Archive for março \31\+00:00 2011

Provocative “Declaration of independence”

março 31, 2011

O post abaixo foi publicado ontem no jornal Chicago Tribune (  Se a sugestão que ele faz tivesse sido feita por um político, já teria dado muito problema. Como foi feita por um professor de Economia, talvez não cause muito impacto.

Se nós, brasileiros, fôssemos observar a sugestão que o professor dá, e  passássemos a propor ao mundo sugestões semelhantes, creio que num futuro breve teremos muito mais problemas no nosso já conflituoso comércio internacional!


Declaration of independence

By Allen R. SandersonMarch 30, 2011

My fellow Americans,

For too long, the United States of America has been at the mercy of foreign interests — and nations in faraway lands that are often at odds with our core values — when it comes to the production of perhaps the vital resource that drives our economy. We remain far too dependent on this imported commodity that could, in the time of emergency or international political crisis, be denied to us and thus cripple our productivity and reduce us to quivering masses of migraines in a matter of hours. The time for change is now.

I speak, of course, of our complete dependence on coffee that we are importing mainly from Brazil and Colombia. It’s time to wean ourselves from this harmful addiction. My “Coffee Independence” proposal is the key first step.

We may constitute only 5 percent of the world’s population, but we consume fully a third of the planet’s coffee. This nation runs off coffee, most all of it from a sketchy continent. Should we be cut off by one of these sources, for our caffeine fix we’d be forced to drink Coca-Cola for breakfast as well as 10 other times a day.

Our most recent census figures reveal that Detroit lost 25 percent of its population from 2000 to 2010, including those who moved from the city as a result of continuing dismal performances by the Lions and Pistons. And the great state of Michigan as a whole lost population and faces one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.

Thus my administration will propose that we begin immediately to invest in this city and state and turn them into the coffee capital of North America. It will create jobs, jobs, jobs; stimulate economic development; and put Michigan back on the map. After all, it was a beer that made Milwaukee famous, and cows that turned Wisconsin into America’s Dairyland. Why not think of Michigan when you think of mocha?

Going without our morning venti half-caf latte and afternoon frappuccino grande will take some time to get used to, of course. As will building the hothouse infrastructure, turning seedlings into hearty trees; and fully implementing our “Cash for Coffee” stimulus program. And until those beans can be picked by American workers who are paid a living wage, have great health care benefits, 40l(k)s and union representation, this will call for shared sacrifice.

To complement this initiative, I will also propose to Congress that we invest in Florida orange juice production, Nicorette gum and California wines, all 100 percent American products. (And we can thus reduce Brazil to a nation known only for its Carnival, bikini waxes and getting suckered into hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.)

Once fully implemented, we will then turn our full attention to growing cocoa in New Hampshire, a state that figures prominently in the 2012 primaries, instead of importing our secondary caffeine and fat additions — chocolate — from the Ivory Coast and Ghana. After that we will move on the idiom — “For all the tea in China” — and have farmers in another early primary state, Iowa, convert some of their corn (aka ethanol) acreage to tea, thus stopping the flow of American dollars to China and India.

And then for the final phase, I am fully prepared to give new meaning to the term “Banana Republic.”


Any president, past, present and future

Allen R. Sanderson teaches economics at the University of Chicago.

About That Striking Graph from John Taylor

março 31, 2011

Há alguns dias o economista John Taylor publicou um um gráfico que chamou muita atenção: os dados das participações dos gastos no PIB mostram que a mais efetiva maneira de reduzir desemprego é aumentar o investimento como percentagem do PIB!

Mas o que muitos apontaram foi: por que ele só compilou dados a partir dos anos 1990?  Vejam a discussão abaixo (que foi tirada do blog do Prof. Mark Thoma: que tem tudo a ver com a forma de fazer Ciência Econômica!


About That Striking Graph from John Taylor

Since I posted this graph, I should post the follow-up from Justin Wolfers:

How to Spot Advocacy Science: John Taylor Edition, by Justin Wolfers: Sometimes you see the perfect piece of evidence. The scatter plot that is just so. The data line up perfectly. And then you realize, perhaps they’re just too perfect. What you are seeing is advocacy, dressed up as science. Here’s an example, provided by John Taylor (via Greg Mankiw):

Taylor’s conclusion: the data on spending shares show that the most effective way to reduce unemployment is to raise investment as a share of GDP. But why begin the scatter plot in 1990? There’s no good reason. In fact, most folks typically download the entire history of available macro data. So let’s see what happens if we extend it back to, say, 1970:

Hmm… What conclusions should we draw about this relationship? And now why do you think Taylor began his sample in 1990?

