By Valentina Romei, from the FT’s statistics team
Economic commentators have often expressed concerns that economic growth in China is unbalanced, with an investment-driven model that will not be sustainable in the future unless it is shifted toward a more consumption driven model. Read more
Just over half of the world’s female population aged 15 to 64 is in employment, compared to more than 8 out of 10 men. But the proportion of economically active women has declined over the last 20 years. This offers us little reason to celebrate today, International Women’s Day.
Despite falling female participation levels, global GDP per capita has risen by more than 30 per cent in the past 20 years, suggesting that economic wealth is not necessarily linked to increasing levels of female economic activity. Read more
Following on from 10 charts (part 1), which included the first five challenges facing the next Italian government, here are the next five as we head towards Italy’s general election.
Corruption is a plight for the country that together with bureaucracy prevents an efficient allocation of resources and discourages investment. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Italy 72nd out of 182 countries evaluated in 2012, three positions lower than the previous year. The perception of corruption of Italians is particularly high for the political system, which is one of the main reasons for the country’s political instability and poor governability.
Italian general elections on February 24 and 25 will determine the members of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate, the two houses of its parliament. This new parliament will face various structural factors behind the country’s weak performance.
Here is the first instalment of the country’s top challenges in 10 charts – another five are set to follow later in the week, so stay tuned.
1) Stagnant economy in the past decade
The Italian gross domestic product is lower than at the beginning of 2001 and the decline does not show signs of reversing. Even Spain and Greece with their deep economic contraction during the crisis are better off than at their levels at the start of the last decade thanks to their strong growth performance before 2008. Italy had sluggish growth even in the first half of the past decade and the additional output that has been created was totally wiped out with the crisis.
The number of self-employed in the UK rose by 60 per cent between 2011 and 2012 and now accounts for about 14 per cent of all people in employment.
This is a striking contrast with the rest of the OECD countries where the proportion of self-employed is generally declining. In 2011, there were between 2 and 5 percentage points fewer self-employed in South Korea, Turkey, Portugal, Japan and Italy than six years before. Most of the other OECD countries reduced their proportion of self-employed even if more slowly. Read more
Berlusconi, the billionaire former Italian prime minister pledged to reimburse Italians €4bn for an unpopular property tax. This is probably the first time he has promised to give money back, but it is definitely not the first time he has pledged to cut taxes.
Berlusconi lavished promises of tax cuts periodically throughout the past decade, but he failed to translate them into reality, even when he was in power from 2001 to 2006 and again from 2008 to the end of 2011.
In fact, according to the OECD the average income tax rate increased in Italy across all types of households, whereas it was reduced in most other OECD countries. Read more