人手不足なのになぜ賃金が上がらないのか

近日発売した玄田有史先生の本をはじめとして、この問題についていろんな意見を調べてみた:
(本は買ってないので、ネット上のレビューと関連文章を載せる)

「これだけ人手不足と言われていて、春闘でも4年連続で有額のベースアップが実現しているのに、マクロの数字を見るかぎり賃金上昇がはかばかしくない」

玄田先生が編集した本では「労働需給」「行動」 「制度」 「規制」「正規雇用」「能力開発」「年齢」の七つの切り口のどれか(複数もあり)を中心に展開、もちょっと簡単にまとめると

「労働需給の構造」(労働需給/正規雇用/能力開発):

「実はミクロでは総じて賃金は上がっている(非正規比率の上昇や内転効果で上がっていないだけ)」
「実は人手不足ではない(不足しているのは低賃金の人手/高年齢者や女性にはまだ供給余力がある」
「非正規比率上昇などにより人的資本形成に遅れ」
「人材育成力の低下による「分厚い中間層」の崩壊が原因なんだと説きます。企業から見たら、人手不足だけれど本当に欲しい人材がいないからだと。」
「国際競争部門の動向が非国際競争部門にも波及」

「賃金の調整は時間がかかるもの」「現実にはおそらくこれらの要因が複合的に絡み合って現状があるのでしょうが、個人の当面の感想としては経験的に賃金に限らず雇用関連の調整には時間がかかるという実感はあり、(留保賃金が比較的高い)団塊ジュニアのボリュームゾーンにまだ供給余力が若干残っているのではないかと思っているので賃金が大きく上げるにはもう少し時間がかかるかな」

「賃金硬直性」(制度/規制):

「所定賃金は人員過剰時に下げにくい分人手不足にも上げにくい」
上方硬直性:景気が悪くなっても賃金が下がらない現象を下方硬直性と呼ぶならば、景気がよくなっても賃金が上がらない現象は上方硬直性ですね。
→ 下方硬直性:過去の不況期に賃下げに苦慮した企業ほど、景気回復期に賃上げを控える傾向にある可能性、すなわち「名目賃金の上方硬直性」は「名目賃金の下方硬直性」によってもたらされている可能性があることを指摘する。

また非正規雇用を含む一定的に日本特有な社会現象

「日本の非正規雇用が身分制が強く、生活保障の必要性が正社員との格差の正当化理由だったのに、能力という別の正当化ロジックで都合のよい使い分けがされてきた」[1]

「事実認識として結構衝撃的なのは、第4章(黒田)が示す、就職氷河期世代が見事に低賃金のまま今に至ってきているというデータでしょう。
2010年から2015年にきま給の変化を学歴別年齢階層別に見ると、高卒と高専短大卒で35-39歳層、大学大学院卒で35-39歳層ととりわけ40-45歳層でぐっと落ち込んでいるのです。これはつまり上のコーホートよりも低賃金になったということで、就職氷河期世代が被った「傷痕」効果は極めて大きなものであったことが分かります。」

diodio

また玄田先生が参加した厚生労働省の2015年7月24日 第6回雇用政策研究会にもこのテーマ、特に正規/非正規雇用について議論されたようだ:

○橋本委員:。。。以前にこの研究会で、人手不足なのになぜ賃金が上がらないのかという議論があったことを思い出しました。。。この点について、日本の場合は賃金格差の問題が、職種の問題と正規・非正規の格差とが複合しているところが特徴で、その問題について、非正規労働者を正社員にキャリアアップを支援するべきだ。。。非正社員について「人的資本蓄積の減少やそれに伴う生産性の低下、企業収益の減少・消費の停滞といった経済の悪循環につながりかねない」と書かれていて、この人的資源の最大化ということで、正社員化を促すべきだということも書かれているわけですが、ここを読んで、そうすれば全てその問題が解決するのだろうかという素朴な疑問を感じました。。。。労働者の過不足状況のグラフがありますが、ここでパートタイムの不足感が強いというところで、卸売、小売業、飲食業等が挙げられていますし、この図表とも今の論点は関係するかと思っております。つまり、パートの正社員化を進めても、もともとその仕事でパートしかない仕事というのもあると思うので、その問題を扱わなくていいのかどうかということが疑問としてありました。

。。。私が勉強しているドイツでは、正規と非正規の格差というのはほとんど問題にならないのは先生方も御存じのところなのですが、やはり賃金格差の拡大というのが大きな問題になっており、それが低賃金職種の拡大の問題なので、それに対する対策としては最低賃金の引上げが考えられているのかと思うのですが、その問題を報告書を読んで感じました。

。。。私自身は長時間労働を抑制するのはとても重要だし、現状において過重労働の問題がこれだけ深刻になっていますので、今、長時間労働をやめさせようというときに、そのための方策として業務量も見直していくべきだという点を指摘すべきではないかと思いますので、ここはむしろ重要なところなのではないかと感じました。

○中井雇用政策課長 。。。賃金がなぜ上がらなかったのかという話については、例えば 6 ページの辺りに分析結果を引用しながら、この間、賃金と生産性で乖離は見られた指摘をさせていただいたり、 22 ページの辺りでも「賃金の改善について」ということで、動きをいろいろと書かせていただき、なかなか解がこれだと言い切る自信のない。。。

○玄田委員 。。。2 月に発表された暫定版、速報版を見ると、正社員よりは正社員以外のほうが賃金は伸びている感じ、男性よりは女性のほうが賃金は伸びている感じ、全般的には中高年女性の正社員以外の賃金が伸びている感じはします。職種までは細かいところは見えていない、規模別には余り特徴がない感じがします。。。

それと併せて、人手不足なのだけれども、 60 代以上の特に男性の賃金が下がっているのは、そこは就業率の拡大のところと関係しているので、その部分に関して言えば、若干供給圧力の大きさが賃金の引き下げ圧力になっているし、就業者の高齢化ということになると全体への賃金の引き下げ効果も大きいから、それがとても大きいように見えます。

もう 1 つは、黒田さんには少し言ったことがありますが、賃金が下がって見えるのは、第 2 次ベビーブーマーが非常に賃金の伸びに苦しんでいるように見えます。つまり、就職氷河期世代で入って、長時間労働を経験し、場合によっては十分な教育訓練を受けなかった結果として、 40 代に入っても余り賃金が伸びていないとすれば、それは冒頭に座長がおっしゃったような、一時的な問題ではなく、そういう不況とか長時間労働とか、いろいろなことが重なってしまった、ある意味ではとても申し訳ない世代に対して、賃金が伸びないということが大きいとするならば、それは本当にこれからの世代に対して我々が何を考えていかなければいけないかという、とても大事なメッセージに見えるので。。。

○樋口座長 。。。もう 1 つ、正規と非正規の問題における賃金格差の問題については、この間の OECD のレポートで、やはり日本は個人単位で見たときの賃金格差は非常に大きいが、世帯で考えると、安定している夫と非正規の妻とが結婚しているカップルにおいては非常に差が小さい。ただ、単独世帯が片方で増えてきている中で、従来とは違った動きというのが起こっているのではないかということで、世帯単位の貧困の問題と、低賃金の問題というのが必ずしも一致しないというのが、日本の特徴だというような記述があると思うのです。

ここで考えていくのは、労働市場の問題としてということだから、当然世帯の所得格差の問題というのもあるけれども、どうしても個々人についての賃金の問題が、これだけ大きな差があっていいのかという。。。

他の記事:

1。なぜ賃金は上がらない?/人手不足倒産の原因

世の中には、人手不足と低賃金が両立してしまう分野がある。介護や警備、海運などだ。 なぜ労働の供給が足りないのに価格(=賃金)が上がらないかといえば、労働市場は「自由な市場」ではなく、需要と供給による価格調整のメカニズムが働かないからだ。

a)会計の観点からいえば、人件費を支えられるほどの売上を確保できない、つまり生産性が低すぎる会社だから、人手不足で倒産する。「人手不足なら賃金を上げればいい」と無邪気に言うが、人件費を商品の価格に転嫁できるとは限らない。売上を伸ばす余地がなく、経費削減の余地もないという生産性の低い事業は、賃金水準が高騰すると人手不足を解消できなくなり、事業を継続できなくなる。

b)賃金に下方硬直性がある理由は、だいたい3つぐらいある。団体交渉(労働組合)、法規制(最低賃金労働基準法など)、デフレだ(賃金が下がれば、労働者の購買力も減り、物価水準が下がってしまう)。しかし、これは現代の日本人の肌感覚ではあまり説得力を感じられないと思う。というのも、バブル崩壊以降、日本人労働者の名目賃金は減り続けているからだ。サラリーマンの平均年収は1997年の467万円をピークに下がり続け、現在では415万円だ非正規雇用が増加したことを考えれば、労働者全体の収入はもっと減っていてもおかしくない。

20160613122119

c)「生産性の低い企業」が現れる理由の一つは産業の長期均衡。どんな産業も、勃興した直後はブルーオーシャンだ。あまり費用をかけずにジャブジャブと儲かる。ところが新規参入が増えるにつれてレッドオーシャンと化していき、生産性が低くなる。とくに、損益分岐点の売上数量がごく小さく、その生産技術を誰でも使うことができて、なおかつ新規参入と退出が自由な分野は、やがて「産業の長期均衡」に到達してしまう。超過利潤がゼロになってしまう。賃金水準や石油価格が上がった際に、コストの増加を利益で吸収できなくなる。債務を積み上げて何とかしのぐことになり、最終的には倒産する。人手不足による倒産は、根本的には石油価格の高騰による倒産とそれほど違いはないと思う。第二次大戦後の日本の「二眼レフカメラ」は勃興した段階では多大な超過利潤を出せたが、新規参入が増えるにつれて次第に価格が下がり、最終的には超過利潤がゼロになる産業の典型的な例ではないだろうか。また最近では、ソーシャルゲーム業界が「産業の長期均衡」に似た現象を経験している。