Actually, we should use all the available data. The chart below goes back to 1948, when these series—in their current form—began:

Now what’s your conclusion?

Here’s Mankiw’s assessment of Taylor’s claim: There’s no doubt that the strength of the correlation is impressive.

But when you look beyond the cherry-picked sample, the correlation is a decidedly unimpressive -0.14.

Here’s my conclusion: On balance, times in which the investment share is higher, are slightly more likely to be good times. But I’m not sure why. Is it—as Taylor asserts—that high investment shares create good times? Or is it that good times encourage investment? Or is it a third factor—perhaps in good times the government doesn’t need to prime the fiscal pump, and so the investment share is higher? Or is it something else?

Be wary of economists wielding short samples.

Paul Krugman on Taylor:

What’s Behind Low Investment?, by Paul Krugman: This post by John Taylor is getting a lot of attention, because it does show a striking correlation between investment and unemployment

But when Taylor leaps from that correlation to saying that what we need for economic recovery is to “lighten up on the anti-business sentiment coming out of Washington,” I wonder what is going on in his head.

I mean, Taylor presents another graph, showing a plunge in fixed investment since 2006:


But that’s overall fixed investment. Let’s decompose it:


It’s mostly the housing bust! Yes, business investment is low — but no lower than you might expect given the depressed state of the economy. In fact, business investment is roughly the same percentage of GDP now that it was at the same stage of the much milder 2001 recession.

What the data actually say is that we had a catastrophic housing bust and consumer pullback, and that businesses have, predictably, cut back on investment in the face of excess capacity. The rest is just politically motivated mythology.

Made in USA Gives Small Business an Edge

março 29, 2011
Matéria da Bloomberg/Businessweek!
Enterprise March 24, 2011, 5:00PM EST

Made in USA Gives Small Business an Edge

As labor and shipping costs in Asia increase, small stateside apparel makers are able to flaunt their domestic addresses

Tibbetts is narrowing the cost differential with Asian manufacturers

Floto+Warner for Bloomberg Businessweek

By Nick Leiber

With the spring season looming, Dartmouth College men’s head rugby coach Alex Magleby didn’t want to risk waiting the roughly eight weeks his two suppliers typically took to get jerseys, shorts, and jackets from their workshops in Asia. So in February he turned to Boathouse Sports, a Philadelphia manufacturer that promised to provide similar gear in four weeks at about the same price. “We found that Boathouse delivered the quickest, hands down,” says Magleby.

Boathouse and other small U.S. clothing manufacturers that bucked the offshoring trend are catching a tailwind as rising costs for labor and transportation make Asia more expensive. In the U.S. apparel market, domestic production fell from 41 percent in the late 1990s to just 3 percent in 2008, according to the most recent government data. Still, hundreds of small companies, most with just a few dozen employees, manufacture in the U.S. Many are benefiting from their decision to keep production stateside, says Nate Herman, vice-president for international trade at the American Apparel & Footwear Assn. “There haven’t been any new manufacturers popping up, but the ones that are around are pretty much at maximum production,” Herman says.

The recession winnowed out many factories in Asia, so those that survived—primarily large operations—have started turning down or postponing smaller jobs, says Jeremy Lott, a vice-president at SanMar in Preston, Wash., one of the biggest wholesale apparel suppliers in the U.S. Overseas factories “can really pick and choose the orders they want to take and what they’re producing because there’s a shortage,” Lott says. “If you don’t have the buying clout at the factory level, your orders are taking significantly longer than they used to.”

That has led to growing interest in the services of Contract Sew & Repair. Cheryl Evans, who runs the 15-employee company from a vast warehouse near Seattle, says established companies are coming to her with sizable orders—as many as 20,000 shirts or pairs of pants—that were spurned by factories in Asia. “This is a reverse,” Evans says. “Usually companies come to us when they’re first starting out in business because they can’t make [big enough orders] for offshore.”

For some buyers, the price gap between U.S. and Asian factories is no longer the primary concern. Boathouse President and Chief Executive Officer Doug Tibbetts acknowledges that his prices often are about 10 percent to 15 percent higher than those of rivals that manufacture overseas. That’s down from 25 percent two years ago, and the change is enough to win buyers such as Dartmouth coach Magleby, who don’t want to wait months for their orders. “When I talk to peers, they’re always shocked and surprised that we’ve made this commitment” to keep production in Philadelphia, Tibbetts says. That decision, though, is paying off for the 200-employee company. “Our business is up significantly across the board,” Tibbetts says, over 15 percent this year to the “$20 million range.”

