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    How psychological effects impact cognitive performance in competitive environments

How psychological effects impact cognitive performance in competitive environments

Understanding cognition is important. Several studies establish that cognitive ability is a strong predictor of occupational attainment, wages, and a range of social behaviours in adults. It is also important for predicting the schooling performance of children, adolescents and university students. Further, numerous settings represent competitive situations that involve cognitive performance, ranging from test taking and student competition in […]

What might be behind Trump’s tariffs on steel imports?

Last Thursday President Trump acted to impose 25 per cent tariffs on steel and 10 per cent tariffs on aluminium. This action followed an investigation under Section 232 of the 1962 US Trade Expansion Act by the US Commerce Department of whether imports were endangering US national security. The European Union’s response to this action, and that of other […]

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    Analysing the distributional effects of higher education funding reforms in the UK

Analysing the distributional effects of higher education funding reforms in the UK

Over the last two decades, the financing of higher education in England has been transformed. The system has gone from one that offered free-of-charge, full-time undergraduate studies to being one of the most expensive in the OECD. The amount of direct public expenditure on higher education has been reduced from 80 per cent to around 25 per cent (see […]

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    How to attract foreign direct investment and promote exports

How to attract foreign direct investment and promote exports

With Brexit looming, the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth has been running a series of workshops with local areas to think about different policy responses and consider what the evidence says on effectiveness. One thing that local areas wanted to know was what the evaluation evidence said on export support and inward investment promotion. In response, we have […]

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    The invisible entrepreneur: from unemployment to unstable self-employment

The invisible entrepreneur: from unemployment to unstable self-employment

Since the 2008 financial crisis, entrepreneurship has become the preferred public solution to combat unemployment. Public discourses in many EU countries, including the UK, portray entrepreneurship as socially desirable and feasible. However, this ‘solution’ makes the unemployed responsible for creating their own jobs by asking them to stoically transition between unemployment and self-employment with little or no institutional support.

Thus, the […]

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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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    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. […]

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    When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When firms break promises, employees may ‘pay it forward’ to colleagues and clients

When organisations break their promises to their employees, who suffers the consequences and why? Intuition, and indeed research, tells us that those who are harmed seek to redress the balance by harming their perpetrator, with this being either one’s organisation or one’s boss, for example. However, in a three-study design within the medical field, our research finds this to […]

Delinking economic growth and CO2 emission is possible

Six of the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gas are developing countries, according to a recent analysis of the World Resources Institute (see Figure 1). At present, developing countries already account for more than half of total annual emissions, and the share will only rise as developing countries grow. Clearly, achieving the global climate targets of the Paris Agreement […]

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    Does social media foster polarisation? A close look at the handle @realdonaldtrump

Does social media foster polarisation? A close look at the handle @realdonaldtrump

Social media facilitates communication and an appealing question is whether citizens use it to endorse or criticize the government. I investigate individuals’ potential polarisation about President Trump, as reflected in his personal Twitter account. In this context, polarisation relates to expressing positive or negative judgements through social media.

The reach of social media is not trivial. Users use it to […]

Taking #MeToo into global supply chains

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a new phenomenon. There have been some well publicised episodes before – Clarence Thomas, Justice in the American Supreme Court, and more recently, Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel retail stores come to mind. But they appeared to be just that: isolated episodes. The flood of allegations unleashed by the #MeToo movement […]

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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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    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. […]

Exposure to innovation influences who becomes an inventor

Relatively little is known about the factors that induce people to become inventors. Using data on the lives of over one million inventors in the US, this column sheds light on what policies can be most effective in increasing innovation. In particular, it shows that increasing exposure to innovation among women, minorities, and children from low-income families may have […]

Brexit readiness score update: UK gets 22 out of 100

In the past three months the possibility of an orderly Brexit has increased markedly. In particular, the European Union and United Kingdom have negotiated a transition period lasting two years. And several thorny issues around the treatment of EU citizens in the United Kingdom have been clarified.

The inaugural Brexit Readiness Score gave low grades on the preparedness of the […]

Why economists are relaxed about bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies have been a staple of news headlines in 2017. As the price of one bitcoin has risen 12-fold in sterling terms during the course of 2017, the number of Google searches for bitcoin has increased 14-fold. There are now more than 2,000 cryptocurrency ATMs across the globe, with the United States (1,107), Canada (293), the UK (97) and […]

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    Accounting played a central role in the rise of financial capitalism as we know it today

Accounting played a central role in the rise of financial capitalism as we know it today

Since the pioneer writings of Weber and Sombart, the debate on the nexus between accounting and the rise of capitalism has caused a lot of ink to flow. Literature on the subject has focused on assessing the capacity of the double-entry form to promote “rational” decision-making based on profit calculation. While the classical approach, drawing on Weber and Sombart’s […]

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    Design brands adjust their retail strategy to consumers’ personalities

Design brands adjust their retail strategy to consumers’ personalities

The luxury market is one of the most rapidly expanding industries around the world. Despite the financial crisis in 2008, the market for personal luxury goods has grown three times in size over the last 20 years. The industry has undergone, over the last decade, two major changes that have reshuffled the luxury landscape.

First, there has been an evolution […]

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    If we want to create jobs in local areas, the idea of ‘local’ needs to be revisited

If we want to create jobs in local areas, the idea of ‘local’ needs to be revisited

Place-based policies that target disadvantaged areas are widespread in both high-income and developing countries. Their impact depends crucially on the effective size of local labour markets. If labour markets are very local, an effective intervention needs to be targeted to the disadvantaged areas themselves and more distant interventions will not benefit the target group. If labour markets are not […]

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    Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

Connectivity will create a multibillion-dollar opportunity for the global airline industry

‘Disruption’ is one of the buzzwords that defines our economy at the moment. While much of the focus has been on entrepreneurial start-ups – soliciting early funding for the next ‘the Airbnb of…’ – taking a look at how more established businesses are responding to the technological revolution is just as interesting. Aviation is one such sector that is […]