The author has been described by News Ltd as an "iconoclast", "Svengali", a pollie's "economist muse", and "pungently accurate". Fairfax says he is a "Renaissance man" and "one of Australia’s most respected analysts." Stephen Koukoulas concludes that he is "85% right", and "would make a great Opposition leader." Terry McCrann claims the author thinks "‘nuance’ is a trendy village in the south of France", but can be "scintillating" when he thinks "clearly". The ACTU reckons he’s "an enigma wrapped in a Bloomberg terminal, wrapped in some apparently well-honed abs."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AFR's Alan Mitchell gets wage-price spiral risks right

From the AFR:

"[A]s economist Barry Hughes has argued, 4 per cent wages growth is uncomfortably high when labour productivity growth has slowed to an annual rate of about 1 per cent. Together they imply an annual increase in unit labour costs of about 3 per cent – 0.5 percentage points above the RBA’s effective inflation target. Hughes re-estimates the line in the sand – the wage growth consistent with stable profit margins – at about 3.5 per cent. According to the wage price index data, two-thirds of industries have now reached or gone beyond Hughes’s 3.5 per cent line in the sand. Hughes is sceptical about that, arguing that the advance in private-sector wage growth is on too wide a front for a system based on decentralised wage bargaining."