In principle, the answer to this question should be yes. Rouhani’s administration professes to be pro-market and is eager to shift resources from wasteful consumption to economic growth. What better way to remove energy subsidies and use the proceeds to fund the cash-starved development budget? (more…)
A post on Iran’s GDP may seem very wonkish, but it is actually very relevant to two important political debates. One is the current debate in the US about Iran’s economic prospects and the other is the never ending debate in Iran about the economic cost of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Neither seem to be well informed with the facts. (more…)
It is a good sign that people in Iran are paying increasing attention to the accuracy of government data. Before this they used to dismiss all data, especially inflation, as propaganda (see my previous posts on inflation here and here). The fact that an announcement about which government agency is authorized to release economic statistics became news last week is a sign that more people take such data seriously, as they should.
You have probably read or heard very knowledgeable people talk about the $800 billion of oil revenues earned by the Ahmadinejad administration (for example, Iran’s Economy minister quoted in the Guardian here and Robin Wright speaking on NPR’s Diane Rehm show here), and that this is more than all the revenues earned from oil in the preceding 100 years. Well, don’t believe them! Repeating things frequently makes them sound more true but does not make them so. Yes, the oil windfall of 2005-2012 was larger than all the revenues earned in the preceding century, but this is not true in terms of real dollars and therefore not really true. (more…)
This week I published this oped in the UAE newspaper, The National. Referring to Rouhani’s famous refrain that as the centrifuges turn so should the wheels of the economy, I asked if “he can take much of the turning to production lines rather than shopping malls.” I would like to expand on that question here. (more…)
This is a short followup note to my previous post which compared the proposed budget for next year with the budget bill for the current one. I was looking for a table that included the numbers for basic expenditure items that would reveal the budget priorities for next year and could not find one in English, so I decided to post one here. Then I found an excuse to grumble about lack of attention to long term development priorities, such as education, which have been eclipsed by all the talk about inflation as enemy number one and the poor climate for business as the enemy number two. (more…)
Rouhani’s budget for the current year (1393 =2014/2015) was a tight one, and for good reason because he inherited a macroeconomy in a shambles with a high rate of inflation. Despite the contractionary budget, this year the economy appears to be squeezing a small positive growth rate (4.6% in the first quarter). If Rouhani’s promise of a robust economic recovery is to turn from hope into reality, the just released Budget Bill for 1394 (2015/2016) has few indications. (more…)
A while back a friend asked me if the Palma ratio — the ratio of the incomes of the top 10% to the bottom 40% — is a good indicator of inequality in Iran. I waited until I had the data for 1392 (2013/2014) to answer his question. In the meantime, I came across a banner headline in the economics newspaper, Taadol, which read something to this effect: “Subsidy reform deepens inequality.” The claim itself was nothing new, but the reported Gini indices were: I had not seen anyone report Gini coefficients as high as 0.53 for the post-revolution Iran, and it turns out that they do not exist.
The recent welcome slowdown of inflation in Iran, like its devastating acceleration four years ago, has something to do with global influences that are well beyond Iran’s control. The credit in the current slowdown in inflation goes in large part to Rouhani’s economic team but what Iran’s economy minister, Mr. Tayyebnia, has called a “miracle”, has earthly reasons that are not even under the control of Iranian policy makers. Not realizing these influences can be misleading. (more…)
In my last post I examined if the quarterly growth in the GDP using data released by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) that indicated a robust economic recovery during spring 2014. As promised, I will now review the most recent employment figures released by the Statistical Center of Iran (SCI). (more…)