おそらく介護や警備、牛丼チェーン、引っ越し業などの分野は、長期均衡に近づいている業界なのではないか。競争の激化により利益が薄くなり、人件費を引き上げることができない水準まで生産性が悪化しているのだろう。海運については事情に暗いのでよく分からないが、似たような状況が生じているのかもしれない。

(「生産性が高くなる」というのは、経済史の観点から見れば、労働を資本(=機械)に置き換えることとほぼ同義だ。)[2]

2。市場の「脱ブラック化」が、「人手不足」を解消させる

政府は人手不足の状況を改善するために、少子高齢化が問題の背景に存在しているという認識の下「外国人労働者を増やす」と同時に「一人当たりの生産性を上げる」技術開発の取り組みを進めようとしています。しかし、今、日本で起こっている「人手不足」問題は、ただ単に「少子高齢化」が原因なのではなく、長く続いたデフレからの「脱却」プロセスにおける必然的帰結なのです。

(ステップ1)デフレで過当競争が生ずる 
1998年後、それまでのインフレから一転してデフレになり、それ以後、各企業の業績は悪化、賃金は低下していきます
(ステップ2)過当競争が「ブラック企業」を生み出した
「過当競争」下では、各企業は「生き残り」をかけ、「倒産するよりはマシ」とばかりに、対価(価格)には見合わない「過剰サービス」を提供するなったのです。そのシワは全て労働者に行きます。労働者は皆「仕事が無いよりはマシ」とばかりに、安い給料で過剰労働サービスを提供するようになっていきます。
(ステップ3)20年デフレが、あらゆる市場を「ブラック・マーケット」化させた
「ブラック企業」は労働者にとっては最悪ですが、消費者・顧客にとってみれば「良質のサービスや商品を安くて売ってくれる企業」。つまり、ブラック企業は高い「競争力」を持っているのです。
結果、現代の労働者は皆、(サービス残業等の形で)労働時間が長いわりに給料は安く、結果、「実際上の労働単価」が下がってしまうことになっていきます。
(ステップ4)ブラック・マーケットはわずかな需要増にも対応できない
デフレが産み出した「過剰サービスを供給するブラック・マーケット」は、現有人員をフル稼働させて、ようやく成立している「限界ぎりぎり」のマーケット。ですから、「これ以上の需要に対応する」ことができません、という「構造的欠陥」を抱えています。したがって、ブラック・マーケットでは、需要が僅かでも増えれば、瞬く間に「人手不足」

そしてそのための処方箋としては、「各企業の『過剰サービス』を消滅させる事」(=企業の脱ブラック化)が必要であり、そしてそれを実現するために「各企業の『過剰サービス』を解消するため(=企業の脱ブラック化)の構造政策(規制強化や様々な行政指導等)」が求められています。

そうすれば、労働者に「余裕」が生まれ、その「余裕」を使って「需要増」に対応することが可能となり、人手不足状況は消滅するのです。しかも、こうすれば一人当たりの労働者が生み出す供給量(つまり生産性)も増進すると同時に、賃金も増進します。

3。お前らの賃金は上がらないのに「完全雇用」で人手不足の日本

“春闘を見るに、経済状況を反映してまずまずの戦果であり、一方で大手と零細・中堅の間での格差の是正や、働き方改革の流れの中で残業代の支払いや時間制限なども徐々に盛り込まれて、日本の労働環境も少しずつ変わってきているのかな、という感じでしょうか。労働組合もここが頑張りどころと言えます。ようやく非正規労働者の賃上げ率が正規雇用を上回って、格差是正というか正規と非正規の垣根をどう取っ払うかが肝になってきているのでしょう。

しかしながら、実際に統計を見てみると2月の完全失業率は2.8%、有効求人倍率も1995年ごろの水準に迫る勢いで人手不足が深刻化しています。コンマ何%で賃上げ云々と言っている場合ではないぐらいに働き手が必要とされているのに、思った以上に雇用の安定はまだ実現できておらず、働く時間は減らす方向へ動いています。さらに、労働人口も年間50万人ずつ減っていく中で、24時間営業を取りやめざるを得なくなるファミリーレストランなどの外食産業も増えてきました。先日取り上げたようにヤマト運輸ほか運送業も人手不足の割に賃金が大きく上げられる状況ではありません(「お客様は神様ではなくなり、戦後は終わった」)。本来なら、がっつり賃金が上がってきてもおかしくない水準であることには間違いありません。

働く女性を増やしたり、健康な高齢者にも働いてもらわなければならないわけですけど、16年10月の社会保険関連の法改正で制度変更があったわけですよ。それは、従業員501人以上の企業では、週20時間以上働くアルバイトやパートなどの短時間労働者も健康保険や厚生年金保険に入れてください、ということになったわけです。そうなったら週20時間以上働く長期バイトさんよりも、週15時間ぐらい入ってくれる主婦のパートさんを複数雇ったほうが企業としては良いという話になってしまうわけですね。また、健康上何があるか分からないシルバー雇用も、フルで働いてもらってうっかり倒れられて企業が医療費負担を強いられるよりは、嘱託で雇用して長くない労働時間で安く仕事をフォローしてもらおう、という流れになるのでしょう。平均賃金の伸び悩みの原因は、この女性や高齢者の労働市場流入で平均が押し下げられている部分が強くあります。保険料負担は企業にとってだるい。その分、パートさんの時給が上がれば良いのでしょうけど、賃金は上がらないのです。

つまりは、人手不足の日本は文字通り「完全雇用」なんだけど、人口も減っているので総需要が減少してて言われているほど売り上げは上がらない、という残念なスパイラルが発生しているとも言えるわけですよ。これから名目GDPが何%も増えるなんてアベノミクスを信じるのは大本営発表を聞いて太平洋戦争に勝っていると思い込んでしまう臣民のようなものです。安倍政権が能無しというよりは、できること全部やったって人口減少局面の日本が猛烈な経済成長するなんてシナリオになるわけがないじゃないですか、という話です。

上場企業の利益水準や経営内容を見ていても、傾向は何となく分かります。2016年は2年ぶりに上場企業の倒産は起きなかったけど、設備投資したり雇用を増やしたりするような前向きなお金の使い方よりは、いまある設備や資産をもっと有効に使おうという方向にシフトしている状態です。ドーンと賃金を上げようとするにしても、社会保障の受け皿を公的にしっかり用意したうえで、もう少し機動的に人を雇用したり解雇したりできる仕組みがないと厳しいのでしょう。”

[1]

「日本の非正規雇用が身分制が強く、生活保障の必要性が正社員との格差の正当化理由だったのに、能力という別の正当化ロジックで都合のよい使い分けがされてきた

実際のところ、非正規という身分を搾取しなければ、政府が小さく社会保障の貧しい日本では正社員の生活保障ができないですよね。この状況でおいそれと非正規の賃金を上げようとはしないでしょう。

日本がこんなに停滞しているのは、家父長制と身分制という類型の間で中途半端な状況に陥っているせいでしょう。家父長制は必ずしも上位者の恣意的支配を意味しない。むしろ共同体の仲間全体のための支配であり、仲間に対する庇護義務を負う。日本型雇用におけるメンバーシップ制はそのようなものだ。ただそのメンバーシップは成年男性にのみ開かれたものであり、フェミニズムから見ればホモソーシャルな支配だ。これに対して欧米は階級社会であって身分制原理が強い。

高度成長が終焉し、日本型雇用が崩壊過程に入ると、正社員の生活保障を維持するために身分制原理によって搾取する対象が必要になった。それが非正規雇用の増大という現象につながった。家父長制的な生活保障を維持するために身分制的要素を取り入れるというグロテスクな形になっている。

この状況から抜け出すには政府規模を拡大させて国が直接生活保障を行うしかない。しかし90年代以降新自由主義が台頭し、小さな政府路線という真逆の方向に動いた。これでは身分に基づく搾取を強化せざるをえない。その犠牲になったのが氷河期世代でしょう。

確かに高度成長が終焉して日本型雇用は維持できなくなり、そこからの脱却は必要だった。しかし小さな政府・構造改革という路線はむしろ事態をこじらせ、社会の停滞を招いただけだった。

この状況を打破するために必要な政府規模の拡大は、しかし家父長制を衰退させ、身分制的要素を強めることになるでしょう。それは欧米や戦前の日本のような階級社会化であり、抵抗は大きいでしょう。」

[2]

“そもそも「生産性が高くなる」というのは、歴史的に見れば、労働を資本(=機械)に置き換えることとほぼ同義だ。機械の使用が少なく、労働の使用が多い社会ほど貧しい。反対に、労働者1人に対する機械の使用量が多い社会ほど豊かだ。

現代では労働者1人あたりの資本(=機械)の使用を増やすことで、労働者の数を節約できるようになった。現代のトラック運転手は、たった数人で18世紀末の労働者3000人以上の仕事ができる。だから18世紀末の労働者よりも高額の報酬を受け取ることができるし、豊かな生活を営むことができるのだ。

「機械に仕事を奪われる」と考える人もいるだろう。その考えは、半分は正しい。革新的な技術の導入によって、短期的には失業に追い込まれる人が出てしまう。たとえば、かつて沖仲仕という仕事があった。港で輸送船の荷物の積み替えをする人々たちだ。ところが貨物コンテナの発明により、彼らの数は激減した。コンテナをクレーンで吊って移動させられるようになったので、砂糖の袋を1つひとつ運ぶ必要がなくなったからだ[9]。彼らの作っていたコミュニティも、文化も、丸ごと消えてしまったという。

