Monday, April 14, 2014

Quality of Government

In 2010 the European comissioned a report on the quality of government by region in Europe. The  report was prepared by the research team at the Quality of Government Institute of University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The primary task of this project was to create data for quality of government (QoG). Although a recent proliferation of QoG data have emerged since the mid 1990s, no quantification of the quality of government has been created or used in this process so far at the regional level. Based on the combination of national level international expert assessments from the World Bank and the largest QoG survey to date to focus on regional variation, they constructed the most complete quantitative estimates of QoG variation for 172 EU regions within 18 countries.

This study is important because numerous academic studies and statements by international organizations, have emphasized that only with a high quality of government can a country reap the benefits of economic growth and social development and foster economic development.

QoG was disaggregated into the following categories or pillars:

1) ‘corruption’,
2) ‘rule of law’,
3) ‘bureaucratic effectiveness’
4) ‘government voice and accountability’/ or ‘strength of democratic and electoral

The general view is the following

One can see that, as expected, northern Europe is the most developed in QoG and not surprisingly Italy and East Europe are lagging behind.

If the EU countries had to be clustered in three groups the result would be this.

France, Belgium, Portugal and Spain make the middle group while Italy is part of the last group.

By pillars the results are the following:

Friday, March 14, 2014

from PDF to CSV

One of the most annoying things about gathering data is that sometimes it is shown in PDF format. As you know the process of copy and paste data from PDF to EXCEL or STATA can be very painful.

Tabula,  came some time ago, is a useful piece of free software to get the data tables out of countless PDF files. It's really is simple to use. Load a PDF file into Tabula, which runs on your computer, highlight the table to extract, and the program does the rest.

Download Tabula here. Find out a little more about it on Source.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Europe's dynamic Historical Atlas

The Centennia Historical Atlas is an impresive program that shows border changes in Europe and the Middle East from the 11th century to the present.
Some dates are not very accurate what still is a nice piece of reasearch.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Olympic Games by GDP

The winter Olympics are about to start in Sochi, Russia and in two years time Rio de Janeiro in Brazil will hold the Summer ones. These two countries are, in terms of GDP per capita, not among the top 50 so I wondered if that is a normal thing or not. I went back to the archives and I managed to plot the following graph. It shows the GDP per capita (from Maddison) of those countries that were awarded with an olympic games against the world's average GDP per capita at the time they were awarded.

During the 80´s and early 90s the countries that held an Olympic event were much richer than the average but thanks to the last bids the index has reached the lowest level since 1950.

Another interesting analysis is to measure country´s GDP GDPpc. The following graph shows the evolution of the GDP (from Penn Tables) of the country that won the olympic auction.

Again we are in the lowest share. This means that more poorer countries are being able to hold the Olympic Games than ever before. I don´t know if that is a good or a bad thing really.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Freedom and language

Last post I talked about the relation between GDP per capita and languages we found that English is around the average. Today I want a show the relation between languages and freedom. Freedom here is measured as an average of the following four indices: Freedom In The World Index, Index of Economic Freedom, Press Freedom Index and Democracy Index. All this indices are published by country and form there we can derive the freedom by language measure weighting each country by its population and language.

The following graph shows the result.

English is clearly above the average and above the other big languages like French and Spanish.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

GDP per capita by language

Some new academic papers have found a relation between savings, debt and languages. Apparently, some languages encourage people to save and reduce debt while others do the opposite just by the form of grammatical rules and the construction of future phrases.

Is then sensible to think that language may have a link with GDP. The following graph shows the GDP per capita by language. The data was gathered from IMF, World Bank and CIA.

The first languages (most spoken) of each country were alloted with 80% of the countries´ population and the second language the remaining 20%. Although that can´t be true for all countries I found it a good estimate globally. I couldn't find a more detailed information.

The graph only shows languages with more than a million speakers.

English is in the middle of the graph because many poor countries in Africa speak English and the same happens with French

Sunday, December 15, 2013

In behalf of Free trade

This is a creative article that a French economist called Bastiat gave in 1840 to the French Chamber of Deputies when they legislated higher duties on all foreign goods in order to benefit French industry:

 "Petition of the manufacturers of candles, waxlights, lamps, candlesticks, street lamps, snuffers, extinguishers and of the producers of oil, tallow, resin, alcohol and generally everything connected with lighting.

To Messieurs the members of the Chamber of Deputies.

Gentlemen, we are suffering from the intolerable competition of a foreign rival, placed, it would seem, in a condition so far superior to our own for the production of light, the he absolutely inundates our national market with it at a price fabulously reduced. ... This rival... is no other than the sun.

What we pray for, is, that it may please you to pass a law ordering the shutting up of all windows, skylights, dormer-windows, outside and inside shutters, curtains, blinds, bull´s-eyes, in a word of all openings, holes, chinks and fissures. ...

If you shut up as much as possible all acceess to natural light and create a demand for artificial light, which of our French manufacturers will not benefit by it?

If more tallow is consumed, then there must be more oxen and sheep.. if more oil is consumed, then we shall have extended cultivation of the poppy, of the olive... our heaths will be covered with resinous trees.

Make your choice, by be logical, for as long as you exclude, as you do, iron, corn, foreign fabrics, in proportion as their prices approximate to zero, what inconsistency it would be to admit the light of the sun, the price of which is already at zero during the entire day!"

 from: The Worldly Philosophers, Robert Heilbroner.