Petteri Orpo says he favors a scheme like Britain’s Universal Credit.

    The higher taxes that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says would be needed to pay for basic income schemes might also be off-putting for voters.

    In a review of the Finnish scheme last year, the OECD warned that implementing it nationally and cost-neutrally for the state would imply significant income redistribution, especially towards couples from single people, and increase poverty.

    The researchers have acknowledged that the Finnish pilot was less than realistic because it did not include any tax claw-back once participants found work and reached a certain income level.

    Swiss voters rejected a similar scheme in 2016. Italy is due to introduce a “citizens’ wage” in April in a major overhaul of the welfare state, which will offer income support to the unemployed and poor.

    Trial participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of form-filling or attending jobseekers’ courses.

    He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it difficult again for him to accept commissions, because “I ... can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits”.

    “If people are paid money freely that makes them creative, productive and welfare brings welfare,” Muraja told Reuters about his experience of the pilot.

    “If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. That is my assessment.”

    ($1 = 0.8817 euros)

  • IMF’s New Chief Economist Is a Great Choice

    New thinking at the IMF.
    Photographer: Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images

    Having followed Gita Gopinath’s work closely for several years, I am delighted the International Monetary Fund appointed her to head its influential research department as chief economist.

    Gopinath, a professor of International Studies and Economics at Harvard University and co-director of the International Finance and Macroeconomics program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, brings expertise, insights and cognitive diversity to the IMF. Her appointment comes at an important time, as the fund seeks to evolve its thinking and practices to better reflect realities on the ground, particularly the two-way causal relationship between macroeconomic and financial issues.

  • Joseph Stiglitz on artificial intelligence : ’We’re going towards a more divided society’

    The technology could vastly improve lives, the economist says – but only if the tech titans that control it are properly regulated. ‘What we have now is totally inadequate’ It must be hard for Joseph Stiglitz to remain an optimist in the face of the grim future he fears may be coming. The Nobel laureate and former chief economist at the World Bank has thought carefully about how artificial intelligence will affect our lives. On the back of the technology, we could build ourselves a richer (...)

    #algorithme #solutionnisme #discrimination


  • World Bank Unfairly Influenced Its Own Competitiveness Rankings - WSJ

    The World Bank repeatedly changed the methodology of one of its flagship economic reports over several years in ways it now says were unfair and misleading.

    The World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday he would correct and recalculate national rankings of business competitiveness in the report called “#Doing_Business” going back at least four years.

    The revisions could be particularly relevant to Chile, whose standings have been volatile in recent years—and potentially tainted by political motivations of World Bank staff, Mr. Romer said.

    The report is one of the most visible World Bank initiatives, ranking countries around the world by the competitiveness of their business environment. Countries compete against each other to improve their standings, and the report draws extensive international media coverage.
    I want to make a personal apology to Chile, and to any other country where we conveyed the wrong impression,” Mr. Romer said. The problems with the report, he said, were “my fault because we did not make things clear enough.” Mr. Romer said the World Bank is beginning the process of correcting the past reports and republishing what the rankings would have been without the methodology changes. He said he couldn’t defend “the integrity” of the process that led to the methodology changes.

    Chile’s overall ranking has fluctuated between 25th and 57th since 2006. During that period, the presidency of Chile has alternated between Ms. Bachelet, of Chile’s socialist party, and Sebastián Piñera, a conservative. Under Ms. Bachelet, Chile’s ranking consistently deteriorated, while it consistently climbed under Mr. Piñera.

    Recalculating the numbers could show significant changes to other countries as well.

    • Info arrivée via Sergio Coronado, député des Français d’Amérique latine dans la législature précédente qui possède également la nationalité chilienne…

      Je n’ai plus accès au WSJ (paywall) mais toujours au journal chilien qui reprenait l’info (et qui m’y avait conduit). Mais on a déjà trouvé le lampiste à qui imputer ces magouilles. Parce que les changements de méthodologie, hein, ça reste quand même super-sérieux.

      El Banco Mundial perjudicó los números de Chile durante el Gobierno de Bachelet - Cooperativa.cl

      El Wall Street Journal apuntó a la figura del economista boliviano Augusto López-Claros.

      Augusto López-Claros, de nacionalidad boliviana (La Paz, 1955), es director de Indicadores Globales y Análisis del Banco Mundial, el departamento responsable del informe «Doing Business» y otros estudios internacionales de evaluación comparativa.

