Friday, April 30, 2010

Arizona's immigration law

The Economist published an article discussing the new Arizona's immigration law. Russell Pearce, an Arizona's state senator, proposed the new immigration law that would allow policemen to question anyone who would look suspicious to show them an identity card or some kind of document. So in the state with overwhelmingly white population where half a million have Hispanic origins there would be no surprise, if you are constantly stopped and questioned by the police as you match the profile.

We shouldn't forget how the US was brought forth by millions of immigrants from all over the world who were all looking for a better start in life. It is sad to hear that even though Latinos make up to 30 percent of the populaton in Arizona, only 12 percent are electorated. We should not be so intolerant to newcomers as we were once in their shoes. On the other hand, I try to understand the fear and insecurity that natives experience on a daily basis. Nevertheless, they should find a better solution to resolve the problem. Not to make the same situation that African Americans had to face back in 1960s that could happen to Latin Americans today, the history should not be repeated. And that is why the government should play out the roll it has been given.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tax and labor cost

I composed a graph from Eurostat's database on tax wedge in EU, US, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland in 2008. Tax wedge is a measure of overall tax burden of labor cost. It shows the share of taxed labor cost. It is striking to see that EU goverments take in almost half of what you earn. Tax wedge is the highest in Belgium (50.3 percent). Hopefully, it does not set an example to the rest of EU countries, as EU15 tax wedge is over 40 percent. After all, EU15 is known for high tax burden. As you can see from the graph, tax wedge is the highest in Continantal Europe. Germany, one of the biggest EU economies, scored second with 47.3 percent, next is Hungary (46.7 percent) followed by France (45.5 percent), Austria (44.4) and other countries. All countries that scored above 35 percent should implement some radical reforms and so became more competitive and attractive for doing business. One of the countries that achieved to reduce tax wedge the most is Cyprus (0.0 percent), second best is Malta with 17.9 percent, Iceland (23.7 percent), Switzerland (26.5 percent), USA (28 percent), Luxemburg (29.6 percent) and UK (29.7 percent).

Source: Eurostat

Soccer Power Index

Soccer Power Index is a statistical measure of team power in world soccer. It is an interesting tool to predict soccer match results. Countries are ranked on the basis of Fifa points and past performance. The scale contains 211 national teams.

World Cup 2010

Nate Silver published the statistical simulation of the 2010 World Cup. For each country, he calculated the probabilities of wining and advancing in the playoff round. Below is the list of both probabilities for each team in each group. As you can see, the results are very interesting.

Source: FiveThirtyEight

Foreign direct investment in China's manufacturing industry

The biggest foreign direct investor in China's manufacturing industy in 2005 was Hong Kong where a lot of multinational firms are located, mostly because Hong Kong is one of China's special administrative regions due to Hong Kong's high degree of political and economic autonomy. In fact, Hong Kong enjoys the status of the freest economy in the world. The second foreign direct investor is Latin America followed by South Korea and other countries.
Source: China Statistical Yearbook (2005)

Foreign auto producers in China

Here is a graph showing the distribution of US, European and Japanese auto producers across location in Chinese manufacturing centres. As can be seen in the graph, Shanghai is the most popular manufacturing destination for US and Eurorean auto producers, followed by Jiangsu and Hubei. The most atractive destinations for Japanese auto producers are Jiangsu, where more than 70 producers are located, the next one is Guangdong followed by Shanghai and Tianjin.

Source: European Commission (2009)

Tariffs and China's trade

In 2001 China became the 143rd member of World Trade Organization (WTO). Since then, the country boosted trade liberalization in all sectors. Till the 1st of July 2006 tariffs on imported vehicles were in the range from 70 to 80 percent, which is a prohibitive level. When becoming the member of WTO, tariffs on imported vehicles, on average, dropped to 25 percent. After China became the member of WTO, import quotas and domestic content requirements were eliminated. In addition, now there are no restrictions on distribution and financing by foreign companies. Here is a link to the working paper published by the European Commission.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

International comparison of housing prices

The Economist collected quarterly data on housing prices between 2003 and 2009. It is interesting to see how housing markets in different countries were affected during that period. You can roll over the chart here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

UK's public debt crisis

Financial Times reports that UK goverment borrowing spiralled out of control and is the worst in Britain's postwar history. In the past financial year, government borrowed 163.4bn GBP. In 2010, public sector net debt is expected to rise up to 53.8 percent of national income, up from 44 percent last year. Britain is in serious public debt crisis. That is why it is in an urgent need of the rebirth of Thatcherism and Reaganomics.

Sugar's record price

Prices of sugar are not expected to fall due to higher usage of sugar. About 70 percent of manufactured food has sugar ingredient. World's collective tooth is getting sweeter. On one side developing countries are starting to enjoy the nicer things in life whereas on the other hand developed countries are seeking some comfort in a cookie jar. This year USDA (US Dept. of Agriculture) estimated that worldwide sugar comsumption will rise by 1.5m tons. Supply won't be able to sustain the demand, even though prices are not expected to drop. Because of the curent global situation on sugar market, bad weather, monsoons in India and Mexico have damaged sugar crops. Not even Brazil, the larger sugar producer can't help prices to drop as now half of sugar it produces is used to make ethanol. And that is all a very good news for American sugar producers.

Millions of poor Indians are considered criminal by tradition

The Economist wrote an interesting article about the lack of the rule of law in India. Law protects only high-ranking wealthy individuals. That is what millions of poor Indians experience each day, as many are imprisoned without sufficient evidence. The right to justice is one of the basic human rights. World leaders should encourage India to enforce laws that would give all people the right to file the complaint and be properly treated, despite their origin. Western nations should set an example of the rule of law for the developing world. Sadly, many developed nations underestimate the importance of robust system of law for economic development of third-world countries.