Ny bok: Allt du behöver veta om skatter

Nu är min bok ute! I Allt du behöver veta om skatter har jag sammanfattat den nationalekonomiska skatteforskningen för en bredare allmänhet...

24 juni 2009

FAO svarar: Vi har ändrat definition

Angående FN:s livsmedels- och jordbruksorganisation FAO:s påstående att antalet hungrande är större än någonsin letade jag fram några uppskattningar (även publicerade av Johan Norberg) som var äldre än de uppgifter för perioden sedan 1970 som FAO presenterade. De visade ett större antal hungrande för 50–70 år sedan än i dag.

Jag har varit i kontakt med en ekonom på FAO i Rom. Så här svarade han på en inledande fråga om vilken period FAO syftade på när de menar att antalet hungrande är större än någonsin:
FAO only has data from 1970 forwards, and even then only for particular three year periods. So strictly speaking our answer only applies to 1970 onwards. Given that the Green Revolution had only just started to take hold in 1970, however, we think it probable that the previous peak in the number of undernourished (not the proportion) was reached sometime between 1965 and 1970 as population was still growing rapidly at that time. In other words, the number of undernourished was probably steadily increasing until about 1970, at which point it began to decline. Since the numbers in 2009 are projected to be greater than those in 1970 by about 140 million, we feel it is likely that the 2009 projection represents the highest level ever.
Angående de äldre siffror jag presenterade hävdade han att de använder en annan metodologi och att siffrorna inte är jämförbara:
I read through the paper yesterday. We have indeed changed our definition, and substantially. The main differences are the following:

1. The calorie cutoff has changed substantially from the first three World Food Surveys. We now use calorie cutoffs that vary by country depending on the age and sex composition of the population. For example, a country with lots of children but relatively fewer adults will have lower calorie needs than a country where a relatively larger share of people are working age adults.

2. We now use a measure of the distribution of calories within a country that allows us to estimate a percentage undenourished for each country. In the earlier surveys, counting the hungry was done by counting the number of people who lived in countries that on average didn't have enough calories.

3. Our current numbers refer only to undernourishment, not undernourishment plus malnourishment.

Thus, the reported estimates for the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s are not comparable to the numbers we produce today.
Men FAO erkänner alltså att deras uttalande i strikt mening endast gäller för perioden 1970–2009 och att slutsatserna för tidigare år bygger på kvalificerade gissningar.

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