Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Economist Magazine Rubbish

I used to like the Economist. It is starting to get right on my t*ts now though. They seem to be getting more and more journalistic.

For example, in the latest edition they have spouted a bit about public expenditure as a proportion of GDP in 2004/05 and concluded that Southerners were so p*ss*d off they don't get enough of this as a slice of GDP they generate that they voted Tory. Well b*ll*cks. Bad analysis. They produced a graph ranking public expenditure as a proportion of GDP and the northerners get the lions share as it seems BUT!

In a letter to the Economist (will it get published??)...

In the 'Big Divide Widens' you have a very one dimensional analysis of the reasons why southern Englanders voted against the government. Very poor I thought.

The analysis behind this is misleading and poor for several reasons:
  • It is better to look at public expenditure per capita perhaps? this evens out imbalances nicely - London is actually in the top three for this using 2002/03 data from the Treasury and ONS.
  • The South East economy generates much higher GDP than the north - public expenditure as a proportion of GDP might be smaller as a result of this. It might not but you need to analyse the figures for this to be certain. Which you didn't do.
  • GDP is a bit of a meaningless measure of individual wealth, as is public expenditure a measure of the cost burden and benefits on individuals. There are far better measures for all of these. Please try harder next time Economist.
  • There is no official data for 2004/05 GDP or public expenditure. Instead the numbers come CEBR so I assume they are an estimate.

All in all, the Economist is moving ever more towards journalism and away from economics and decent analysis of issues. You guys create nice headlines, but it would be good to see some honest, robust analysis in there.


At 10:51 am, Blogger dearieme said...

Do analyses of these sorts ever include the disproportionate spending in London and the SE on civil servants' salaries, the armed forces, the plethora of consultants, advertisers and such who suck at the public teat, and so on? Or is that one of your points?

At 12:48 pm, Blogger Angry Economist said...

I did think of that point, honest, but didn't get round to looking at the public expenditure figures around that.

I was going to embark on writing a short paper but stopped at the thought of going too bloody far.

Plus - what about the vastly inflated consultancy fees in London and the SE - the likes of the big six or however many it is now. Thinking of them makes me angry I must admit, having seen some really sloppy work... digressing again..


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