Category Archives: Euro area GDP per capita

7/3/15:Euro Area GDP per capita: the legacy of the crisis

I have posted previously on the decline in GDP per capita during the current crises across the euro area states, the US and UK. Here is another look:

Let's take GDP per capita at the peak before the crisis.

For some countries this would be year 2007, for others 2008. Keep in mind, many comparatives in the media and by analysts treat the peak as 2008. This is simply not true. Only 89countries of the sample of 20 countries comprising EA18, plus US and UK have peaked their GDP per capita in real terms in 2008, the rest peaked in 2007. Hence, for the former countries, the GDP per capita decline started in 2009 and the for the latter in 2008. Now, take GDP per capita declines cumulated over the years when the GDP per capita was running, in real terms, below the peak. Again, the sample of the countries is not homogeneous here: for some countries, GDP per capita regained pre-crisis peak by 2011 (Germany, Malta and Slovak Republic), by 2013 (Austria and U.S.) and by 2014 (Latvia). For all the rest of the countries, the GDP per capita peak was not regained through 2014.

Now, let's plot the overall cumulated losses over the years of the crisis (over the years from the crisis start through either the year prior to regaining pre-crisis GDP per capita levels for the countries where this was attained, or through 2014 for the countries that did not yet recover pre-crisis levels.

Chart below plots these in euro terms (remember, this is loss through end of crisis or 2014 per capita) (note figures for UK and US are in their respective currencies, not Euro):

Thus, per above, in Greece, cumulative GDP per capita losses during the crisis (through 2014) amount to around EUR42,200, while in Malta cumulative losses from the start of the crisis through the end of the crisis in 2011 amounted to around EUR500 per capita.

Since the crisis was over, before 2014, across 6 countries (in other words the regained their pre-crisis peak GDP per capita levels in inflation-adjusted terms), it is worth to note that through 2014, in these countries, losses have been reduced.  In Austria, through 2014, cumulative losses on pre-crisis GDP per capita levels stood at EUR 2,107 per capita, in Germany there was a cumulative gain of EUR4,078 per capita, in Latvia a cumulative loss of EUR5,696 per capita, in Malta a cumulative gain of EUR1,029 per capita, in Slovak Republic a cumulative gain of EUR1,352 per capita and in the U.S. a cumulative loss of USD258 per capita

Taking the above figures covering either gains  or losses from the start of the crisis in each country through 2014 as a percentage of the pre-crisis peak GDP per capita, the losses/gain due to the crisis through 2014 amount to:

And that chart really tells it all. 

16/2/15: Euro v ‘Sustainable Growth’: Mythology of Brussels Economics

Euro existence has been invariably linked to the promise of a 'sustainable' prosperity. From days when it was just a dream of a handful of European integrationists through today.  Which means that we can have a simple and effective test for the raison d'ĂȘtre of common currency union: how did GDP per capita fare since the euro introduction.

So let's take a simple change in GDP per capita, expressed in constant prices (controlling, therefore, for inflation) across the advanced economies around the world. Chart below details annualised rates of growth achieved between the end of 1999 and the end of 2014.

Excluding the most recent addition to the euro area, let's consider the original EU12. Across all advanced economies (34 of them), average annualised rate of real GDP per capita growth was 1.57%. Across the euro area 12 it was 0.727% - less than 1/2 of the average. Average for non-euro area 12 states was 2.126% or almost 3 times the euro area 12 average.

All of this translates into a massive gap between the euro area 12 (euro 'growthology' states that supported from the start the idea of 'sustainable' growth based on the EMU) and the rest of the advanced economies. In cumulative terms - over 2000-2014, EA12 states clocked growth of 11.674% in terms of their real GDP per capita. Over the same period of time, ex-EA12 advanced economies managed to grow on average by 40.01%.

Oh dear... even if you are not Italy or Cyprus (the latter made utterly insolvent by the EU inept 'resolution' of the Greek crisis and then promptly accused of causing this disaster upon itself - just to ad an insult to an injury), even if you are the 'best in the class' Ireland... within the euro, you are screwed.

So the key question is: where is the evidence that having a common currency results in better economic outcomes? Key answer is: nowhere.