      De acuerdo a la biografía de su página web, anteriormente fue economista jefe y director del Programa de Competitividad Global en el Foro Económico Mundial (FMI) en Ginebra (desde el año 2003), donde también fue editor del Global Competitiveness Report (Reporte de Competitivad Global), la publicación principal del fórum, así como otros estudios económicos regionales.

      Como precisa la plataforma Thinking Heads, antes de unirse al Foro, López-Claro trabajó durante varios años en el sector financiero, ejerciendo durante cinco años como director ejecutivo y economista internacional superior en Londres en la firma Lehman Brothers International, cuya quiebra en 2008 incendió los mercados y aceleró la crisis mundial.

      De acuerdo a su página web, López-Claros se desempeñó como profesor de Economía en la Universidad de Chile y recibió un diploma en Estadística Matemática de la Universidad de Cambridge, Reino Unido, y un Doctorado en Economía de la Universidad de Duke, Estados Unidos

  • Inside the project to fix Britain’s low-performing businesses


    The four-decade-old glassworks at Cumbria Crystal near the Lake District, where molten glass is still blown by mouth, is exactly the sort of company that has, until now, held Britain back, according to the chief economist of the Bank of England.

    A lossmaking small business with 21 staff, it admits it was stuck in the dark ages. “Two years ago we didn’t even have an electronic till,” says Chris Blade, the managing director who joined the company in 2015.

    #royaume-uni #économie #crise_économique

  • How to Hide $400 Million

    In any given year, trillions of dollars sit safely in the offshore financial world, effectively stateless, protected by legions of well-compensated defenders and a tangle of laws deliberately designed to impede creditors and tax collectors. Even the United States government finds it challenging: A special Internal Revenue Service division known as the “wealth squad,” set up in 2010 to crack down on high-end tax evaders with multinational holdings, today has enough manpower to assess only about 200 cases a year.


    This didn’t just threaten Oesterlund’s fortune. It also had the potential to carve open a portal into the world of offshore finance, a place that the global elite has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build and defend. In the offshore archipelago, their interests are hidden behind shell companies and trusts, their anonymity guaranteed under the law, from Delaware to the Bahamas to the South Pacific. James S. Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey, calls the offshore financial world the “economic equivalent of an astrophysical black hole,” holding at least $21 trillion of the world’s financial wealth, more than the gross domestic product of the United States.

    This darkness shields the tax-averse businessman and the criminal alike. Dictators use the offshore system to loot their own countries. Drug lords use it to launder money. As Gabriel Zucman, a University of California economist and an offshore expert, puts it: “They use the same banks, they use the same incorporation agents to create shell companies, they send money in the same ways.”

  • Is the Nobel Prize Good for Science? - Facts So Romantic

    Yesterday, CNN Money published an article headlined, “Nobel prize winner tells Clinton: Tax fossil fuels.” The winner in question was Joseph Stiglitz, an economist at Columbia University, who received the prize 15 years ago. As you might expect, the Nobel is hardly his only accolade. He’s not only the World Bank’s former chief economist and the former chairman of the United States President’s Council of Economic Advisers; Stiglitz is also, as of last month, the third most influential economist in the world (based on academic citations). The Nobel Prize is clearly a motivator for scientists, and a useful handle for those of us looking for an authority in a subject. It was perfectly reasonable for CNN Money to extend Stiglitz the cachet that comes with winning the Nobel. But other than (...)

  • OPEC’s Cheap Oil Strategy Lures Drivers Back Into Gas Guzzlers - Bloomberg

    Last year, SUVs outsold any other type of passenger vehicle in Europe for the first time, according to auto industry consultants JATO Dynamics. The trend has continued in 2016, with demand for SUVs such as the Hyundai Tucson and the Renault Kadjar accounting for a quarter of sales in the biggest European countries.

    Europe is a mirror of what’s happening across the world. From China to the U.S., drivers are buying bigger vehicles, while sales of fuel-efficient hybrids struggle.
    For Saudi Arabia, Iran and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, due to meet on Thursday, the sharp increase in sales of gas guzzlers is good news: It means stronger demand for gasoline and diesel for years to come.

    The trend of fuel-efficiency improvement of the last few years could be stopped by low oil prices,” said Christof Ruhl, head of research at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund, and a former chief economist at BP Plc.

