Political Economy

China’s challenge to international tax rules

States are currently struggling to reach global agreement on the taxation of digital firms such as Apple and Google, suggesting that an international regime characterised by impressive coherence over a century may be beginning to fragment. While work on the politics of the international tax regime is still largely preoccupied with the US, a ‘great power’, this fragmentation largely […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The digitisation of recorded music: studying the ‘long tail’ effect

The digitisation of recorded music: studying the ‘long tail’ effect

Digitisation, in the form of online retailing, has long been understood to deliver welfare benefit to consumers. Greater consumer access to content has led to an important work on the “long-tail” phenomenon: while the choice set faced by consumer was limited to the shelf-space available in brick-and-mortar stores before the advent of the Internet, consumers can now access and […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Post-Brexit transfers of personal data: the clock is ticking

Post-Brexit transfers of personal data: the clock is ticking

The UK economy is closely integrated with that of the rest of the EU. One need only consider the number of UK firms with branches in the EU27, and the number of EU27 firms with branches in the UK, to realise that data interchange is of vital economic importance.

Assuming that the UK indeed leaves the EU as a result […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The European Investment Bank is becoming increasingly politicised

The European Investment Bank is becoming increasingly politicised

Over the past two decades, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has become the world’s largest multilateral financial institution. In 1999, the EU member states’ ‘policy-driven’ bank counted around 1,000 staff members. This number is now close to 3,000. In 1999, the EIB’s balance sheet stood at 200 billion euros. It now stands at 550 billion euros.

While this has given […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Germany is quietly rebalancing its economy – but this will not fix the Eurozone’s flaws

Germany is quietly rebalancing its economy – but this will not fix the Eurozone’s flaws

Ever since the financial and sovereign debt crisis, the political and economic implications of Germany’s unbalanced economy have lured the attention of academics, policy institutions, the public and politicians across Europe and beyond. Frequent are the pleas made to the German political establishment to rebalance its export-oriented economic model, increase fiscal expenditures and thus rein in the world’s largest current account surplus.

But what is […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    A French dilemma: environmental leadership vs environment-damaging economic growth

A French dilemma: environmental leadership vs environment-damaging economic growth

In pursuit of an America First policy, the US withdrew from the Paris Agreement (COP21), with grave economic and ecological consequences and representing a serious backlash for US global leadership in tackling the environmental challenges and issues surrounding climate change. There was no obvious public appetite for the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, yet on the positive side, the European […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    For the first time in a century, there is no British party which is clearly pro-business

For the first time in a century, there is no British party which is clearly pro-business

Politics used to be easy for British business. There was really only one relevant policy dimension (left versus right) and really only one party worth supporting (the Conservatives). The role of the state in the economy and the management of inequality had structured British politics since the first mass-suffrage elections. Although the distance between the two parties was constantly […]

The fallacy of basic economic rights

One of the main questions dividing the left and the right is about how economic rights rank compared to other rights and public goals. That is, the question is about what can or cannot outweigh economic rights.

Basic vs prima facie rights

The left regularly argues that economic rights can be outweighed by legitimate state interests, like social justice, such that […]

Galileo satellites illuminate EU-UK divorce tensions

One of the first tangible effects of leaving the European Union is that Britain will need a new, bi-lateral treaty on satellite navigation systems as well as a security treaty with the European Union,  in order to retain its place in the prestigious Galileo satellite programme after March 2019. Even then, Britain may end up with only observer status, […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Gaza’s endemic economic misery lies behind the confrontation

Gaza’s endemic economic misery lies behind the confrontation

On Feb. 4, the Israeli Defense Forces’ chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, issued a stark warning to his country’s government: Israel could soon face another conflict in Gaza with the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas because of deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions in the territory. Eisenkot said Gaza’s Palestinian residents suffered from chronic shortages of the most basic […]

Why Russia is economically weak and politically strong

A few days ago I saw a surprising statistic: the GDP of Russia is of the same order of magnitude as the combined GDP of Belgium and the Netherlands. In 2017 Russian GDP was 1 469 billion dollars (according to the International Monetary Fund). Belgium had a GDP of 491 billion dollars and the Netherlands 824 billion dollars; together $ […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The Airbus case sits at the heart of the Brexit industrial equation

The Airbus case sits at the heart of the Brexit industrial equation

While an agreement on Brexit negotiations is far from being reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union, Brussels seems to be taking an even more aggressive stance. It recently announced its will to kick Britain out of the Galileo project after it leaves the EU. This programme is aimed at creating a global navigation satellite system for […]

Forging a new UK-wide agricultural framework post-Brexit

Agriculture is one of those areas currently both devolved to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and subject to European policy-making. If nothing else were done, these competences would revert to the devolved territories, with little by way of overall UK policies. The EU Withdrawal Bill proposes that these, like other ‘retained EU competences’, should come back to Westminster, with […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The European Commission’s Google decision will affect competition law

The European Commission’s Google decision will affect competition law

After years of investigation, the first of the European Commission’s decisions against Google is here. Obviously, most of the coverage in the mass media and online will focus on the high sum of the fine (a staggering 2.42 billion euros). However, the wider implications of the case reach well beyond the monetary fine. It affects what technology giants are allowed to do and what EU […]

What the European Commission missed in its reflection paper

The European Commission’s recent reflection paper on deepening economic and monetary union raises several key questions about the past and future of the Eurozone. The paper certainly represents a positive contribution to the ongoing process of European integration, after the impasse caused by the deep and prolonged economic crisis, the political developments in some European countries (including the Brexit referendum) and […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The Conservative Manifesto: A hallucinatory celebration of the state

The Conservative Manifesto: A hallucinatory celebration of the state

“We need a state that is strong and strategic, nimble and responsive to the needs of people”. (p.8)

The 2017 Conservative Manifesto speaks highly of the state, and it speaks highly of the market. But even by the standards of enthusiasm in a political manifesto, this text operates in a fiction of archetypes. The juxtaposition of the manifesto’s celebration of […]

Curtailing the market for private prisons: schism or blip?

For nearly 25 years, new prisons built in the UK have predominantly been procured through ‘design, build, finance and operate’ (DBFO) contracts with the private sector. So the opening earlier this year of a new supersized prison to be financed and operated by the public sector – HMP Berwyn in north Wales – puts the future of ‘whole prison’ contracting in […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The state, inequality and the politics of economic ideas: three blind spots in shadow banking

The state, inequality and the politics of economic ideas: three blind spots in shadow banking

Shadow banking has become a systemic pillar of global finance. A typical map shows a complex network of shadow entities such as highly levered off-balance-sheet vehicles, broker-dealers, private equity firms, money market funds or hedge funds. Yet (large) regulated banks also moved in the shadows, driven by a combination of yield, regulatory and tax arbitrage in order to engage […]

Gender quotas and the crisis of the mediocre man

A common criticism against gender quotas is that they are anathema to meritocratic principles. This research on Sweden shows that the opposite can be true: Quotas actually increased the competence of politicians by leading to the displacement of mediocre men whether as candidates or leaders. The results may also be relevant for judging gender quotas in business.

More than 100 countries […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    When board interlock fell apart, so did political moderation in the boardroom

When board interlock fell apart, so did political moderation in the boardroom

Throughout the twentieth century, business elites in the United States were bound together by a dense interlock network — a network of directors connected by serving on the same corporate boards, and of boards connected by shared directors. A few dozen directors served on five or more boards, and this inner circle kept the informational pathways among corporations short. […]