しかし「機械に仕事を奪われる」という発想は、半分は間違っている。革新的な技術は、長期的には新たな産業と雇用を作るからだ。大型トラックが発明されたことで、荷物を肩に運ぶ労働者はいなくなった。代わりに巨大な自動車工場や、自動車整備士、そして現代的な物流産業が生まれた。トラックの運転手も、彼らの勤怠管理をしている事務のおばさんも、18世紀末には存在しなかった職業だ。

繰り返しになるが、労働者1人あたりの資本(=機械)の使用が多い社会ほど豊かだ。貧しい社会では、それが逆になる。1950年代のインドのように安価に使える労働力が膨大にあれば、経営者たちは機械の利用を増やそうとしない。資本を投下するよりも、労働力を使ったほうが安上がりだからだ。

18世紀末に始まった産業革命以降、私たちは持続的な経済発展を経験してきた。その背後には、人件費と技術革新の正のフィードバック・ループがあった。教育水準の上昇や少子化により労働者の賃金が上がると、経営者には労働を減らして資本(=機械)の利用を増やすというインセンティヴが生まれる。それが技術革新と、新規産業の発展、そしてさらなる人件費の高騰をもたらし、ますます資本の利用を増やすインセンティヴが強くなる。このループが200年以上続いた結果、私たちは現在のような豊かな生活を手に入れた。このループは今でも回り続けている。”

2017/5/30 update

有効求人倍率、バブル期超え 4月1.48倍

DBDVxO6XsAAotKL

Japan looks to solve puzzle of slow wage growth

“The theory, laid out by several BoJ policy board members in recent minutes of their meetings, is that after decades of operating in a sluggish economy, companies are wasteful in their use of labour and have a lot of pent-up ability to raise output per worker. By abandoning less productive work, they can avoid paying more for staff. One example is retail.”

I totally disagree with this theory, which basically says that as part of employments in Japan have long been doing nothing but wasting time in their office, the firms thus are able to avoiding paying more by driving them away back home. If this holds true, why do they at first need more people?

Yes, Japan has ample room to raise production per worker. But if Japanese firms could accomplish this, why the hell do they have the lost 20 decades. An extreme issue of over-worked women’s suicide changes the rigid system way little than people outside Japan think.

スクリーンショット 2017-05-30 22.06.04.png

 

これだけ深刻な人手不足なのに、いつまでも賃金が上がらない理由

“よく賃金が上がらないのは、非正規雇用が増えたからだといわれる。しかし、正社員と正社員以外にわけて賃金の動きをみても、両者とも人手不足の割に、顕著な増加はみられない。

そもそも本当に人手不足なら、もっと非正規から正規に切り替えられる人が増えて、それによって賃金が上がってもよさそうなものだ。しかし、そのような正規化の動きの広がりを耳にすることも、あまりない。”

“だから、賃金が下げられない硬直性があると、今が人手不足でも将来また不況になることをおそれる企業ほど、おいそれとは賃金を上げられないのだ。働き手も、給料が下がりさえしなければよいので、多少の不平はあっても、それほど賃金が上がることには執着しない。

実際、企業データを用いた分析からは、過去に月給の賃下げを行わなかった企業ほど、今回も賃上げをしない傾向がみられると指摘されている。賃下げが出来ない場合、企業は、将来の賃金調整の余地を残すため賃上げに慎重なることも、理論的な分析から主張された。

働き手は月給が下がることはかなり嫌うのだが、ボーナスの増減はそうでもないようだ。人手が足りなくなったり、業務量が増えたときには、企業は月給アップに代わってボーナスをたくさん支払う。”

しかしこの下方硬直性の論説には二つの疑点があります、1)なぜ日本が顕著;2)あくまで理論、企業は本当に将来の不況を考えたのか。日本の賃金の硬直性には別の理由もありうる。

“加えて多かったのは、過去にない「高齢化」の進行。年功的に上がる賃金や、生え抜きの長期雇用の傾向は、以前ほどには日本の企業でみられなくなったという声も多い。年々増え続ける積み上げ型の賃金制度を企業は採用しなくなり、かわりに一定の範囲内で増減するゾーン型の賃金制度に変更する場合がみられる。

おおざっぱにいえば、バブル入社世代までは、日本的雇用システムとよばれた年功賃金や終身雇用の恩恵にあずかることも多かった。そんな恩恵世代の男性が、2000年代後半以降、高齢者となり、徐々に定年退職を迎えるようになる。年功賃金が変化してきたといっても、それでも正社員である彼らの賃金は、若い社員に比べれば、圧倒的に高い。定年によって、高い賃金を得ていた人が、統計のなかから一気に退場していくのだ。当然、平均でみた賃金には、強い下方圧力がかかっていく。

さらに定年で辞めた人たちの多くは、そのまま引退することを選ばない。定年後も嘱託などのかたちで会社に残り続けるか、別の会社で別の仕事に就くことになる。共通するのは、そんな高齢者は、きまって非正規雇用になるということだ。

賃金が上がらないのは、非正規雇用が増えたからだという人もいるが、どこで増えたかといえば、実は高齢者の間で増えた。しかも団塊の世代を含む60代の非正規雇用が、一気かつ大量に増えたのだ。”

“人手不足は、20代などの若い働き手について、特に深刻だ。少子化による人口減少の影響を考えると、若者の賃金は、もっと増えてもよかった。

しかし、若者の背後には、低賃金の大量の高齢者が、潜在的な競争相手として存在している。政府は労働力人口の減少に対処するために、一億総活躍社会という看板も同時に掲げ、女性や高齢者の労働参加を促そうとしている。皮肉なことに、高齢者の労働参加が続く限り、非正規雇用の賃金はなかなか上がらない。”

“氷河期世代は、新卒時の就職活動のときだけでなく、その後の職業人生でも、以前の世代に比べて多くの困難を経験してきた。”

確かに年功賃金や終身雇用の恩恵にあずかる男性の定年退職は統計上の影響が大きい、また女性や高齢者の労働参加は若者の賃金の上昇を阻止するのも事実だが、私個人の観察によると正社員になった若者の賃金が上昇したとは言い難い。したがって、日本的雇用システムは一体どれくらい変わったのは問題点である。むしろ、年功賃金や終身雇用はまた大きく起用するからこそ、若者の賃金は人手不足があっても従来のルールにしたがって市場需要に対する柔軟な調整ができなくなったから上がらない状況に落ちいたのではないか。氷河期世代の状況もまさにこの制度の頑固さを示しているのではないか。

 

2017/06/04 update

添加一个国际对比视角来看日本问题。

When can women have it all

关于工作近几十年有那么两大趋势:

1工作时间越来越长,加班越来越多。(Kuhn&Lozano, 2008)
2 工作时间长短对收入的影响越来越大。(Cortes&Pan, 2007)

背后的原因可能是尽管技术进步增加了社会总体的岗位数量,但增加的岗位主要是在高收入和低收入这两段(Gregory、Salomons&Zieharn,2016)。这种从纺锤型社会,向哑铃型社会的过渡,是要加剧大家的竞争的。(也有社交网络对机会成本的发现的影响

而高收入的岗位增加会导致企业调整工作的其它条件提高利润。最明显的一点就是时间安排。一个是实际工作时间的延长,一个是工作时间灵活化,一个是响应时间的缩短。所以现在的工作变得更有“竞争性”了。(Goldin 2014,Cortes&Pan 2017)

这种全球的情况和日本似乎是很不一样的。虽然手头没去找直接证据,但是我们不难联想出由于日本的薪酬和人员晋升制度,纺锤到哑铃的路径的上端被限制了,高端职位并没有被灵活给予高收入,而下端的临时雇佣大力发展,从而从整体上限制了工资的提升。从产业上,这可能降低日本的高端人力资本密集型产业如投行软件等的国际竞争力。

 

2017/8/26 Update

帝国データバンク「人手不足に対する企業の動向調査」

平成28年版 労働経済の分析 -誰もが活躍できる社会と労働生産性の向上に向けた課題-

 

2017/8/28 Update

Availability of Long-term Care Facilities and Middle-aged People’s Labor Supply in Japan Asian Economic Policy Review, 12 (1) 95-112, January 2017

2017/8/30 Update

A real case:

日本一豊かなホタテの村も人手不足で四苦八苦、オホーツク沿岸の猿払

“「日本一豊かなホタテの村」「加工場の時給は最低賃金の786円」「せっかく海にホタテというお金があるのに、人手がない」何度読んでも頭がクラクラする”

” これ、規模の大きい雇用主が規模の小さい雇用主を気にして、賃金を最低水準に設定している。労働市場に対する賃金先導者(賃金設定の意味でのプライスリーダーシップ)の立場を取って、当該市場に従事する労働者の余剰を吸い上げる形になっている。えぐ過ぎる。”

 

Advertisements

Is Japan Reviving?

Japan Can Teach U.S. How to Overcome National Rot

While more people in the U.S. are noticing a period of institutional sclerosis and Europe suffers from its paralyzed politics and  high unemployment, Noah argues that Japan has managed to mostly pull itself out of a long period of paralysis. Despite of Japan’s seemingly endless dysfunction following the bursting of its real estate and stock-market bubbles, he claims that the perception that Japan is mired in an eternal “lost decade” is now out of date.

Yes, Japan’s economy has a number of long-term structural problems, most significantly its aging, shrinking population. But in most areas, Japan has overcome its bout of sclerosis, and in many ways is looking healthier than any other major economy.

The areas he mentioned are:

1) GDP:
While total GDP figure, or fail to account for inflation understate Japan’s performance,  the country’s real output per working-age population has outpaced the U.S.’s since 2000, despite the fact that Japan’s working-age population has aged much more.

2) Employment:
In Japan now, practically everyone who wants a job has a job

スクリーンショット 2017-04-17 19.09.57スクリーンショット 2017-04-17 19.10.24

Though women in Japan still haven’t won economic equality in the workplace, they now have jobs at higher rates than their American counterparts.imrs

3) Companies:
Though Japanese companies are simply employing too many people, they also have managed to improve profitability a lot. Margins are higher than they’ve been since the Great Recession.

