Sweden and Norway, Q2 GDP Growth

Reader Bruce Hall brings our attention to the performance of Swedish GDP, given the pandemic response they have adopted – comparing against UK, Germany, France and UK. My guess is that he wanted to show the tradeoff between lives lost and growth. Personally, I think the Sweden vs. next-door-neighbor Norway comparison is at least as interesting.

Figure 1: Real GDP growth rates, quarter-on-quarter (not annualized) in %, for Sweden (brown), and for Norway (blue). Source: Sweden, fm FRED, Norway fm tradingeconomics.com. 

Summing Q1 and Q2 growth (not strictly “correct” since growth rates aren’t in logs – please forgive me), it’s -6.8% for Norway, -8.5% for Sweden.

To do this correctly, we’d need to control for counterfactuals. But for now, it is what it is.

18 thoughts on “Sweden and Norway, Q2 GDP Growth

  1. pgl

    As usual Bruce Hall provides a bunch of links with no apparent analysis. I guess his next “contribution” will be to contrast the average height of the Los Angeles Lakers to the average height of the kids at his local preK school.

  2. Moses Herzog

    See, and this whole time I assumed this was how sammy and Bruce Hall made extra money in his free time:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/27/us/elections/deceptive-robocalls-try-to-frighten-detroit-residents-about-voting-by-mail.html

    Isn’t it amazing how year after year, decade after decade the Republicans biggest friend in elections is inducing fear?? Now it’s creating false fears about voting. What does it say about the operation of a political party when their #1 party platform is “Don’t vote or we’ll make your life hell”?? But I guess this makes sense when donald trump’s closest butt buddies are Putin and the G.U. Generalnogo Shtaba and Fancy Bear.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GRU_(G.U.)#United_States

    1. 2slugbaits

      Bruce Hall I don’t understand you comment about Norway. What difference does it make who owns Norway’s oil production? Oil pumped from the sea doesn’t know the difference and the world price is the same regardless. Furthermore, the price of North Sea oil collapsed during the worst of the pandemic, so oil markets hardly shielded Norway from the economic effects of the global pandemic.

      You keep focusing on geographic proximity, as though that’s supposed to be important. It isn’t. What is important is population density. Minnesota is very different from the Dakotas. How many pro sports teams do North and South Dakota support? And Sweden’s population density is very different from Denmark’s.

      Minnesota: 66.6 people per square mile
      North Dakota: 10.7 people per square mile
      South Dakota: also 10.7 people per square mile

      Sweden: 22.6 people per square mile
      Denmark: 354 people per square mile

      My problem with Trump’s handling of the pandemic isn’t that the economy fell significantly in the 2nd Qtr. That was to be expected regardless of who was president. The issue is the bang for the buck. In many of the EU countries they took their lumps early and as a result they were able to get control of the virus after suffering huge losses initially. The initial wave hit France and Italy and Spain much harder than the US. Those countries had no advance warning. But today most EU countries have gotten their death rates down to something well below one per million and almost zero per million. But here we are at the end of August and the US is still stuck at 3 per million and it’s been stuck there for quite a while. The US might have done marginally better in terms of limiting damage to the economy, but we’ve done a godawful job of getting the virus under control. Eventually that’s going to catch up to us in terms of the economy as well. Trump wasn’t the only bad actor here, but he surely deserves more of the blame than any of the other bad actors. A lot of those other bad actors were simply following Trump’s lead as he urged MAGA hatters to “liberate” various states. And his incessant lying hasn’t helped either.

        1. 2slugbaits

          Bruce Hall . The kerfuffle about Sweden or Norway or Netherlands or North Dakota or Minnesota is just a diversion and meaningless.

          Excuse me, but you are the one who invited us to compare Minnesota with the Dakotas. Now you’re telling us that it was all just a meaningless diversion? And yet you want to be taken seriously?

          The key comparison I made was between the U.S. and the E.U. economies.

          Well, assuming you won’t soon be telling us that this too is just a meaningless kerfluffle, what about that comparison? In terms of the economy there’s not a lot of difference. In the 2nd Qtr the EU economy overall might have done a little worse, but that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is that the US is doing much, much, much worse than the EU in terms of getting the coronavirus under control. Care to dispute that? Most of the EU countries have gotten their daily death counts down to a number that’s very close to zero per one million. The US is STILL stuck at three per million. A marginally better 2nd Qtr GDP number at the price of a very much worse continuing daily death rate hardly sounds like a good bargain.

          BTW, you might want to look at what’s happening in the two Dakotas. Those two states have two of the top three fastest growing COVID cases.

          I threw in Sweden because I knew the fish would bite.

          I think your comment came back to bite you.