Labor trouble in China is making it harder for some retailers that buy from overseas manufacturers to keep their store shelves stocked. Scott Jones, founder of Beyond Clothing, which makes custom outdoor wear in Seattle, says rivals experienced shortages after the weeklong Chinese New Year holiday last February, when many migrant workers decided not to return to factories in Guangdong Province. That supply advantage, combined with growing concern among customers over the loss of American jobs, means sales of Jones’s jackets, fleeces, and waterproof pants are on track to jump as much as 40 percent this year. Consumers “are disgruntled about overseas production, they’re disgruntled with not being able to get their product,” says Jones. Will Manzer, CEO of 65-store outdoor outfitter Eastern Mountain Sports in Peterborough, N.H., says the change in the labor market is hardest on smaller brands. “Many [Asian] factories don’t want to take their orders,” he says. “The capacity availability is just not there.”

Some small companies also say U.S. manufacturers help them maintain a better grip on the quality of the goods they order. While Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), Target (TGT), and other big brands can afford to station buyers in China and send executives across the Pacific to vet suppliers, that would be prohibitive for brands with just a few hundred thousand dollars in sales. Janice Kajanoff, founder of Zentek Clothing, also in Seattle, contemplated using overseas factories, but last year she hired Evans’s company, CSR, to make her brand’s vests, dog coats, and pet crate mats. “Unless you’re gonna hop over and check it all by hand,” Kajanoff says, “you don’t have control over quality.”

The bottom line: Small apparel manufacturers that produce in the U.S. are getting a boost as shipping and labor costs in Asia increase.

Leiber is Small Business editor for, Entrepreneurs editor for, and covers small business for Bloomberg Businessweek.

USA economic recovery

março 29, 2011

Dados de ontem do blog do Prof. Mark Perry (  apontando para a surpreendente recuperação da economia dos EUA!


U.S. Manufacturing Profits Soar to Record High

Both after-tax profits and after-tax profit margins (profits/sales) for U.S. manufacturing corporations soared to record-high levels in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Profits for U.S. manufacturing firms reached $135.3 billion in QIV last year, the highest amount of profits ever recorded in a single quarter for America’s manufacturers, and surpassing the previous record of $127 billion in QII 2007 before the recession started (see top chart above).  The after-tax profit margin for U.S. manufacturers also reached an all-time time of 9.1%, at least for the data the Census Bureau has available going back to 1999 (see bottom chart above).

The surge of manufacturing profits in 2010 to record high levels provides additional evidence that the U.S. manufacturing sector is expanding, profitable, thriving and healthy, and is leading the U.S. economic recovery.

Feb. Real Consumer Expenditures at Record-High


Real consumption expenditures reached a record-high of $9.459 trillion (seasonally adjusted, annual rate in 2005 dollars) in February, according to today’s BEA report on Personal Income and Outlays.  Consumer spending is now 1.1% above the pre-recession level of $9.355 in December 2007, and almost 4% above the cyclical low of $9.114 trillion in April 2009 (see chart above).



março 28, 2011

Saiu a nova newsletter da Creativante, e ela trata da COPPE/UFRJ, a Coordenação dos Programas de Pós-Graduação de Engenharia da UFRJ, que você pode baixar aqui!

Quotes of the Day: Economics and Politics

março 26, 2011

Post de ontem do blog do Prof. Mark Perry!


Quotes of the Day: Economics and Politics”


1. “Economists are often asked to predict what the economy is going to do. But economic predictions require predicting what politicians are going to do– and nothing is more unpredictable.”

2. “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

~Thomas Sowell

The Global Economy´s Shifting Centre of Gravity

março 22, 2011

O Prof. Danny Quah, do Economics Department da London School of Economics and Political Science and LSE Governance, está com um novo paper na praça. Ele se intitula “The Global Economy´s Shifting Centre of Gravity”.

Como mostra o Prof. Quah, o centro econômico de gravidade do planeta está se deslocando, e, pelas suas projeções estará entre a India e a China lá pelos anos 2050!  Quem viver verá!

Eis o resumo do paper, que você pode baixar aqui!

This article describes the dynamics of the global economy’s centre of gravity, the average location of economic
activity across geographies on Earth. The calculations here take into account all the GDP produced on this planet. The article finds that in 1980 the global economy’s centre of gravity was mid-Atlantic. By 2008, from the continuing rise of China and the rest of East Asia, that centre of gravity had drifted to a location east of Helsinki and Bucharest.
Extrapolating growth in almost 700 locations across Earth, this article projects the world’s economic centre of gravity to locate by 2050 literally between India and China. Observed from Earth’s surface, that economic centre of gravity will shift from its 1980 location 9,300 km or 1.5 times the radius of the planet.