スクリーンショット 2017-04-17 19.17.25

4) Many social indicators:
Fertility, tough at very low level in developed countries, has begun to inch up.
Japan’s violent crime rate is still legendarily low.
High suicide rate has also come down substantially.

Noah lay the cause of these healthy indicators on good leadership who were willing to confront issues like unproductive workplaces and pervasive sexism head-on, as well as on companies’ effort endeavored in waves of consolidation that helped raise profitability in industries from autos to banking to electronics.

However, as a student of Japanese economic history and a foreigner living in Japan, I really doubt that if two lost-decades has made Japan to collectively realize that the old growth and social models weren’t working.

 

Firstly, despite of the growing GDP per capita at all, Japan is a country famous for its low white-collar productivity which is borne out by the statistics. And thus the full employment is still strayed from perfect stage as the substantial growth of employment since 1990 is mainly driven by part-time workers, who are arguably offered jobs that  even a Robot shouldn’t do. [1]

Secondly, my own research finds that the waves of consolidation is nothing but a boom stimulated by changes on laws and the level of firm reorganization is still way lower comparing to UK or US market. Moreover, based on the data of listed firms in Tokyo exchange, I find that that despite of increasing turbulence on the economic environment as well as the technology revolution, the risk of bankruptcy on big firms in Japan are becoming lower in recent decade, which might imply a more stable and rigid market environment.

The case in Japan is not like what Chandler said “structure follows strategy” but the verse. So the main question is if the structure (inter-firm, intro-firm, market) has changed institutionally or not. Or in a more pessimistic sense, is Japan able to get rid of its institutional sclerosis formed and trapped in its economic heyday in principle?

 

[1]

“Some of that comes from the reluctance by tradition-minded companies to adopt modern workplace technologies — there are still companies using fax machines or copying electronic documents onto paper. Some of it is from outdated management practices. Some of it is from employees staying at work for too many hours, long after their productivity has gone into free-fall. But some of it is certainly just a function of useless jobs. There are Japanese people being paid to do things that no one, not even a robot, should be paid to do.”

Appendix: Aging and Shrinking population in Japan

The population of Japan is estimated to drop below 100 million in 2053, and the most pessimistic calculation is that Japan will diminish in 3766. Immigration is the only way in the short to medium term to solve Japan’s pension deficit and manpower issues, and Japan is relaxing its some of its immigration rules. However, Japan’s government has claimed that this is only foreign-skilled variety and it will never welcome the word of immigration but only guest worker.

383976f8-d101-4e76-bab6-53cbb78733f1

The future of JGB

Last year we have talked quite a lot about BOJ and the unsustainable balance sheet it holds. Now, with the rising yield pushed by FRB, the BOJ has to face a substantially worse situation as it has increasingly little room for monetary policy while the prospect of economy and inflation are still in gloom. I will continuously gather the relevant articles in this blog.

Japan – It’s Finally Happening

Large hedge fund managers like Kyle Bass or Crispin Odeywere have been shorting JGBs for a while. After all, it was an awfully compelling story. It’s difficult to see how Japan will be able to manage its monster debt load without inflating it away.

debtfeb03171

jgb30feb0317

Yet the great global bond rally of 2016 that drove European sovereign yields to batshit crazy negative levels, dragged Japanese government bonds along. ->  One of the most overindebted countries in the history of modern finance trading with a 0% thirty year bond.

-> Then a crazy thing happened. Worried its bonds would trade at negative yields and pressure the financial system, the Bank of Japan pegged its 10 year yield at 0%. -> In doing so, the BOJ moved from a set rate of balance sheet expansion to one that varies based on whether that peg is either too high, or too low. -> If the equilibrium level of 10 year rates was in fact below 0%, the Bank of Japan would be forced to sell bonds to keep rates stuck at 0%. If there was demand for credit and 10 year rates moved higher, then the BoJ would be forced to buy bonds to keep them from declining. -> at its heart, the BoJ was giving up control of its balance sheet so it could peg a specific part of the yield curve.
(Of course Central Banks do this all the time. The difference is they usually operate at the front part of the curve, and when there is too much demand or supply, they change the rate.)

-> The Bank of Japan had not eliminated volatility, but merely postponed it.

–>> An expansionary feedback loop: Eventually the Bank of Japan’s massive balance sheet expansion would kick in. At that point, inflation would pick up, credit would be demanded (?) and the BOJ would be forced to defend the 0% peg -> be forced to buy an unlimited number of bonds at a level below the market and expand the amount of base money, which if not offset with a decline in the velocity of money, would create more inflation, etc… All of this would be occurring with an already highly supercharged Japanese Central Bank balance sheet.

overfeb0317

BoJ was tested by the market last week as the JGB 10 Year bond spiked through the previous high yield on news the BOJ would not be expanding their balance sheet quite as aggressively as expected in their regular QE program.
(“Market looks to have been looking for a broader spectrum of purchase increases to reaffirm the commitment”)

  • The short-term policy rate, which applies to some bank reserves, was held at -0.1 percent.
  • The long-term policy rate, which is a target applied the yield on 10-year Japanese government bonds, was left unchanged at around 0 percent.
  • The inflation forecast for the fiscal year starting on April 1 was kept at 1.5 percent.
  • The GDP projection for the fiscal year was raised to 1.5 percent, from 1.3 percent.

lastnightfeb0317

1000x-1

1000x-13

As yields popped through the previous 0.10% yield ceiling, the Bank of Japan came charging into the market. <- The BoJ bid 3-4 basis points through the market with unlimited size to push yields back down to the 0.10% level. (Many analysts interpret the BOJ’s target of around zero percent to mean a range between positive and negative 0.1 percent.)

–>> The market is finally saying the demand for credit is enough to force the Bank of Japan to buy bonds to keep rates down. And that was the signal of shorting JGBs. 

+ BOJ faces the challenge of seeking to hold down borrowing costs just as accelerating inflation and an improving outlook for some of the world’s biggest economies push up bond yields globally.
(putting upward pressure on Japanese yields while also pushing down the yen. -> Further weakness in the currency, which would support exporters and help the central bank toward its distant inflation goal [A weak yen helps to boost exports and corporate profits, which should also encourage more investment and wage growth, though these flow-on effects have been disappointing so far.], may also raise the ire of Donald Trump and provoke a protectionist response that Japan can ill afford) 

1000x-12

20170131th(中長期的な懸念は長短金利差と円安誘導的な)

(However, It would be just like the Market Gods to finally usher in the JGBs collapse once all the hedge fund guys had given up on it…)

image

1000x-14

 

Moreover, Japan’s biggest banks benefits from this trend

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. are on course to exceed their fiscal-year profit goals, having all beaten analysts’ estimates for third-quarter earnings. Surging global bond yields and market volatility since Trump’s November election victory have been a boon to the banks’ fixed-income trading, helping to offset weak lending profitability, the results showed. And bank executives have welcomed Trump’s moves to relax financial regulations in the U.S., where the three firms have operations.
1000x-11(Bond and securities trading profit jumped and credit-related costs fell)

Other tailwinds include a weaker yen, which has fueled inflation expectations (weaker yen inflating earnings abroad) and prompted economists to predict that the BOJ’s monetary easing is over.

“A year ago the outlook was for continually lower rates, whereas now we’re starting to see prospects of higher rates going forward”

(However, Domestic interest margins remain tight, interest rates are low or negative and competition is fierce,” “Japan’s megabanks still face a tough environment.”)

 

Update 2017/02/14

No Laughing Matter for Kuroda With BOJ Near 40% of Bond Market

The BOJ holds more than 40 percent of Japanese government bonds, and the central bank’s stake continues to rise and rise.

1000x-171000x-18

As the central bank’s need to control yields drives unprecedented purchases of benchmark 10-year debt ->  exacerbating concerns it will run out of willing sellers to supply it with bonds to buy.

“The BOJ actually decreased the pace of purchases late last year, but after the market started to price in the risks to drive the yield up to 0.15 percent, and forced the central bank to accelerate again”

-> The yen rallied after the increased operations showcased concerns the BOJ’s shift to targeting the yield curve hasn’t removed questions about the durability of its quantitative easing.

1000x-19

BOJ is also aimed at steepening the yield curve:
With Japanese investors selling off Treasuries at the fastest pace since 2013, it also raises the likelihood of pension funds and life insurers, which need long-term assets to meet similar liabilities, being drawn back to so-called superlong bonds — worsening the BOJ’s potential supply constraint
+ raising stimulus-sustainability issues: banks are seen getting closer to their target limits when it comes to selling down JGB holdings. (Japan’s banks sold 141 trillion yen of government debt in the first 3 1/2 years of Kuroda’s easing, playing a key role in supplying the 298 trillion yen that the BOJ bought in the same period. Banks have just 219 trillion yen of the securities left, and they need to keep some of that to meet regulatory requirements. That all adds up to the real possibility that the BOJ will face constraints on its capacity to buy bonds.)

1000x-110

And almost a third of the bonds it owns have no income — or just pay it 0.1 percent a year in interest.
-> surge in bond prices over the past four years could still create losses for the BOJ, because most of the debt it buys costs well above face value, even though face value is what the central bank will get back, because it plans on holding the securities to maturity. The looming balance sheet shortfall that creates is another of the concerns surrounding the long-term sustainability of the policy.

Looking forward, it seems the BOJ can’t stop buying, otherwise it would lose control of yields while its inflation target remains far from 2 percent. Yet it can’t go on buying forever either, thanks to a lack of ready sellers.

