Economics

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    Governments play a key role in our happiness, but how do we get them to care?

Governments play a key role in our happiness, but how do we get them to care?

The Global Happiness Council, which I am honoured to direct on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, has just issued the first Global Happiness Policy Report (GHPR) as a companion volume to the annual World Happiness Report (co-edited by John Helliwell, Richard Layard, and me). The purpose of the GHPR is to help governments to promote happiness by showcasing […]

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    A new definition of economic democracy – and what it means for inequality

A new definition of economic democracy – and what it means for inequality

There is growing concern about the increased alienation felt by many people in response to processes of globalisation, the rejection of mainstream policy positions – as evidenced by the Brexit vote – but also of the rise of far-right extremism across the world more generally. At root, these developments reflect a loss of economic control and power experienced by many over their lives, and a sense of marginalisation from […]

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    Why a customs union is key for multinationals to stay in the UK

Why a customs union is key for multinationals to stay in the UK

Some members of Theresa May’s Cabinet are pushing for a “soft” Brexit, which would allow remaining close to the EU’s single market and customs union. Others favour a “hard” Brexit and aim to strike a trade deal similar to CETA, the agreement concluded between the EU and Canada. Multinational corporations with plants in the UK favour a soft Brexit. […]

Zimbabwe in 2018: steering a difficult path to recovery

As throngs poured into the streets of Harare in seeming euphoria following the November 2017 military takeover of power from Robert Mugabe, there was little, if any, consensus as to whether the unfolding events constituted a coup or not. The prospect of a general election in 2018 offers hope that the residual sky-high optimism could finally find vent in […]

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    When interest rates hit the zero lower bound: a discussion on uncertainty

When interest rates hit the zero lower bound: a discussion on uncertainty

In December 2008, the financial crisis and the subsequent recession compelled the Federal Reserve to take unprecedented action to reduce the federal funds rate to its zero lower bound (ZLB). Hitting the ZLB was important because the Fed lost its ability to respond to negative economic events with its traditional policy tool. Recent research has shown that the ZLB […]

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    Online commerce allows regional economies to depend less on capital cities

Online commerce allows regional economies to depend less on capital cities

The eBay Public Policy Lab has together with a team of economists at Sidley Austin LLP built up a suite of research reports uncovering how the internet, technology and online platforms expand economic opportunities also to those who have been largely left out. We have shown that small firms in advanced and emerging economies are equally capable of leveraging […]

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    The educational and economic value of embracing people’s mother tongues

The educational and economic value of embracing people’s mother tongues

In Uganda, only 32 per cent of school children are literate in their mother tongue. They grow up in one of the country’s 65 ethnic tribes, each of which has its own language. But from their fourth year at primary school they are taught in the country’s official language, English. Yet research shows that to achieve their full potential […]

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    Investing in a university diploma in Britain is still worth the cost

Investing in a university diploma in Britain is still worth the cost

In a recent article in The Political Quarterly Alan Ware claimed that for most students, higher education was not worth the cost. He claimed that there is no “need” for higher education, that higher education does not result in higher earnings, higher education does not impart useful skills, nor does it facilitate social mobility. In a recent article in The Political Quarterly I evaluated Ware’s claims and […]

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    In Michael Gove’s agricultural utopia, Britain would ‘compete at the top’ after Brexit

In Michael Gove’s agricultural utopia, Britain would ‘compete at the top’ after Brexit

Michael Gove is a man who knows when to pick a fight, and when to make friends. Unlike his tenure in the Department for Education when he took on the ‘vested interests’ of the teachers’ unions and others to implement radical reforms to the education system, his time as Environment Secretary so far has been characterised by a surprisingly […]

Hong Kong’s once-vibrant economy has “gone sideways”

For all its political resonance, the British handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997 merely ratified a long-standing economic reality. Since the late 1970s, when the People’s Republic began its transformation to a market-based system, Hong Kong’s economy has been deeply intertwined with the mainland. As China’s manufacturing muscle powered the country into the front rank of the […]

