[OPE-L:5512] Re: Humbug Aggregate Price-Value Correlations

Alejandro Valle Baeza (valle@servidor.unam.mx)
Tue, 23 Sep 1997 11:09:18 -0700 (PDT)

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On Tue, 23 Sep 1997, Tsoulfidis Lefteris wrote:

> >From the recent exchange of views on whether one should take seriously
> or not the correlation coefficients as summary statistics of the
> closseness of labor values (or prices of production) to market prices,

> My joint (with Th. Maniatis) study for the Greek economy using i/o data
> for the year 1970 finds a MAD in the range of 16-20% and in this range
> the rate of profit and the rate of surplus value estimated either in
> values or prices of production do not differ in any significant way from
> those estimated in market prices. In this study we also estimate the
> correlation coefficients which in no case are 99% but rather in the
> vicinity of 90% (87% to 92%) and they are consistent with the other
> measures of deviation. A result (of consistency of the correlation
> coefficient and the other summary statistics) which is also found in the
> studies of the US economy.Thus the correlation coefficient can be used
> in conjunction with the other summary statistics as an additional
> measure of deviation.

Lefteris I am quite interested on this, could you give us the refrence of
your work abou price-value deviations in Grece?
> One of the most difficult issues that we faced in our study was the
> quality of data and the quality of data gets worse in the case of
> employment statistics, which are the most crucial statistics for the
> verification of the labor theory of value. This is not an issue peculiar
> to the Greek economy but rather it is general and might include even
> the US economy. For example, how is one to account for the self employed
> population and the capitalists engaged in each particular industry? And
> then how does one reduce this labor to simple (abstract) labor time. In
> such a case to be precise you need labor hours and the data are hard to
> come by for all economies.

I agree with Lefteris this. Self employment is a very important problem in
Mexico too, such figure is quite significant. Oficial figures does
not give information on this, by example "surplus of operation" in
National Accounts includes profit and self employment income as well.

> Under these limitations (and the list could expand) when one finds even
> a 20 to 25 percent average deviation of values from market prices to my
> view this demonstrates the strength of the theory which (despite the
> lack of adequate data) nevertheless shows that the variations in market
> prices are within well specified bounds, narrow as in the case of the US
> and former Yugoslavia relative narrow as in the case of Italy, Greece
> and England. In the Case of Mexico, however, it really is hard to
> accept an 80 0eviation as verification of the LTV. I would be curious
> to hear about the quality of the employment data of the studies on
> Mexico and England.

The correlataion coeficient for Mexico in 1980 is about 0.83 without
reduction from complex to simple labor using wages and about 0.95 with
such reduction. The MAD for the same year is about 80%. The previous
figures does not consider productive labor and fixed capital problems.
This results, maybe, point out that correlation coeficient is not good
because of spurious correlation. I am not sure that 80% means that MTV
does not hold because there are many theoretical problems still unsolved,
as Lefteris pointed out. One important explanation for the impresive
magnitude of the MAD in Mexico is oil rent: the production cost is 2-3 dol.
and the selling price is 15-16 $ per barrel. Hence there is a good reason
for high value price deviation in the Mexican economy. In fact, this is
the highest value-price deviation. I am sitll working on this.

Un saludo

Alejandro Valle

> In solidarity
> Lefteris Tsoulfidis