 

PS.1 China’s Bond Market Has a Forgery Problem

PS.2 Bank of England Is Right to Ignore Inflation

PS.3 Germany’s Worrying Squeeze

Oliver Hart and papers on related topics

Source:

Oliver Hart, Nobel Laureate

Economics Nobel Rewards Theories Worth Building On

2016年诺贝尔经济学奖获得者哈特和产权理论

The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration

Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm

契約理論

THE PRIZE IN ECONOMIC SCIENCES 2016

 

 

The following is the introduction about Oliver Hart’s papers by .

1. The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration

When one company should buy out the assets of another company?
When do mergers and acquisitions maximize business value?

(This paper is a  starting point for thinking about mergers, vertical integration, and other questions of corporate ownership and contract and control.  Bengt Holmström of all people wrote a very nice appreciation of the paper.)

Hart was able to figure out how ownership transfers influence earlier decisions to invest in the value of company assets.

For instance, if Bayer buys out Monsanto, the incentives for the former managers to add value may go up, and for the latter managers the incentives may go down. The success of the merger may depend on whether the gain here outweighs the loss.

-> if you own an asset outright, you keep a greater share of the proceeds from improving the value of that asset.  Ownership should thus migrate to those parties who have the greatest ability to improve value.

–> that is a very fundamental improvement on the Coase theorem, which suggests ownership won’t matter when there is ex post contractibility. 

—-> Hart showed that for ownership not to matter there must also be ex ante contractibility about value-improving investments at earlier stages in the game, an unlikely assumption to hold.

And Hart helped devise a technical language for analyzing when too many potential veto points in a business deal can block progress.

 

2. Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm

This is again a model and series of parables about ownership and the allocation of rights, but with some twists on the earlier Grossman and Hart piece.

-> The key point is to not allow inessential agents to achieve blocking power of value creation. 

->> If inessential agents owns potential blocking power, the surplus has to be split, resulting in some loss of value, due to a tougher bargaining problem, higher transactions costs, and a chance there won’t be enough surplus to cover the most significant investments

->>> Parties who create a lot of value should own things.

 

3. Takeover Bids, the Free Rider Problem, and the Theory of the Corporation.

(One of Alex’s most interesting papers is an extension of this work)

Why a lot of value-maximizing takeover don’t happen, or why it is hard to buy up a whole city block and renovate it.

-> Maybe not enough shareholders will sell as they hopes other would sell and the raider would push the value, and so a value-enhancing takeover doesn’t always happen.

 

4. Incomplete Contracts and Renegotiation

(This paper is connected to the Nobel Prize for Jean Tirole two years ago.)

How can you write a contract so a) parties will make the appropriate relationship-specific investments, and b) it doesn’t have to be renegotiated all of the time?

–>> value maximization within corporate endeavors and possible obstacles to such value maximization.

 

5The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons

Hart, again with co-authors, also wrote a seminal paper on when we should prefer government over private-sector ownership.

<- Most of us prefer to eat in private rather than government-owned restaurants because we believe we’ll get lower costs, tastier food, and more innovation.
<- At the same time, private prisons may not be such a great idea. Prison companies will try to cut costs (“The incentive to cut costs is too strong! “), but the result may be facilities that are insufficiently humane.

–>> Sometimes the apparently inefficient bureaucracy does a better job helping to meet social goals, because the government won’t have the same profit incentive to skimp on quality along various margins.

(You also probably wouldn’t want Air Force One owned by the private sector, though you do want it to be designed and produced by the private sector. )

 

6. An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem

A breakthrough and highly rigorous means of modeling the principal-agent problem.

(It is in Econometrica and quite hard for many people to read.)

 

7. On Shareholder Unanimity in Large Stock Market Economies

Whether all shareholders will desire that firms maximize profits if markets are incomplete and some firm shares also serves secondary “insurance” purposes of helping protect against adverse states of the world.

-> If you use the shares of a wheat-producing firm for insurance purpose, you would hope the value of the firm covary with the value of wheat in ways that differ from simple firm profit-maximization.

 

Congratulations to Oliver Hart!

一个非主流经济学学生的感想:Oliver Hart的得奖是自Ronald Coase和Oliver Williamson后的第三次颁给新制度经济学。新古典主义在这几十年用一种数学建模吞并的方式宣称了自己的霸权,认为只有数学才能解释和验证阐述世界的理论,认为建模即主流,拒绝即无稽。所以他们可以把这次的得奖称为主流中的主流,并在宏观经济学饱受争议之后让理论架构的微观经济学再一次成为自己的旌旗。但是不可否认的是,理论架构建模之前,并不是归纳法或者演绎法创造了这一切的源泉,而是真正贴切世界的敏锐的抽象的思考和发现。就像爱因斯坦所说,抵达真理的方向上并不是逻辑的道路,而是对经验共鸣的直觉。

 

Increasing Short-termism?

Source:

Maybe Companies Aren’t Too Focused on the Short Term

Evidence and Implications of Short-termism in US Public Capital Markets: 1980-2013

A Long Look at Short-Termism Questioning the Premise

 

Last week when we went through Montier’s criticism about shareholding value maximization, one thing we mentioned is “given the shortening lifespan of a corporate and the decreasing tenure of the CEO, many managers are willing to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain”. The most fact that Monteir found is “declining and low rates of business investment.”

However, this week Tyler Cowen wrote an article to defend the short-termism.

First of all,

“Short-termism is said to plague all parties in the investment community, including investment managers, companies, and investors. However, it is very difficult to prove.”

However, a recent paper claims to “provide evidence of increasing short-termism in US equity capital markets over the period of 1980-2013, by using a ‘market discount factor’ estimated for publicly traded firms based on a capital asset pricing model”. (Which means it’s also a study for valuation.)  They find that “markets more heavily discount firms that have less financial slack, spend less on capital or R&D, have greater analyst coverage, or held by more transient institutional investors as well as pay their executives via more short-term compensation.And “short-term market valuations are significantly negatively correlated with future capital investment. “

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-09-23-35-30

However, Cowen argued that American corporations ought to be on short-term.

The following reasons are also combined with ideas from Michael J. Mauboussin’s report.

 

1. In information technology, betting on the future feels imprudent if change is rapid.

Academic research shows that the period of competitive advantage is shrinking for companies.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-09-23-40-24

The world is speeding up. If the sustainability of a company’s economic profit is fleeting, there is less reason to place great value on the future. Planning so far out can involve a lot of expense and risk.

2. In information technology, the average life of a corporate asset is lowering.

“Production has shifted toward service sectors with relatively short asset lives, and that may call for a shorter-term orientation in response.”

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-09-23-56-25

Except rapid change, the more actual effect on investment comes from balance sheet, since shorter asset lives means higher depreciation.

-> So for many companies a contraction in time horizon is a proper response to economic reality.

And this is backed by “corporate governance tends to be better in sectors where asset lives are long than in sectors where asset lives are short. Where monitoring long-term investments is most relevant, corporate governance is the best developed. “

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-10-2-13-12

3. Companies tend to make big mistakes from thinking too big and too long-term

“for instance, a lot of mergers were based on notions of long-run synergies that never materialized.”

4. Given to high endurance of losing money by startups, investors are not ignoring the long-run prospects of the company.

“Amazon has a high share price even though its earnings reports have usually failed to show a profit .Many tech startups have high valuations even though revenue is zero or low.”

“During the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, there was too much long-run, pie-in-the-sky thinking and not enough focus on the concrete present.”

5. Compensation schemes for managers are more complex and more varied than in the past.

“Executive compensation has moved toward long-term incentives, boards of directors are more independent than in the past, and governance committees are “nearly universal.”

Moreover, a link between pay and short-termism is difficult to establish.

<- Academic research shows that CEO pay has closely followed the size of the firms in the economy independent of the form of remuneration.

6. Transient investors are not increasing.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-10-2-20-20

And “while transient investors do take a short view, they are attracted to companies that provide lots of information events. It is these companies that appear most willing to trade value-creating investments to deliver short-term results.”

 

Anyway, “If public shareholders are placing too much short-term pressure on their companies for a good quarterly earnings report, companies have the option of boosting their value by going private, as has been the trend.”

<- By 2012, the number of U.S. public corporations was less than half what it had been in 1997, in part because many companies went private. See here.

 

Update 2017/10/21

Are U.S. Companies Too Short-Term Oriented? Some Thoughts Steve Kaplan University of Chicago Booth School of Business

The Private Debt Crisis

Source:

The Private Debt Crisis

There’s a Surplus of Worry About Debt

 

Last time when we read Montier’s report about macro myths, there is a great picture that shows that it is always the appearing of private sector deficit that got us in trouble.

And according to Noah smith’s newest bloomberg view, actually “there continues to be a steady drumbeat of editorials and essays warning about the danger of too much private debt. ” 

For example,

vague-charts1

Richard Vague claims that “one of the key and largely overlooked reasons for this disappointing growth is the increasing global burden of private debt—the combination of business debt and household debt.”

vague-charts21

Here, he want argue that “when too high, private debt becomes a drag on economic growth.” 

<- “When private debt is high, consumers and businesses have to divert an increased portion of their income to paying interest and principal on that debt—and they spend and invest less as a result.

As soon as I saw these words, the lowest interest rate in the history jumped into my minds.

But obviously Vague did not dismiss that, “most middle- and lower-income households (which is where the highest rate of debt growth has been), as well as most small- and medium-size businesses, pay interest rates much higher than money market rates. And in addition to interest, all these borrowers have to pay down the principal balance of the loan. Moreover, though their rates may be lower, all of these borrowers are now in a world where increases in income and revenue are harder to come by.”

However, question still exists. China’s recent case shows debt concern make sense, but it looks like a reversing causality: it is the slowdown that draws concern on debt. So does Japan’s case.

