Of course, it’s in the comments, not the blog. And of course Spud doesn’t grasp it either:
August 12 2020 at 12:40 pm
Yes the methods are meant to be similar but the methods around government output really are not similar. As government output is not sold on the market nearly all countries simply measure government output and hence government contribution to gdp as input = output. ONS has for the last decade or more not been doing this. Instead they use direct measures of output in certain areas of government including education. Looking at number of children educated, exam results etc. In the good times these does not impact international comparability as both input=output and direct measures give broadly the same results. However if in a pandemic you close all the schools, keep all the teachers employed then the direct measures are going to fall off a cliff whilst input=output does not change.
So where other countries have simply said the the inputs (wages of teachers primarily) have remained constant and therefore there is no decrease in output. ONS have based their numbers on surveys of reported hours worked by teachers and number of children actually attending school.
Despite the best efforts of teachers and schools it is clearly the case that the level and quality of education and therefore education output has dropped over the past months. ONS are to the best of knowledge the only national statistics institute to have attempted to record this in their figures. A 30% decrease in education output. A reward to all those parents who have struggled with homeschooling is that the ONS correctly say (based on current rules) that homeschooling is household production and therefore outside the production boundary. That time and effort is not in gdp.
Here is the ONS article concerning it all.
There is a fascinating story to write about this. To see almost the entire academic economic profession and all economics journalists completely fail to spot it is an inditement of them all. And only further confirms that the profession has no idea about the data they use.
Richard Murphy says:
August 12 2020 at 1:41 pm
And, politely, that’s been a poor measure then
Or, alternatively, a good one
It either shows that the government did not react appropriately to keep public services going
Or it utterly fails to reflect the considerable effort made by many to ensure that they were – which I have witnessed, in education for example