Jeff Frankel has a terrific piece here on the unsatisfactory way in which recessions and recoveries are called in Europe.One Recession or Many? Double-Dip Downturns in Europe, por Jeff Frankel (o artigo acima referido):
The current European definition of a recession (two successive quarters of declining GDP) is particularly unsuitable in Ireland, given its dodgy and volatile GDP statistics — looking at a broader range of indicators over a longer period of time would surely make more sense here.
There is an additional cost to the two-quarter rule of thumb in the Irish and Eurozone context: it implies that Ireland is periodically proclaimed to be out of recession. This then allows Eurozone politicians and central bankers to defend the status quo monetary and fiscal policies prolonging the economic crisis in Ireland and elsewhere. (And to express “surprise” when Ireland tips into recession “again”, despite its model pupil status.)
The recent release of a revised set of GDP statistics by Britain’s Office for National Statistics showed that growth had not quite, as previously thought, been negative for two consecutive quarters in the winter of 2011-12. The point, as it was reported, was that a UK recession (a second dip after the Great Recession of 2008-09) was now erased from the history books — and that the Conservative government would take a bit of satisfaction from this fact. But it should not. (...)
The right question is not whether there have been double or triple dips; the question is whether it has been the same one big recession all along. As the British know all too well, their economy since the low-point of mid-2009 has not yet climbed even halfway out of the hole that it fell into in 2008: GDP (Gross Domestic Product, which is aggregate national output) is still almost 4% below its previous peak, as the first graph shows. If the criteria for determining recessions in European countries were similar to those used in the United States, the Great Recession would probably not have been declared over in 2009 in the first place.
Recent reports that Ireland entered a new recession in early 2013 would also read differently if American criteria were applied. Irish GDP since 2009 has not yet recovered more than half of the ground it lost between the peak of late-2007 and the bottom two years later. Following US methods, the end would not yet have been declared to the initial big recession in Ireland. As it is, a sequence of tentative mini-recoveries have been heralded, only to give way to “double-dips.”
Similarly, it was recently reported that Finland had entered its third recession since the global financial crisis. But the second recession (two negative quarters that were reported for 2009 Q4 and 2010 Q1) would be better described as a continuation of the first.
Worse, Italy under U.S. standards would clearly be treated as having been in the same horrific five-year recession ever since the shock of the global financial crisis: the recovery in 2010-11 was so tepid that the level of Italian economic output had barely risen one-third the way off the floor, before a new downturn set in during 2012. And the two downturns have been severe: Italy’s GDP is now about 8% below the level of 2008, as the graph shows.