Edital de Pesquisa PINTEC/BNDES

março 22, 2011

Saiu a nova newsletter da Creativante, e ela trata do Edital de Pesquisa PINTEC/BNDES.  Este edital teve por objetivo financiar pesquisa científica que forneça um diagnóstico sistematizado e atualizado sobre as atividades e a capacidade inovativa da indústria brasileira, bem como do uso de instrumentos de política pública para inovação, com base nas 04 (quatro) edições da Pesquisa de Inovação Tecnológica (2000, 2003, 2005 e 2008), da Fundação Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística- PINTEC/IBGE.

Você pode acessar a newsletter aqui!

Schumpeterian Gales of Creative Destruction: 10 Dying U.S. Industries on the Verge of Extinction

março 20, 2011

Post de ontem do blog do Prof. Mark Perry (!


Schumpeterian Gales of Creative Destruction: 10 Dying U.S. Industries on the Verge of Extinction


From the Special Report “Dying Industries” from ISISWorld:

“While the U.S. economy is headed further into recovery, not every industry is performing well. Industries go through life cycles, and largely speaking, these are growth, maturity and decline. Even in a recovery, declining industries continue to underperform, and within IBISWorld’s database of close to 700 industries, about 200 are in their decline phase. Of these 200, IBISWorld has identified 10 industries that may be on the verge of extinction in the United States:

1. Wired Telecommunications Carriers
2. Mills
3. Newspaper Publishing
4. Apparel Manufacturing
5. DVD, Game & Video Rental
6. Manufactured Home Dealers
7. Video Postproduction Services
8. Record Stores
9. Photofinishing
10. Formal Wear & Costume Rental

Desigualdades Regionais em Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (CT&I) no Brasil: Uma Análise de sua Evolução Recente

março 17, 2011

Um novo artigo, publicado pelo IPEA- Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada, traz mais evidências de um fenômeno que há muito tempo tentamos combater, mas que nossas tentativas têm sido praticamente em vão: as desigualdades regionais no Brasil, e, marcadamente em Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação.

O texto, cujo resumo segue abaixo, pode ser baixado em


Desigualdades Regionais em Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovação (CT&I) no Brasil: Uma Análise de sua Evolução Recente
Luiz Ricardo Cavalcante / Rio de Janeiro, 2011

O objetivo deste trabalho é analisar a evolução das desigualdades regionais em ciência, tecnologia e inovação (CT&I) no Brasil ao longo da última década. A revisão bibliográfica i) reafirma a associação entre as atividades de CT&I e o desenvolvimento econômico e social; e ii) constata a existência de elevados níveis de desigualdades regionais em CT&I no Brasil. Do ponto de vista metodológico, o trabalho apoia-se i) na análise de estatísticas descritivas de indicadores regionalizados de CT&I; e ii) no cálculo de índices de desigualdades inter-regionais e interestaduais em CT&I. Conclui-se que i) houve um lento processo de convergência da base científica ao longo da década de 2000; ii) esse processo não pode ser creditado à distribuição regional dos recursos do Conselho.Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) e da Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes), que foi proporcional à base científica instalada nas Unidades da Federação (UFs); e iii) no mesmo período, acentuaram-se as desigualdades regionais em esforços tecnológicos pelas empresas industriais. Como resultado, pode-se afirmar que o processo de convergência da base científica ainda não tem sido capaz de motivar um processo de convergência da base tecnológica. Assim, as regiões menos desenvolvidas não somente têm uma menor base científica como contam com mecanismos de transmissão mais precários entre a ciência e a tecnologia. Tendo em vista a crescente relevância atribuída às políticas de CT&I em escala nacional, esse aspecto não pode ser negligenciado ao se formularem políticas de desenvolvimento regional para o Brasil.
The aim of this paper is to analyze the path followed by the regional inequality indicators of science, technology, and innovation (ST&I) during the last decade. The literature review i) reasserts the association between ST&I and the economic and social development; and ii) indicates a high level of ST&I inequalities in Brazil. The analysis is based upon i) descriptive statistics of regionalized indicators of ST&I; and ii) interregional and intra-regional inequality indicators of ST&I. It is shown that i) there was a slow convergence process of the scientific basis from 2000 onwards; ii) this processes can not be credited to the regional allocation of resources by the local science foundations, which basically followed the preexisting scientific basis of the Brazilian states; and iii) in the same period, regional inequalities of technological efforts by industrial firms deepened. As a result, the convergence process of the scientific infrastructure has not yet been capable of fostering a convergence process of the technological efforts in the country. Less developed regions not only count on a smaller scientific infrastructure but also on less effective transmission mechanisms from science to technology. Considering the increasing relevance of the ST&I policies at the national level, this issue can not be neglected in the formulation of regional development policies in Brazil.

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