    U.S. average sales-weighted fuel-economy rating

  • The Mystery of the Vanishing Pay Raise

    ... the labor market is a lot softer than a 5.1 percent jobless rate would indicate. For one thing, the percentage of Americans who are working has fallen considerably since the recession began. This disappearance of several million workers — as labor force dropouts they are not factored into the jobless rate — has meant continued labor market weakness, which goes far to explain why wage increases remain so elusive. End of story, many economists say.


    Jared Bernstein, a former chief economist for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., put it another way: “There’s this pervasive norm” among employers “that labor costs must be held down at all costs because maximizing profits is the be-all and end-all.”

    He added that the “atomization” of the American workplace — with the use of more temps, subcontractors, part-timers and on-call workers — had reduced companies’ costs and workers’ bargaining power.

    As a result of all these trends, the share of corporate income going to workers has sunk to its lowest level since 1951. The Economic Policy Institute found that the decline in labor’s share of corporate income since 2000 costs workers $535 billion annually, or $3,770 per worker.

    “The labor share has declined more than you would think in light of the tightening of the labor market,” said Lawrence Katz, a Harvard labor economist. “It suggests we’re seeing a decline in worker bargaining power.”

    Another important trend depressing pay is that more than ever, companies are paying top dollar to star performers — whether marketing wizards or software programmers — while skimping on paying the many workers without special skills.

  • 63 pct. of Saudi students in majors ‘unsuitable’ for market - Al Arabiya News

    A majority of young Saudi men and women in colleges study subjects which are not in demand in the labor market, an economist was quoted as saying in a section of the Arabic press here on Saturday.

    It is important that high school graduates focus on technical and vocational training, especially in light of the fact that 90 percent of those who signed up for Hafiz Unemployment Aid Program hold degrees with specializations unsuitable for the market, Dr. John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Saudi-Fransi Bank, told Al-Hayat newspaper.

    Some 46 percent or 290,000 of the kingdom’s unemployed youth hold bachelor’s degrees. The percentage of unemployed women with bachelor’s degrees stands at 88 percent. Hafiz program has 320,000 applicants in its database.

    Sfakianakis believes that the percentage of high school students admitted into college should be reduced. Official reports indicate that 78 percent of high school graduates have joined universities this year, the highest around the world, compared with 56 percent in member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

    What is really alarming is the fact that currently 63 percent of Saudi students are enrolled in majors unsuitable for the needs of the labor market such as education, humanities, social sciences, and Islamic studies. The private sector is not interested in such specializations, said Dr. Sfakianakis.

    “High school graduates should be encouraged to enroll in technical and vocational colleges,” noted Sfakianakis.

    Only 9 percent of high school graduates have taken up technical and vocational programs in the kingdom compared with 41 percent in OECD member countries and 37 percent in Turkey. The global average of students who join technical and vocational colleges is 40 percent.

  • Business: Social costs of electricity from coal make it uneconomical, researchers assert — Wednesday, September 18, 2013 — www.eenews.net

    the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts.

    That conclusion, derived from analysis on the “social cost of carbon,” is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences by Laurie Johnson, chief economist of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate and Clean Air Program, Starla Yeh of NRDC’s Center for Market Innovation, and Chris Hope of the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.

    “Burning coal is a very costly way to make electricity,” Johnson said in a statement announcing the research findings. “And yet, there are no federal limits on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants may release. That’s wrong. It doesn’t make sense. It’s putting our future at risk.”

    #énergie #santé #électricité

  • Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore | UK news | The Guardian

    Millions of internal records have leaked from Britain’s offshore financial industry, exposing for the first time the identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world, from presidents to plutocrats, the daughter of a notorious dictator and a British millionaire accused of concealing assets from his ex-wife.

    The leak of 2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade, with a former chief economist at McKinsey estimating that wealthy individuals may have as much as $32tn (£21tn) stashed in overseas havens.

    #leak #paradis_fiscaux #évasion_fiscale #technocratie #ploutocratie - à suivre

    The names have been unearthed in a novel project by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ], in collaboration with the Guardian and other international media, who are jointly publishing their research results this week.

    • Les #financiers au coin du bois
      Le mercredi 11 avril 2012


      S’il est élu Monsieur Hollande n’ira sans doute pas au #Fouquet’s, mais le Fouquet’s viendra à lui. Pas pour rire mais pour lui donner sa feuille de route : le Pacte Budgétaire, c’est à dire « la rigueur », la flexibilité du marché du travail, le refinancement des retraites, le dégraissage dans la fonction publique, la « modération » des salaires etc.