Beside of growth,  just like we’ve mentioned, the biggest problem of private debt is “very rapid or “runaway” private debt growth often brings financial crises.”

vague-charts3

Given to Vogue, that is because so much lending occurs that it results in overcapacity: “Far too much of something is built or produced—housing and office buildings are two examples—and too many bad loans are made.”

This makes sense if we think about China’s infra investments.

Vogue says “china’s skyrocketing private debt ratio brings a level of overcapacity that makes a continued slowdown in its growth inevitable in order for demand to catch up to a now-staggering oversupply of housing, commodities, and other items.”

And “China is compounding the problem by fully continuing to overlend and overproduce, albeit with diminishing returns. China’s nongovernment loans have grown almost a trillion dollars in the most recently reported period alone, and they are still producing 40 percent more steel than the world needs. In continuing this trend, the Chinese are taking a problem whose size and scope is unprecedented and making it all that much bigger.”

According to this, the world economy is doomed with low growth and deflation.

vague-charts4

Japan maybe the future of China, which means a painful deleveraging in private sector balance sheet and a leveraging of government.. After all, governments can always resort to printing money, while households and businesses can’t.

The easiest and most direct way to solve the problem is to cut consumer debt and thus increase consumer spending (or demand) . And the easiest way to cut consumer debt is to lower the interest rate. China still has the potential to accomplish this target, though there are other problems remained in the supply and demand side.

However, Noah’s article doubted about the private debt story .

1.private debt has to be paid back at the individual level, but not in aggregate. Debts net out.

<- If I borrow $100 from my friend Jessica, Jessica borrows $100 from Michael, and Michael borrows $100 from me, none of us is going to have to suffer or cut back when all the debts get repaid.

This is point that Montier also mentioned. Private debt is not a generation problem.

2.In terms of telling when a recession is going to come, it’s likely that the quality of debt is more important than the quantity.

<- It’s indicators of bad debt, like term spreads and the percentage of high-yield debt that predicts.

However, about the debt problem in china, my favourite Chinese analyst Zhang Huaqiao has an idea that lots of debt in china are just failed government spending.

3.If a trend can more or less continue for three centuries, we should be a little wary about claiming that it’s going to end soon.

<- “How much debt is too much? Somehow, most countries have managed to keep their debt numbers growing overall since the dawn of the modern age. What looked like an unthinkably high debt level a century ago looks safely low in 2016. Will current ratios look similarly low to our great-grandchildren?”

4.Short-term debt trends are little changed or declining for most of the major economies

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-05-2-26-39

 

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-05-2-31-14

And one can easily get the following conclusion from this graph.

“China’s private debt levels, especially corporate debt, have increased extremely rapidly in recent years. More troubling, the quality of the credit seems to have deteriorated. That signals that a downturn may be in China’s near future.”

Maybe the graph about new economy in china can offer some relief.

 

 

SVM, The Dumbest Idea In The World

Source:

The Dumbest Idea In The World: Maximizing Shareholder Value

The World’s Dumbest Idea

 

There is only one valid definition of a business purpose: to create a customer. -Peter Drucker

Roger Martin had a fabulous analogy about shareholder value maximization (SVM) and baseball.

“Imagine an NFL coach, holding a press conference on Wednesday to announce that he predicts a win by 9 points on Sunday, and that bettors should recognize that the current spread of 6 points is too low. Or picture the team’s quarterback standing up in the postgame press conference and apologizing for having only won by 3 points when the final betting spread was 9 points in his team’s favor. While it’s laughable to imagine coaches or quarterbacks doing so, CEOs are expected to do both of these things.”

And Steve Denning added

“Imagine also, to extrapolate Martin’s analogy, that the coach and his top assistants were hugely compensated, not on whether they won games, but rather by whether they covered the point spread…Suppose also that in order to manage the expectations implicit in the point spread, the coach had to spend most of his time talking with analysts and sports writers about the prospects of the coming games and “managing” the point spread, instead of actually coaching the team…Looking at these forty-eight games, one would be tempted to conclude: “Surely those scores are being ‘managed’?””

The story began from Jack Welch. In an interview in the Financial Times from March 2009, Welch said “Shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world.”

Next part we basically follow James Montier’s paper

 

The origin of SVM

SVM was found under some idea that in the presence of ubiquitous perfect competition and fully complete markets, a Pareto optimal outcome will result from situations where producers and all other economic actors pursue their own interests. 

(“Neither of which assumption bears any resemblance to the real world”,  like James Montier suggested, “Adam Smith’s invisible hand in mathematically obtuse fashion.”)

And by Milton Friedman in 1970 [1], “There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits…”

Following Jensen and Meckling in 1976, they argued that “the key challenge when it came to corporate governance was one of agency theory – effectively how to get executives (agents) to focus on maximizing the wealth of the shareholders (principals)”

+ “Under an “efficient” market, the current share price is the best estimate of the expected future cash flows (intrinsic worth) of a company

-> so combining EMH led to the idea that agents could be considered to be maximizing the principals’ wealth if they maximized the stock price. “

–> This eventually led to the idea that in order to align managers with shareholders they need to be paid in a similar fashion. 

“Monetary compensation and stock ownership remain the most effective tools for aligning executive and shareholder interests.”

 

Widespread Adoption of the Bad Idea

Statements like

“Corporations have a responsibility, first of all, to make available to the public quality goods and services at fair prices, thereby earning a profit that attracts investment…provide jobs, and build the economy.”

“The principal objective of a business…is to generate economic returns to its owners…if the CEO and the directors are not focused on shareholder value, it may be less likely the corporation will realize that value.”

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-18-06

“I’ve shot myself in the foot by showing this example?”

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 18.21.08.png

But single cases can explain nothing, so we move from the micro to the macro

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-23-14The second set of bars adjusts the total real return data to account for shifts in valuation, which reflect the price that the market is willing to put upon those returns.

-> a significant proportion of the returns achieved in the era of SVM actually came from the price investors were willing to pay

 

What went wrong for SVM?

In the last decade some two-thirds of total CEO compensation has come through stock and options.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-28-34

The reason for higher pay and lower outcome is that “incentives don’t always work in the way that one might expect”

Behaviour economics shows that when incentives get too high, performance get low.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-39-56

In the era of SVM, both the lifespan of a company and the tenure of the CEO have shortened significantly. [2]

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-43-01

SVM and the Damage Done [3]

1) declining and low rates of business investment;

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-49-06

<- Given the shortening lifespan of a corporate and the decreasing tenure of the CEO, the finding that many managers are willing to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain probably shouldn’t be a surprise.

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 18.55.18.png

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-19-02-22“the average investment rate among private firms is nearly twice as high as among public firms, at 6.8% versus 3.7% of total assets per year.”

<-  with both the shareholders have increased power and the managers will acquiesce as they are paid in a similar fashion under SVM,  we should expect SVM to lead to increased payouts but the fact is high cash return.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-19-09-35

It play an important role, because a little known fact is that almost all investment carried out by firms is financed by internal sources (i.e., retained earnings).

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-19-12-09

From the mid 1980s onwards, equity issuance has been net negative as firms have bought back an enormous amount of their own equity (and geared themselves by issuing debt – a massive debt for equity swap). [4]

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-19-16-00

When market valuations were high (prior to the financial crisis) a record number of buybacks were conducted.

In all, the obsession with returning cash to shareholders under the rubric of SVM has led to a squeeze on investment, and a potentially dangerous leveraging of the corporate sector. 

2) rising inequality

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-49-20

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-19-19-04

Remember, the wealth benefits most in capital markets.

We’ve seen a similar picture in the house market, see.

Also, CXOs have been paid more than 30 years ago.

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 19.22.31.png

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 19.24.09.png

The rise in incomes of the top 1% has been driven largely by executives and those in finance.

3) a low labour share of GDP

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-18-49-36

During the last two expansions the income gains have gone entirely (and most recently more than entirely) to the top 10%.

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 19.25.29.png

-> The problem with this is that the 90% have a much higher propensity to consume than the top 10%.
-> Thus as income (and wealth) is concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer, growth is likely to slow significantly.

スクリーンショット 2016-10-02 19.27.53.png

The 90% have a savings rate of effectively 0%, whilst the top 1% have a savings rate of 40%.

 

 

[1]

“It is quite staggering just how many bad ideas in economics appear to stem from Milton Friedman. Not only is he culpable in the development of SVM, but also for the promotion of that most facile theory of inflation known as the quantity theory of money. Most egregiously of all, he is the father of the doctrine of the “instrumentalist” view of economics, which includes the belief that a model should not be judged by its assumptions but by its predictions.” 

We once talked the last idea a little bit, see.

“Given Friedman’s loathing of all things Keynesian, there is a certain delicious irony that the corporate world is so perfectly illustrating Keynes’ warning of being a slave of a defunct economist!”

[2]

In the 1970s, the average lifespan of a company in the S&P 500 was 27 years (already down massively from the 75 years seen in the 1920s!). In the latter half of the last decade, the lifespan of a corporate in the S&P 500 had declined still further to a paltry 15 years.

In parallel to this trend, the average tenure of a CEO has fallen sharply as well. In the 1970s, the average CEO held his position for almost 12 years. More recently this has almost halved to an average tenure of just six years. It is little wonder that CEOs may be incentivized to extract maximum rent in the minimum time possible given the shrinkage of their time horizons (not independent of the shrinkage in time horizons for investors perhaps).

[3]

That isn’t to say that SVM alone is responsible, rather it is part of broader set of policies that have magnified these effects.

[4]

A fact first noted by Corbett and Jenkinson in 1997.

One of the most common raison d’êtres for stock markets that gets offered up is that they are providing vital capital to the corporate sector – the evidence suggests that this is nothing more than a fairy tale. Far from providing capital to the corporate sector,8 shareholders have been extracting it from corporates.

Inflation and Policy

Source:

Inflation and Fiscal Policy

I was asked: Whatever Happened to Inflation after all this Money-Printing?