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    The wage that’s not for living: the problem with the “National Living Wage”

The wage that’s not for living: the problem with the “National Living Wage”

The British government has spent the past year heralding the latest increase in the rate of the “National Living Wage”, set at £7.50 an hour as of the 1st of April 2017, arguing that it will both increase the spending power of low-paid workers as well as rescuing millions from the effects of in-work poverty. However, while efforts to […]

February 1st, 2018|Calum Carson, Economics|1 Comment|
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    Bad choice design can be particularly harmful for less educated individuals

Bad choice design can be particularly harmful for less educated individuals

Imagine you receive a phone call from someone who says they represent your bank. You are eligible to receive some free gifts, they say: gas coupons, airline savings vouchers, hotel accommodations. To get these free gifts, you simply need to verify your bank account number: they read the first nine digits and you just need to read the rest […]

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    Labour market institutions still matter in the knowledge economy

Labour market institutions still matter in the knowledge economy

The last forty years have seen a pervasive rise in income inequality across the advanced democracies of Western Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region. This has occurred alongside major structural change, which has seen these economies transition from Fordism – an economic system built around the mass production and consumption of standardised consumer goods, supported by collective bargaining, […]

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    Financial crises, corporate scandals and blind spots: who is responsible?

Financial crises, corporate scandals and blind spots: who is responsible?

According to the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the main causes of the financial crisis of 2007-2009 were failures of corporate governance and policy, including widespread failures in financial regulation and supervision, lack of transparency, poor preparation by the government, and systemic breakdown in accountability. The Commission concluded that the crisis was avoidable.

In their book This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of […]

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    Economists think Trump harmed the world economy, but not that of their country

Economists think Trump harmed the world economy, but not that of their country

On November 8th 2016, I was in Mexico City having dinner with a group of people. Suddenly, the person sitting across from me started receiving an unconscionable number of emails, messages, and calls on two devices simultaneously. As the polls from the American presidential election became public, this person had to leave the dinner to field the incoming flow […]

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    Confronting the macroeconomic challenges of the fourth industrial revolution

Confronting the macroeconomic challenges of the fourth industrial revolution

“The fourth industrial revolution – isn’t that an IT thing? We have a Minister for Digital looking at it”, said a policymaker. “Yes, it is changing business models which is why we are fostering an ecosystem for start-up innovation”, said another minister.

The implications of the current wave of technological change at a mechanical and commercial level are fairly well-understood. […]

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    An up-to-date account of economic inequalities in Britain since 2008

An up-to-date account of economic inequalities in Britain since 2008

Income growth in the UK has been weak since the financial crisis. It is a trend which seems likely to continue through to the early 2020s. But in overall terms, this has not been accompanied by a worsening of income inequalities. Official data from the DWP indicate a broad stability in the inequality of disposable household income, equivalised (i.e. weighted) for […]

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    Lessons from the 1890s to realign innovation and finance in post-Brexit Britain

Lessons from the 1890s to realign innovation and finance in post-Brexit Britain

There is increasing consensus among political and economic commentators that the UK economy is in significant need of rebalancing. The gulf between the finance-based London economy and former manufacturing regions was thrown into sharp relief by the Brexit vote, reinforcing the momentum for the so-called “Northern Powerhouse” and “Midlands Engine” initiatives and, to underpin a new focus on regional […]

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    The French art market under the Nazi boot: looking for discreet assets

The French art market under the Nazi boot: looking for discreet assets

The French art market during the Occupation has been the subject of numerous publications that mostly focused on the fate of looted artworks, with limited attention given to the art market itself.

Using an original database of paintings sold at Hôtel Drouot, the main French auction house at the time, I recreate an art market price index for the period […]

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    When white working-class men feel society no longer values them

When white working-class men feel society no longer values them

The Brexit referendum exposed deep political divisions within British society, and more than a year after that vote, those divisions show no signs of disappearing. Although the Leave campaign was carried to victory on the back of a broad coalition, one of its striking features was high levels of support for Brexit among white working-class men without a college […]