      Tout ça au nom de la Crise et de la dette publique. Certes, Monsieur Hollande a dit qu’il renégocierait ce traité. Certes, certes... mais quelques uns ont des doutes. Ils sont dans notre émission d’aujourd’hui qui commence avec un prédicateur du #Marché, un vrai !

      Reportage de François Ruffin.
      Programmation musicale :

      – Ava Carrère : « Valse triste »
      – Yvon Etienne : « L’actionnaire »
      – ZEP : « Pas de baratin »

    • Le plan de bataille des financiers (souvenirs)

      Avant l’élections présidentielles, Nicolas Doisy, chief economist à Chevreux (#Crédit_Agricole), nous avait fait part du plan de bataille des financiers en cas de victoire de #François_Hollande aux #présidentielles... Vous vous souvenez ?

      Un sujet de François Ruffin, réalisé par Olivier Azam - Les Mutins de Pangée - Avril 2012 - Avec Fakir et la-bas.org.

      la traduction en Français du Texte de N. Doizy sur Fakir
      Le plan de bataille des marchés (traduction)

      C’est une note de neuf pages, en anglais, rédigée par le « premier broker indépendant en actions européennes ». Dans ce document, que l’on retrouve dans l’intégralité sur le site de Reporterre, on découvre « le plan de bataille des #marchés » si François Hollande l’emportait. En voici une traduction...

    • France’s Hollande Casts Fate With Ex-Banker Macron

      As the French president shifts away from tax-the-rich policies, Economy Minister Emmanuel #Macron vows to be ‘more confrontational’

      By Stacy Meichtry and
      William Horobin
      Updated March 8, 2015 6:13 p.m. ET

      French Economy Minister #Emmanuel_Macron got an earful in January from U.S. technology and retail executives as they lectured him in a meeting at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas about France’s inhospitable business reputation.


      Mr. Macron juggled his work for Mr. Hollande’s campaign with his duties as an investment banker for Rothschild & Cie. Leveraging connections made through Mr. Attali, Mr. Macron helped arrange Nestlé SA’s $11.8 billion purchase of Pfizer Inc.’s baby-food business.

      The takeover made Mr. Macron wealthy and taught him how to curry favor in a risk-averse corporate culture. “You’re sort of a prostitute,” he says. “Seduction is the job.”

      Meanwhile, Mr. Hollande faced pressure in a tight election campaign to reassure his Socialist Party base. In January 2012, he delivered a barnstorming speech that warned of a “nameless, faceless” menace to France.

      “This enemy is the world of finance,” Mr. Hollande told a cheering crowd. Behind the scenes, he dispatched Mr. Macron to London to reassure investors that the presidential candidate wasn’t a hard-liner.

      The two men clashed when Mr. Hollande vowed to levy the 75% tax on salaries of more than one million euros. Mr. Macron fired off an email to Mr. Hollande, hoping to steer him to a softer stance: “This is Cuba without the sun!”

      After his election, lawmakers approved the tax, and Mr. Hollande stocked his cabinet with left-wing Socialist Party members. Arnaud Montebourg, who regarded government as a guardian against corporate takeovers by foreigners, was named France’s industry minister.

      But in a sign of Mr. Hollande’s determination to balance competing interests, the new president hired Mr. Macron as his deputy chief of staff and primary conduit to the business world.

      Under pressure from the European Union to balance public finances, Mr. Hollande announced €7.2 billion in additional taxes on companies and wealthy people—and then raised the tax bill by €20 billion.
      A business rebellion

      French business owners rebelled. They protested the plan publicly, and layoffs pushed France’s unemployment rate above 10%. Mr. Macron urged Mr. Hollande to change tack, and the president unveiled corporate tax credits of €20 billion in November 2012. Mr. Macron later convinced Mr. Hollande to double the tax breaks despite criticism from the left.

      Mr. Macron also confronted Mr. Montebourg over his attempt to engineer a merger between French engineering firm Alstom SA and German rival Siemens AG. Mr. Montebourg wanted to stop U.S.-based General Electric Co. from buying Alstom’s core turbine business.

      In a June 2013 meeting at the Élysée Palace, Mr. Macron told Mr. Montebourg, who had been promoted to economy minister: “You can block a marriage, but you cannot force a marriage.”

      Mr. Montebourg relented. The next day, the French government backed GE’s proposed $17 billion acquisition. A spokesman for Mr. Montebourg didn’t make him available to comment.