 

Raising inflation was not something that worried economists.

“Yet, today, even as central banks lower policy rates close to zero (or below) and expand their balance sheets beyond what anyone previously imagined possible, inflation remains stubbornly below target in most of the advanced world.”

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-1-29-30

The problem is most profound in Japan, where inflation doomed even with  BOJ’s 1/3 GDP balance sheet and NIRP.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-1-31-55

“Aggressive monetary policies have worked even in periods when riskless interest rates were close to zero, private risk premia were elevated, banks were fragile, and burdensome debt overhangs were pervasive.” – the Great Depression

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-1-40-47

The stunning shift in the U.S. monetary and prudential regime that included the combination ofabandoning the Gold Standard and buttressing the fragile banking system triggered this sudden reversal.

-> it sharply altered expectations virtually overnight, changing the behavior of households, firms and banks in short order.

It looks like the most important thing is expectation.

(although the role of fiscal policy since 1933 is still arguable [1])

Back to Japan’s case,

Commonly-held view is that policy stimulus in the advanced economies ought to include a substantial expansionary fiscal component that has generally been lacking.

<- Abe has overseen a large fiscal tightening:

1. current IMF estimates show Japan’s structural fiscal deficit shrinking by 3.7% of potential GDP over the past three years
2. Cashin and Unayama estimate that, upon announcement of Abe’s tax plans in October 2013, households reduced consumption by 5.2%.
3. restoring debt sustainability will require a large fiscal tightening (Hoshi and Ito (2012)).

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-10-02-2-07-50

Why a fiscal policy is so important?

Christopher Sims argues that monetary expansion will not succeed in driving up inflation if “low interest rates fail to generate substantial fiscal expansion.”

<- According to this fiscal theory of the price level (FTPL), at low interest rates, stabilizing inflation requires a modicum of fiscal-monetary cooperation: the fiscal policymaker must be seen as willing to run an easier future policy that is consistent with higher inflation.

<- “If in the face of low inflation the central bank lowers interest rates, demand increases and inflation rises only if the reduced interest expense component of the budget is expected eventually to flow through to a reduced primary surplus.… There is no automatic stabilizing mechanism to bring the economy back to target inflation and stay there, unless the commitment to true fiscal expansion at very low interest rates is widely understood.”

So it seems Abe’s policy failed because he did not offer expectation.

“Put differently, today’s price level is jointly determined by monetary and fiscal policy. And, it is not just today’s policies that matters, but the entire path into the distant future.”

 

But, wait! We once read articles that told us Japan’s Fiscal Stimulus Won’t Work.

The economy is already at full employment!

<- Fiscal stimulus relies crucially on having those unemployed and unused real resources sitting around.

But maybe fiscal policy can do something with the high cash holding of Japan’s firms.

 

Wolf Richter has some different idea about why all this central-bank “money-printing” along with 0/NIRP haven’t caused a big bout of inflation, which actually supports the fiscal policy idea.

big-four-central-bank-balance-sheet-2007-2017

Yes central banks have heaped on their balance sheets, but the inflation caused by QE is not consumer price inflation, but rampant asset price inflation.

And the reason is because the money never went to consumers – in form of wages.

“Because the money has been channeled to big financial and corporate entities, and they plowed it into financial and other assets (including share buybacks and other forms of “financial engineering”), thus pushing up asset prices.These already wealthy people didn’t need to spend their gains (what Bernanke called the “wealth effect”) because they already were spending all they wanted to spend. So the asset price boom had little impact on consumption and thus didn’t create inflationary pressures from consumers.”

QE and ZIRP put a priority on capital rather than labor.

-> So inflation-adjusted wages for the lower 80% of households have declined, a trend that started after the real-wage peak in 2000, and accelerated with the Financial Crisis.

us-household-income-by-quintiletop-5-percent

 

And QE and 0/NIRP also “search for yield”, which floods entire and very risky sectors with huge amounts of money -> “malinvestment”

-> which causes overproduction and gluts, such as in ocean container shipping, US oil & gas, mining & metals, other commodities, even ghost cities in China

-> which cause prices to collapse, filtering into consumer prices and pushes down consumer price inflation

 

[1]

Economic historians argue that fiscal policy played only a secondary role in lifting the U.S. economy during the 1930s (see, for example, DeLong and Romer). Importantly, this assessment is notbecause fiscal policy doesn’t matter, but because discretionary fiscal stimulus was so limited and desultory until World War II. Eggertsson contends that fiscal expansion in 1933 gave credibility to the stated objective of raising prices. But, as was the case in 1937 with the first round of Social Security contributions. at times, fiscal policy turned quite contractionary.

Austrian Economics and the Debate

Source:

张维迎:林毅夫思想和50年代计划经济思想完全一脉相承

林毅夫再系统回应产业政策之争:成功有药方 前提之一就是政府因势利导

“假设的真实性”:科斯与弗里德曼的”和而不同”之处——兼谈社会学研究中的”理性人”假设

Debating Government’s Role in Boosting Growth: Cowen and Smith

Austrian Economics Might Explain China’s Turmoil

 

A renewed topic around government and free market

1. 上世纪20和30年代经济学界有关社会主义计划经济可行性的大争论

先来看张维迎的文章

“兰格用新古典主义范式证明,通过引入一般均衡的“瓦尔拉斯拍卖机制”,计划当局可以模拟出价格,解决经济计算问题。”

“米塞斯认为,市场是一个过程,没有生产资料私有制基础上的要素市场,没有自由价格,计划当局根本没有办法解决经济核算问题,也就不能有效地分配资源于不同的部门。”

“哈耶克进一步讲,为什么计划经济不可行?因为经济计算所需要的知识、信息都分散在每个人脑子里,尤其许多知识是主观的、默性的, 只可意会不可言传,除了当事人自己实际运用或通过价格机制传递,其他人根本不可能获得。”

-> 哈耶克这个论调等于是说 每个人的效用曲线是无法发现的 价格均衡是自我论证的偏颇的 并且无数人的效用曲线形成的整体形状也是无法模糊发现的。参考弗里德曼的说法,关键不是假定的真否,而是结果是否符合实际。哈耶克是在结果上否定了这种可能。

张维迎继续说这是范式问题

“按照新古典理论,市场就是一个资源配置的机制,就是给定资源、偏好和技术情况下,如何使得资源得到最佳配置。”

-> 市场的有效性依赖于信息的对称和完全,如果现实中信息不完全、不对称,市场有效的提前就不成立了,结论自然是市场失灵了,需要政府干预。

“但按照米塞斯和哈耶克发展的奥地利学派的理论,市场首先是一个认知机制,其主要功能是发现和传递信息,使得每个人的创造力得到充分发挥。”

-> 正是因为信息不对称,我们才不得不依赖于市场解决问题,才需要市场价格作为信息发现机制和信息交流机制。

你看本质上还是我上面说的,效用曲线和价格均衡的发现问题。奥地利学派认为政府没有办法发现价格,只能由市场发现。

张维迎还自己补充了一点

“市场的优越性正来自信息不对称,因为市场以分工为基础,没有分工就不会有交易,而分工意味着每个人只知道一些与自己所从事专业直接相关的专业知识,并且对任何产品,生产者总是比消费者知道的更多…分工和专业化之所以能提高生产率,正是因为每个人只需要少量的专业知识,但交换使得整个社会的知识数倍于任何单个人拥有的知识,这就是市场的优越性。”

这是说信息不对称甚至是产生市场的一种原动力。

关于主观发现的问题,张维迎解释

“在真实市场上,决策是决策者的一种主观判断,判断意味着即使同样的数据,不同的人结论会不一样…因为有一些重要的知识不在可利用的数据里,特别是有关未来不确定性的判断永远不在数据里。正因为如此,我们才需要企业家,才需要企业家精神,企业家就是面临着一个不确定的世界要做出自己的判断,这些判断是没有办法完全基于现有数据的”

这是说企业家的效应和价格的发现方式会与常人很不一样,和过去的市场很不一样。

“市场是一个发现和传递信息的过程,主要是通过企业家的警觉和判断来协调供给和需求,使得市场趋于均衡,没有分散的企业家活动,市场就不可能趋于均衡。进一步讲,按照熊彼特的观点,经济发展来自企业家的创新(事实也如此),创新同样是不可预测的,充满了一系列的不确定性。”

所以企业家会比原来的市场更有效地发现效应和价格。

“如果每个人有90%的可能性犯错误,10个人分别决策的话,同时犯错误的概率只有34.9%,至少一个人成功的概率是65.1%,只要有一个人成功了社会就有了这个产品。相反,如果集中做一个决策,成功的概率就只有10%。”

交给分散化决策还有概率上的优势。

当然其实新古典范式的经济学家也有反对产业政策的。比如上世纪70年代在新古典范式基础上发展出来的公共选择学派提出了“政府失灵”理论。一会我们通过Cowen和Smith的讨论也可以看到一些现代古典经济学家对。

 

2. 林毅夫关于新结构经济学和经济增长的观点

“经济增长表面上看是收入水平不断提高,但它从本质上讲它的决定因素是各种技术、产业不断创新,劳动生产率水平提高,各种软硬基础设施不断完善,从而降低交易费用的过程——这是一个结构变迁的过程。”

“我们现在能够变成中等偏上收入国家,一个很重要的原因是我们完成了从传统农业向现代化制造业的转型,不断攀登产业阶梯,慢慢进入到后工业化的、以工业为主的阶段。发展中国家的技术创新、产业升级以及软硬基础设施的完善,可以以发达国家走过的道路作为参考,这在经济学上叫“后发优势”。”

“罗伯特·索洛和迈克尔·斯宾塞发现二战后,有13个经济体实现了每年7%或者更高的经济增长速度,维持了25年或者更长的时间,大大缩小与发达国家的差距。五个特征:开放经济利用后发优势,实现了宏观经济的稳定,高储蓄率和高投资率,市场经济或走向市场经济,积极的、有为的政府。”

