Koliko rasti lahko Grčiji prinesejo strukturne reforme?

Zelo malo. Spet se sklicujem na Dietza Vollratha, ki lepo z mehansko formulo (glejte spodaj) pokaže, da tudi če bi Grčija v celoti prevzela ves nemški institucionalni aparat, kulturo, delovno etiko in tehnologijo ter podvojila potencialni BDP (da bi bil potencialni BDP per capita enak nemškemu !), bi iz tega še vedno iztisnila maksimalno zgolj 4% rast. Toda ne Grčija in ne katera druga država tega seveda ne more narediti. Ne da se od danes do jutri podvojiti potencialnega BDP, ampak so zato potrebna desetletja. Leta so potrebna, da denimo strukturna reforma glede regulacije poklicev začne dajati učinke, saj morajo vmes diplomirati generacije dijakov ali študentov, ti pa nato dodajo vsak po malenkost k višji rasti. Ampak to so malenkosti. Tudi Nemčija in ostale razvite države, ki se že desetletja mučijo z različnimi strukturnimi reformami, zaradi tega ne rastejo dramatično hitreje – denimo po 4%, 5% ali 6%. Ne, pač pa se prebijajo z dokaj nizko rastjo med 1% in 2%. Le v primeru investicijskega buma ali buma v zasebni potrošnji se približajo 3% rasti.

Zato danes od Grčije ne more nihče pričakovati, da bo iz strukturnih reform potegnila hitrejšo rast. Morda za malenkost, za mišjo dlako na kratek rok. Toda edini način, da Grčija resnično začne rasti (in postane sposobna zagotavljati dovolj visok primarni presežek v proračunu, da bo lahko odplačevala obresti), je, da nekdo začne v Grčiji masovno investirati. Bodisi mednarodna skupnost, bodisi Junckerjev sklad, bodisi da ji dovolijo, da sama investira v infrastrukturne projekte).

Najboljši način za pospešitev rasti v Grčiji je, kot že dolgo govorim, ustanovitev novega Marshallovega načrta za Grčijo, v katerega bi države upnice prispevale svojo razvojno pomoč (namesto finančne pomoči, ki jo dajejo zdaj in ki gre takoj nazaj za poplačilo dolgov in obresti upnicam). Iz tega sklada, ki bi ga vodili tuji menedžerji in bi ga nadzoroval odbor upnikov, bi nepovratno financirali velike infrastrukturne projekte ali dajali ugodne kredite za podjetniške naložbe. To je edini način, da Grčija začne solidno rasti in da kdaj povrne vsaj dobršen del svojih dolgov. Vse ostalo je zgolj navadno nakladanje, manipuliranje ali samozavajanje.

It is this same logic that is at play in Greece, by the way. Same convergence equation, same {\lambda}. What’s different? Greece’s trend growth in GDP is probably more like {g = 0.02}, given relatively slow (and probably negative) population growth. Greek GDP right now is about 180 billion euro. What are the possibilities of massive structural reforms, such as those demanded by Germany, generating rapid growth in Greece?

Let’s assume that the Greeks have completely taken the German structural reforms to heart. So much so that Greece simply adopts the entire German legal system, culture, and technology in one giant gulp. This doubles Greek potential GDP to 360 billion euro, which would imply that Greek GDP per capita would be roughly equal to that of Germany.

These sweeping structural reforms will generate growth of

\displaystyle  Growth = (1.02)\left[.02 \frac{360}{180} + .98\right] - 1 = 0.0404 \ \ \ \ \ (4)

or 4% growth in GDP in the first year after reforms. Thereafter, growth will continue to come in below 4% as Greece converges to its new Teutonic economic bliss point.

I know very little about the Greek crisis. I know very little about the terms of the deal that Greece signed. But my limited reading tells me that this is not the kind of growth that will be sufficient for them to crawl out of the hole they find themselves in.

Massive structural reforms are not capable of generating immediate short-run jumps in growth rates in the U.S., Greece, or any other relatively developed economy. They play out over long periods of time, and the empirics we have suggest that by long periods we mean decades and decades of slightly above average growth. Ask the Germans. They’ve been fiddling around with structural labor market reforms since the 1980’s, and when exactly were they able to keep up sustained GDP growth of 5 or 6%?

The difference with infrastructure spending is that it does not nibble around the edges or play with marginal decisions. It dumps a bunch of new spending into the economy. And that is the only way to juice the growth rate appreciably in the short run. Structural reforms will raise GDP, and in the long run may raise GDP by far more than immediate infrastructure spending. But that increase in GDP will take decades, and the change in growth will be barely noticeable. You want demonstrably faster growth right now? Then be prepared to spend lots of money right now.

In the Greek situation, the implication is that without some kind of boost to spending now, they are unlikely to ever grow fast enough to ever get out of this hole they are in. If the Germans and EU are serious about keeping Greece in the eurozone and refusing to write down the debt, then they should seriously consider investing heavily and immediately in Greece. Structural reforms, even if implemented with perfection, are highly unlikely to be sufficient. The Greeks don’t have time to wait for the glaciers of structural reform to scrub the economy clean. If the Greeks aren’t allowed to do any stimulus spending, then the EU should do the stimulus spending for them. It is probably the only way that everyone gets what they want.

Vir: Dietz Vollrath

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