The productivity puzzle
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
1M ago
Global long-term economic growth has slowed dramatically since the financial crisis of 2007–8. This can be illustrated by comparing the two 20-year periods 1988 to 2007 and 2009 to 2028 (where IMF forecasts are used for 2024 to 2028: see WEO Database under the Data link below). Over the two periods, average annual world growth fell from 3.8% to 3.1%. In advanced countries it fell from 2.9% to 1.6% and in developing countries from 4.8% to 4.3%. In the UK it fell from 2.4% to 1.2%, in the USA from 3.1% to 1.8% and in Japan from 1.9% to 0.5%. In the UK, labour productivity growth in the productio ..read more
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Vetting vets
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
2M ago
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is proposing to launch a formal Market Investigation into anti-competitive practices in the UK’s £2bn veterinary industry (for pets rather than farm animals or horses). This follows a preliminary investigation which received 56 000 responses from pet owners and vet professionals. These responses reported huge rises in bills for treatment and medicines and corresponding rises in the cost of pet insurance. At the same time there has been a large increase in concentration in the industry. In 2013, independent vet practices accounted for 89% of the ..read more
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Bad Apple: App Store abuse of dominance leads to €1.8bn fine
The Sloman Economics News Site
by Karishma Patel
2M ago
High-tech firms, such as Google, Amazon, Meta and Apple, have increasingly been gaining the attention of competition authorities across the world, and not in a good way! Over the past few years, competition authorities in the UK, USA and Europe have all opened various cases against Apple, with particular focus on its App Store (see, for example, a blog post on this site from 2021 about the Epic v. Apple case in the USA). The lead-up to the €1.8 billion fine issued by the European Commission (Europe’s competition regulator) on the 4th March 2024, began in 2019 when music streaming provider, Spo ..read more
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Tax cuts or tax rises? The issue of fiscal drag
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
2M ago
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, delivered his Spring Budget on 6 March 2024. In his speech, he announced a cut in national insurance (NI): a tax paid by workers on employment or self-employment income. The main rate of NI for employed workers will be cut from 10% to 8% from 6 April 2024. This follows a cut this January from 12% to 10%. The rate for the self-employed will be cut from 9% to 6% from 6 April. These will be the new marginal rates from the NI-free threshold of £12 750 to the higher threshold of £50 270 (above which the marginal rate is 2% and remains uncha ..read more
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The approach to monetary and fiscal policy
The Sloman Economics News Site
by Dean Garratt
2M ago
The following blog is inspired by my teaching of macroeconomic issues to my final year students at Aston University. In the classes we’ve been discussing important aspects of monetary and fiscal policy design. What has become clear to me and my students is that the trade-offs which characterise the discipline of economics are certainly alive and well in the current environment in which monetary and fiscal policy choices are being made. To demonstrate this we consider here some of the discussions we’ve had in class around central bank independence and monetary policy mandates. We’ve also looked ..read more
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Navigating the storm: understanding the socioeconomic impacts of climate change
The Sloman Economics News Site
by Nicholas Vasilakos
3M ago
Climate change is not just an environmental challenge: its socioeconomic impacts are profound and far-reaching, touching every aspect of society. From agriculture to health, from urban infrastructure to coastal communities, the effects of climate change are evident and escalating. The far-reaching effects In agriculture, rising temperatures, more intense and frequent heatwaves and changing precipitation patterns pose significant threats to food security.1, 2 Crop yields decline as extreme weather events become more frequent and unpredictable, leading to increased food prices and economic ins ..read more
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The Russian economy after two years of war
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
3M ago
It’s two years since Russia invaded Ukraine. Western countries responded by imposing large-scale sanctions. These targeted a range of businesses, banks and other financial institutions, payments systems and Russian exports and imports. Some $1 trillion of Russian assets were frozen. Many Western businesses withdrew from Russia or cut off commercial ties. In addition, oil and gas imports from Russia have been banned by most developed countries and some developing countries, and a price cap of $60 per barrel has been imposed on Russian oil. What is more, sanctions have been progressively tighten ..read more
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UK enters recession: what does this mean for living standards?
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
3M ago
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the UK was in recession at the end of 2023. The normal definition of recession is two quarters of falling real GDP. This is what happened to the UK in the last two quarters of 2023, with GDP falling by 0.1% in Q3 and 0.3% in Q4. In Q4, output of the service industries fell by 0.2%, production industries by 1.0% and construction by 1.3%. But how bad is this? What are the implications for living standards? In some respects, the news is not as bad as the term ‘recession’ might suggest. In other respects, it’s worse than the headline ..read more
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A body blow to Body Shop?
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
3M ago
On 12 February, it was announced that The Body Shop UK was entering administration. With 199 shops across the country, if this leads to the collapse of the business, some 2000 jobs will be lost. The business has been struggling since 2020 and poor sales this last Christmas led the new owners, the pan-European alternative investment firm, Aurelius, to appoint administrators. This could potentially begin an insolvency process that could result in the closure of some or all of the shops. This would spell the end of an iconic brand that, since its founding in 1976, has been associated with natural ..read more
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Worries about the Chinese economy
The Sloman Economics News Site
by John Sloman
3M ago
According to the IMF, Chinese GDP grew by 5.2% in 2023 and is predicted to grow by 4.6% this year. Such growth rates would be extremely welcome to most developed countries. UK growth in 2023 was a mere 0.5% and is forecast to be only 0.6% in 2024. Advanced economies as a whole only grew by 1.6% in 2023 and are forecast to grow by only 1.5% this year. Also, with the exception of India, the Philippines and Indonesia, which grew by 6.7%, 5.3% and 5.0% respectively in 2023 and are forecast to grow by 6.5%, 6.0% and 5.0% this year, Chinese growth also compares very favourably with other developing ..read more
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