Economic Indicators and Various Reports On It- GDP, FD, EODB, WIR etc

Shapes of Economic Recovery


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Various graphs and their analysis

Mains level : Economic recovery amid coronavirus pandemic

Predicting recovery graphs, economists have added cool shapes for our information.

The types of graphs mentioned here are the possible indicators of macro-economic recovery. They are the potential hotspots for a prelim question. UPSC can puzzle you with the type of graphs and associated macroeconomic situation.

Try to mirror! How would our economy grow?!

Types of graphs

The shape of economic recovery is determined by both the speed and direction of GDP prints. This depends on multiple factors including fiscal and monetary measures, consumer incomes and sentiment.

  • The best scenario is a V-shaped recovery in which the economy quickly recoups lost ground and gets back to the normal growth trend-line.
  • A pipe graph is a V graph with a longer tail — the recovery isn’t one that happens quickly over one quarter but over two-three quarters.
  • The pipe is different from the Swoosh because in the latter the economy bears the pain for longer.
  • A Zshaped recovery is when a post-lockdown spending surge is so fierce that growth is lifted above the trendline and then after a party settles down to trend. The Z-shaped recovery is the most-optimistic scenario in which the economy quickly rises like a phoenix after a crash.
  • A U-shaped recovery — resembling a bathtub — is a scenario in which the economy, after falling, struggles and muddles around a low growth rate for some time, before rising gradually to usual levels.
  • A W-shaped recovery is a dangerous creature — growth falls and rises, but falls again before recovering yet again, thus forming a W-like chart. The double-dip depicted by a W-shaped recovery is what some economists are predicting if the second wave of COVID comes along and the initial rebound flatters to deceive.
  • The L-shaped recovery is the worst-case scenario, in which growth after falling, stagnates at low levels and does not recover for a long, long time.
  • Then, there is the J-shaped recovery, a somewhat unrealistic scenario, in which growth rises sharply from the lows much higher than the trend-line and stays there.
  • There is also the Swoosh shaped recovery, similar to the Nike logo — in between the V-shape and the U-shape. Here, after falling, growth starts recovering quickly but then, slowed down by obstacles, moves gradually back to the trend-line.
  • Finally, say hello to the Inverted square root shaped In this, there could a rebound from the bottom, the growth slows and settles a step-down.

Why is it important for India?

  • The Indian economy was slowing down even before COVID hit, and the trouble has now been amplified manifold because of the lockdowns.
  • Experts predict a fall of up to 5 per cent in the GDP in FY-21.
  • This is clearly a crisis situation, and our getting out of the hole will depend a great deal on the shape of the economic recovery that will hopefully follow.
  • A Z- or at least V-shaped recovery would be the most preferable. If not, we should at least have a U-shaped recovery or a Swoosh to get back on our feet in a couple of years.
  • A W-shape will bring in much pain before the eventual gain, while an L-shape or the Inverted-square root will make a wreck of the growth train.
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