          1. pgl

            “In the 2nd Qtr the EU economy overall might have done a little worse, but that’s only half the story. The other half of the story is that the US is doing much, much, much worse than the EU in terms of getting the coronavirus under control. Care to dispute that? Most of the EU countries have gotten their daily death counts down to a number that’s very close to zero per one million. The US is STILL stuck at three per million. A marginally better 2nd Qtr GDP number at the price of a very much worse continuing daily death rate hardly sounds like a good bargain.”

            Well said. Notice Brucie did not provide EU GDP – just 3 of the nations. Yea the UK situation was bad as their prime minister started off with the stupid herd approach Brucie recommends. And notice German’s decline was only 10.0% as opposed to the US’s 9.1%. Sounds like Merkel is doing a lot better than Trump.

            Oh wait – a woman leader is doing better than King Donald. Hope the White House does not see this as it will send Trump into another Twitter tantrum.

      1. pgl

        “What difference does it make who owns Norway’s oil production? Oil pumped from the sea doesn’t know the difference and the world price is the same regardless.”

        Exactly right but you have to understand Bruce Hall’s prime directive which of course to spew Trump’s latest BS. Norway’s oil is socialism and of course Joe Biden will make us socialists. Whatever that is supposed to mean.

      2. pgl

        Speaking of state owned oil production:

        https://www.aramco.com/en/who-we-are/overview/our-history#:~:text=In%201973%2C%20the%20Saudi%20government,interest%20in%20Aramco%20to%20100%25.&text=Al%2DNaimi%20becoming%20our%20first,president%20and%20CEO%20in%201988.

        In 1973, the Saudi government bought a 25% interest in Aramco, increasing that interest to 60% the following year. In 1980, the Saudi government increased its interest in Aramco to 100%.

        Aramco is the largest oil producer in the world but I bet Bruce “no relationship to Robert” Hall did not know that.

      3. pgl

        When Bruce Hall mentioned Equinor ASA as Norway’s state owned oil company, something did not sound right. Equinor is the new name for Statoil, which is publicly traded on the NYSE. Now it is true that the government owns 67% of the shares but that is not unusual for this sector.

        I’m looking at its 20-F which is their Annual Report, which I’m sure Bruce Hall did not even realize existed. In 2018, it raked in almost $80 billion in revenue and over $20 billion in operating profits. Yea – falling oil prices lowered its revenues to just over $64 billion and its profits to $9.3 billion. Then again oil prices are a global issue and most oil companies faced the same fate – regardless of who owns them.

        You know reading comments from Bruce Hall is like watching Fox News. If one thinks either one is being straight with you, your mental capacities quickly dissipate.

    2. pgl

      Is this the comment Menzie has not addressed?
      http://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/08/twenty-years-of-gdp-and-other-random-graphs#comments
      Bruce HallAugust 29, 2020 at 7:04 am
      “Ridiculous comparisons? Well, Gee, they’re neighboring states. Couldn’t have anything to do with the makeup of their economies? But, regardless, you focused on Sweden rather than the large economies in Europe more comparable to the U.S. in makeup (not size, let’s get that out of the way).”
      Bruce Hall is truly disgusting liar as it was Bruce Hall not Menzie that brought up Sweden. Of course within his commentary, he made a really stupid comment which I addressed:

      pglAugust 29, 2020 at 5:25 am
      “Norway’s population is about 5.3 million and a large part of the national income is through state owned oil and gas”.
      Two problems with such a short dismissal. That Norway is smaller than say the US has nothing to do with percentage changes. And I guess Bruce “no relationship to Robert” Hall does not know that oil prices plummeted.

      And of course Bruce Hall is ignoring that. Bruce Hall – most dishonest troll ever.

    3. pgl

      Bruce Hall’s little snipe at Menzie might make sense if Sweden’s GDP matched the GDP’s for the other large European nations such as France, Germany, and the UK. Let’s take a look:

      http://statisticstimes.com/economy/european-countries-by-gdp.php

      The big three have GDP levels in excess of $2.7 trillion. Sweden? $556 billion. Norway? $434 billion. Denmark? $352 billion.

      If relative size is the criteria as Bruce Hall now wants to argue, Menzie takes this game, set, and match.

      Of course Bruce Hall wins something – the crown for Stupidest Man Alive!

  3. baffling

    “The kerfuffle about Sweden or Norway or Netherlands or North Dakota or Minnesota is just a diversion and meaningless. I threw in Sweden because I knew the fish would bite.”
    bruce hall finally admits that he is nothing but a troll intent on creating confusion to obscure the reality we now face. this is why i am in favor of banning folks like bruce hall, rick stryker and corev. they hare not interested in any honest discourse. if somebody on the other side of my argument makes an honest and coherent assessment, i will listen to it. but when you intentionally lie and deceive, it is a waste of time and resources, better spent solving the problem.

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