“原始的结构经济学是政府克服市场失灵,直接动员资源、资金,直接配置资源、资金到现代化的大产业,进口替代战略。结果并不如意,这也是70年代出现新自由主义政府失灵休克疗法的原因。不过后者结果也不好。
而看50、60年代东亚这些成功国家的政策,不是结构主义,而是出口导向先去发展劳动密集型的小规模产业。80年代转型成功的国家,推行的是渐进的、双轨的政策,一方面继续保持政府对经济的干预、扭曲,给原来政府优先发展产业当中的国有企业保护补贴,另一方面放开传统上受到压制的劳动密集型加工业的准入,而且因势利导,积极招商引资,建立经济特区、工业园等,来帮助劳动密集型的加工产业发展。”

“新结构经济学说决定一个经济体的结构内生于这个国家的要素禀赋结构,而要素禀赋在每个时点上是给定的,并且随着时间变化。这种变化会带来产业结构的变化。要素禀赋就是总预算,各种要素的相对稀缺性决定相对价格,也就决定了生产成本最低最有竞争力的产业。
而产业技术升级的前提是根本的要素禀赋结构必须不断升级。劳动者所拥有的资源越来越多的话,自然比较优势就变成资本更密集的产业。当然,在市场上竞争的时候不光是生产成本,还包括交易成本。因此在这个过程当中,也必须相应地完善交通基础设施和制度环境,来降低交易成本。”

“对于企业家来讲不关心要素优势,只有利润最大化,自发地按照禀赋优势来选择产业技术,需要一个竞争性的市场来准确敏锐地反映价格信号。而也需要政府来给第一个吃螃蟹的企业家激励,给外部性补偿。有效的市场,和能够因势利导的有为的政府,产生的结果就是开放、宏观稳定,储蓄率、投资率都会高。”

“渐进双轨的改革就是对于不符合比较优势的旧的产业继续给保护补贴,但是放开对符合比较优势的劳动密集型产业的准入,而且因势利导。而随着资本的积累,原来违反比较优势的大型资本密集型产业,逐渐变得符合比较优势。”

我们可以看到其实林的新结构首先是承认市场的信号作用的。而政府的作用主要是起到降低交易成本和找市场做出选择部分里提供激励。本质上新制度经济学的讲法。这是奥地利学派所缺少的(至少据上文所能看到的)。市场本身的发现仍然有效率之分,一些降低交易成本公共性商品在过去只能由政府提供。(在现在或许可以由货币超发和科技泡沫来提供)。

但我们也发现事实上并没有想象的那么好。政府在提供减低交易成本的设施和激励的时候,通常会干扰市场价格。事实上我们曾经讨论过企业家精神对政府的干预基本上都带有大程度的抵触。

所以我们总结一下,林的新结构经济学的禀赋理论其实本质上是依靠奥地利的市场发现的。而市场发现也可以被政策来提高效率,但是维持良性少负面影响的政策很难。

 

3. 难得讲到奥地利,我们借Noah Smith的文章来看一下西方主流对其的看法

“The Austrian school, for the uninitiated, is a hodgepodge of beliefs, usually holding that fiat currencies are doomed to fail, that a return to the gold standard is inevitable and that central banks are responsible for bubbles, market crashes and recessions.”

A.

There was the dramatic failure of the Federal Reserve’s program of quantitative easing to cause even a hint, even the slightest whiff, of inflation.

B.

Gold, as the hedge against the end of the modern economy, hasn’t worked out too well.
(North wrote this article in 2015)

スクリーンショット 2016-09-30 1.30.24.png

What’s interesting to me, however, is that events in China are actually bearing out some of the classic predictions of Austrian thinking.

Mises contend that recessions happen because too many resources are funneled into assets that won’t actually be productive in the future.

-> Businesses might make big, systematic mistakes.
(Though It has never been very clear exactly why malinvestment causes an economic hangover.)

(对的也就是说和理性人假设相反,正是因为不可发现的价格发现所以会导致一些系统性大错误最后崩盘。我不知道这算不算对奥地利学派的一个反讽。有些人可能会问,如果没有任何政府歪曲价格,真的会有错误投资吗。不妨想想老百姓种庄稼以及一些产能过剩的化工行业。)

China’s housing and stock bubble also bring us to another interesting Austrian notion — the instability of financial markets.
(Mainstream macroeconomics is only just barely starting to deal with the idea that financial markets may have a natural tendency to boom and bust.)

 

4. 其实前段日子在bloomberg上Cowen和Smith正好有一场关于美国是否需要财政政策的讨论

Cowen: My view is pretty simple: at this point the economy is fairly close to full employment and the momentum is positive. So right now I don’t see a significant role for demand-side arguments for government stimulus.

Smith: There’s also a possibility there’s still some demand gap left. (prime-age employment-to-population, wage, price) If we see inflation start to spike we can always put on the brakes. Meanwhile, because infrastructure repair is probably something we should be doing anyway, it makes for good fiscal policy; if there’s a demand gap, it’ll help with that too. If not, at least we have some nice roads.

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-30-1-53-32

Cowen: If we go beyond cost-benefit test on the supply-side, there is by definition a potential harm in choosing inefficient policies that destroy some wealth and worsen resource allocation.Keep also in mind that the decline in labor force participation probably comes from structural factors.We should address those, but let’s do it by making the economy more efficient, not less efficient.

Smith: We don’t live in a world of certainty, where costs and benefits are known. If there happens to be a lingering demand shortage, we get an added benefit from infrastructure spending. If there’s not, then infrastructure spending will raise interest rates (crowding out private investment) and/or inflation. But we have the option to dial back spending if we see that happening. Of course, I think we should avoid letting our transportation networks decay even if there is NO demand gap.

你看,所以其实可能奥地利和有些新古典并没有太大范式差异,而是操作准则的差异。

 

 

Big Data Lens on China’s Economy

Source:

Big Data Lens on China’s Economy (Mostly) Affirms Official Stats

Hedge Funds Look to Space With New China Economy Gauge

8 月万事达卡财新 BBD 中国新经济指数

陈沁、沈明高、沈艳:财智BBD中国新经济指数技术报告

 

The SpaceKnow Satellite Manufacturing Index 

1x-16

The San Francisco-based startup uses algorithms to track signs of manufacturing activity in satellite images of 6,000 industrial sites across China.

800x-1

SpaceKnow calculates the index with an algorithm that compares photos of industrial sites and assigns values for visual changes over time that indicate activity, such as visible inventory or new construction.

1x-12

UnionPay’s Card Transactions

1x-17

A unit of China UnionPay Co., operator of the country’s largest payments network, developed an index of card transactions to track real estate sales and other key aspects of the economy.

Baidu Consumption Indexes

1x-18

Baidu Inc. gauges consumption by tracking visitors to thousands of shopping centers and other destinations.

Baidu Industrial Employment Indexes

1x-19

Baidu’s employment indexes, based on foot traffic in 2,000 industrial parks around the country, offer a more dynamic reading than the government’s incomplete labor market statistics.

Alibaba Internet Shopping Price Index

1x-110

The Core Internet Shopping Price Index by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. tracks prices of about 100,000 goods and services sold across its platforms, which show average prices down 1 percent in July from a year earlier.

 

New Economy Index

24e5625eb01c417ac11d6daef07e2d74_r

财新智库数联铭品的「新经济指数」衡量「一个经济体中的新经济占比」。出发点是PMI的不足。[1]

 

“统计局和制造业PMI,和我们的新经济指数存在明显的此消彼长。这恰好反映了传统制造业的萎缩和新经济部门占比的扩张同时进行,这张图也同时说明,经济衰退并没有遍及所有行业,一些行业不仅没有萎缩,反而可能在扩张。”

NEI包括1.高端劳动力投入、2.优质资本投入和3.科技与创新一级指标,它们在NEI中的权重分别是40%、35%和25%。

20160304114526600

 

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-32-13

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-33-06

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-33-47

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-34-21

新经济工资主要来自应 届生、51job以及智联招聘等数个招聘网站的招聘信息,即对劳动力的需求工资。

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-36-41

%e3%82%b9%e3%82%af%e3%83%aa%e3%83%bc%e3%83%b3%e3%82%b7%e3%83%a7%e3%83%83%e3%83%88-2016-09-22-23-37-01

NEI 中的投资二级指标更多反映民间投资、生产性投资,从投资指数的变化中我们也能观察到类 似相关性。总体而言,NEI 投资指数和民间投资累计值同比增速走势较为接近,与除房地产和基 础设施投资之外的固定资产投资增速更为接近.

 

[1]

1.PMI这个数字来自3000-4000家固定样本框中的企业。但是,在国家的经济禀赋发生根本变化时,固定样本框对我们了解真实情况会有阻碍作用。想象一下,如果一个传统行业普遍衰退,新企业快速生长,出现了「创造性破坏」,而固定样本框调查始终只统计了增速下降的传统部门,无法囊括快速成长的新增企业

2.PMI指数的计算不需要企业给予每个问题量化的回答,只需要回答“改善”、“持平”、“恶化”三项之一即可,由调查者根据三个回答的分布来决定指数数值。但是,这种方案实际上假定了不同回答企业的同质性,当不同回答的企业的各种真实财务指标来自不同的分布时,PMI的数值和整个经济量化的繁荣或衰退会产生一定的偏差。

3.PMI询问的问题包括产量、订单、存货、出口、库存等12个方面。但是,这些问题大部分为了制造业企业的生产情况而设计,服务业企业对这一系列问题存在着大量漏报的现象。无效的指标被纳入统计,其他有效的指标却不被考虑,这意味着PMI也许并不适合度量制造业行业以外的发展情况。