Monday, March 16, 2009

The Economist's Portrayal of CEE

(from The Economist print edition, February 12, 2009)

"A picture worth 163 words

SIR – Given your newspaper’s determination to accompany any article on social or political affairs in eastern Europe with a photograph of the apparently ubiquitous old lady with a shawl wrapped over her head, I was delighted to find that your recent piece on the gas crisis in the region (“Gasping for gas”, January 17th) carried a picture representative of another important demographic group: the dentally challenged villager. My excitement was short-lived, however, as just a week later it was back to the well-wrapped old lady (“To the barricades”, January 24th). One gets the impression from your coverage of elections that every polling station east of the Danube is populated solely by such characters.

To avoid creating any misleading stereotypes, may I suggest that you widen your range of imagery to better represent east Europeans. Roma using horse-drawn carts on main roads, elderly veterans in Soviet-style uniforms and furry hats and vodka-soaked vagrants would broaden the picture.

Daniel Tilles
Cracow, Poland"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Average Wages under Exchange Rate Pressure

Average monthly wages in Visegrád Four (V4) countries expressed in terms of Euro values suffered from exchange rate devaluation during the last quarter of 2008. Yet, only Polish wages decreased in Euro-terms compared to the previous quarter. Slovakia, a fresh member of the Eurozone, did not experience an exchange rate depreciation thanks to its set conversion rate. The country's average Euro wage has doubled during the last four years. (More information in updated TREND Analyses' macropresentation.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

CEE is not a Monolithic Region

Say the Czechs in The Prague Post. The article cites loan-to-deposit ratios, which are around 80% in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but 130% in Romania and as much as 200% in Estonia. In addition, Erste group maintains that the region is less exposed to the credit crisis than the numbers of Bank for International Settlements say (BIS mentions Western exposure of $1.4 trillion).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Research Papers by Ľuboš Pástor

Possibly the most prominent Slovak economic scholar, Prof. Ľuboš Pástor from the University of Chicago, is currently working on two projects included in recent NBER working papers. One of them deals with the process of learning in financial markets, and will be soon reviewed for this blog by our colleague František Lipták. The other tries to answer the question of whether stock prices are really less volatile in the long run.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hungarian Pleas for Aid Went Unheard by the EU

Slovak cartoonist Martin Šútovec nicely immortalized the occasion in his recent caricature. Hungarian portal Magyar Hírlap took the picture and translated it to Hungarian. The cartoon stars Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, famous for stressing the value of solidarity, and Hungarian leader Ferenc Gyurcsány. Here it is:English translation: "Solidarity? Are you nuts?!?"