Who Gets Hurt In A Crisis?

There’s interesting research waiting to be done explaining just why some countries have been hit harder by the global financial crisis than others. For now, here’s an interesting observation from my former boss at the Reserve Bank of Australia, Glenn Stevens:


The lesson: the greater your involvement in producing high-value goods, the harder the fall. Perhaps macroeconomic stability comes despite GM, rather than because of it.

(HT: Peter Martin)


The lesson: correlation does not equal causation. Or, hidden third variables are for suckers.


should there be a recovery, should we seen the same chart without the negative sign?

proving out "nothing ventured nothing gained"?


Can it be that, when making purchasing decisions, rational people (not Homo Economicus) decide based on necessity first and that the "Medium and High-Tech Manufacturing" goods come in second to say food and fuel? I can do without a new cell phone, for example.


You exclude China, and you think this proves something about high value goods?
Really, economists sometimes are more like con men than anything else. Sorry, your fantasy world without China ain't worth a bucket of spit.

Eric M. Jones

I am highly suspicious when a "selected group" of countries is shown on a graph.

How would the addition of China, Brazil, Russia, India, Poland, etc. change what the authors are trying to prove?

Why is the stark trend line so far from the data? The Stat. Dev. here seems huge.

I don't know guys, this seem a little less than it first appears.

my former boss at the Reserve Bank of Australia,

Since Australia is only advanced country not now in recession, we should outsource our Fed to your old boss. Democrat's campaign platform was for change -- right? Go for it Democrats.


The lesson: some economists have a shocking grasp of statistics.


June 5th

At first glance, it seemed an unexpected result.
But on second thought, it makes sense.
Since high-tech manufacturing goods tends to be expensive, and usually some of them are not indispensable, it means that these goods are more income-elastic than staples.
( One can live withoug an MP3 player, but not without bread. )
Income decreased together with GDP.
The sales of those goods are likely to have been also decreased.

June 5th

I also suppose that not only the proportion of medium- and high-tech manufacturing goods, but also the degree about "how high" their technologies are, have some correlation with how much the sales decreased, and how much the corresponding country's economy hurt.


Australia's policy to deal with the recession has been exactly the same as the US - spend early and spend big. The fact that it appears to be working may indicate that the Dems are on the right path.

Keynes was right? Perhaps.

Olafur Margeirsson

Ehemm... Thirlwall's Law anyone? This is exactly what it says will happen right? The economies with the highest income elasticity of exports relative to the income elasticity of imports will feel the pain the most if the world GDP contracts. Likewise, they will prosper the most if world GDP expands. This is a characteristic of high-tech exporting countries (Taiwan, Thailand...).

Or am I getting it all wrong?

Jim Glass

"High tech" does not equal "high value".

Many, many, high value goods have no high-tech to them.

And high-tech goods tend to rapidly decline in price, lose value, as they become commodities. Last year's chips, circuit boards, etc., which are this year's big commodity sellers.

If instead of saying "exporters of high-value goods suffer" the claim was "exporters of technological commodities (circuit boards, dvd readers, etc.) suffer as the commodities plunge in price with slumping demand", it would make more sense to me.

Also, as Bryan Caplan points out, it could just be that those four Asian economies are having a hard time for a regional reason of their own. Knock them off the chart and it's pretty much a vertical line, no matter what the value of a nation's exports.


It's good to be (Australia) at the top of the pack, but we have incurred a debt that our children will be paying off, the govt has backed off from enviromental reform, etc.

And yeah, where are China & India?


This is kinda apparent that the elasticity of high technological products is higher, these are durable goods. The disposable income of the americans decreased dramtically in the last 10 months resulted in significant slump in import figure particularly with countries which produce these durable goods. Their GDP growth has positive correlation with their export figure because of their export oriented economic model.


China is not plotted because they do not report report quarterly figures as indicated in the report that the graph was extracted from.