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Make Politicians Happy - Manipulate Statistics
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Make Politicians Happy - Manipulate Statistics

Regarding the latest contribution from AT, DK, EE, FI, FR, DE, IT, LT, LV, NL, SE and UK delegations in Council regarding content of upcoming Staff Regulations review, the Member States do of course have the right to propose changes...but the MS politicians should not base a technical decision on how to measure something on the outcomes of simulation calculations.

Instead they should look at how the principles of how the measurement is constructed. Otherwise they might end up getting something they did not expect.

First of all, the EU system isn't some sort of isolated automatic system: it gives no more and no less than what Member State civil servants get.

Addition of new member states to the current sample (or expansion to whole EU27, or why not a reduction to just BE and LU?) is really a discussion about how to define what the system should measure. If we don't take the whole EU27 then what basis should we choose?

North/South/East/West? Language? Just saying "I don't like the Poles" or "I do like the Greeks" verges on racism, even if it is couched in terms of "including them makes the trend different".

Member States clearly do not want to understand that the BII, Brussels International Index, does nothing more than measure inflation in Brussels. It isn't a second adjustment on top of anything else. It is no different to producing a consumer price index for different groups of the national population (eg. by income quintile, or by age, or by city).

Expatriates are known to have different spending pattern from the national average population, so it is correct to use a specific weighting pattern. Even if in practice it doesn't actually make much difference (calculations seem to suggest that HICP evolution 2003-2010 would actually have been higher than BII evolution).

Member States are probably right that a simple combination of BE HICP with LU HICP to create a BELU index is not a good technical solution - but the idea of treating Brussels and Luxembourg as a single region is not in itself necessarily wrong.

It just depends what you want to measure. Member States shouldn't reject the idea just because it would give a higher evolution than the BII.

More widely, if Member States could agree on what they want the system to measure, statisticians can surely tell them how to do it properly.

- eg. If they want to change the established principle of parallel evolution of purchasing power with national civil servants? Then provided the ECJ approves the change to legitimate expectations, various ways can be suggested to do it...

- eg. If they want to continue to guarantee equivalence of purchasing power between all duty stations, advice can surely be given on how that should happen correctly.

Which would probably not involve scrapping the use of spatial price surveys to instead just use HICP extrapolation.

But it all depends on the choice: what do Member States want the system to do. And don't just say "pay them less". That smacks of simple jealousy.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

S olidarity with those who work for their money
I ndependence from those who don't
D emocracy in all decisions taken by groups of sane, adult humans

SID - Solidarity, Independence, Democracy is an independent Trade Union of all EU Institutions employees (Je souhaite adhérer au SID…)

Created by: admin last modification: Wednesday 07 of December, 2011 [17:58:59 UTC] by admin

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