LSE Authors

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    Leslie Willcocks: the role automation plays in creating jobs has been largely ignored

Leslie Willcocks: the role automation plays in creating jobs has been largely ignored

Leslie Willcocks, professor of technology, work and globalisation at LSE’s Department of Management, finds incoherence and exaggeration surrounding the application of artificial intelligence and cognitive automation to work. In this video (3′ 26″), he discusses some of the findings in his new book. 


The video was recorded at Open House, a gathering of global teaching institutions offering the Economics, Management, Finance and […]

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    Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: let this be the high-water mark for impunity

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica: let this be the high-water mark for impunity

The last few days represent more than just the most recent and inevitable controversy emanating from Facebook’s beleaguered offices. The scandal over Cambridge Analytica’s participation in electoral manipulation and gross breaches of privacy have resonated more widely with users than the earlier allegations about fake news and Russian connections.

On an individual level, Facebook users have to contend with the […]

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    Intellectual property rights and the transfer of low-carbon technologies to other countries

Intellectual property rights and the transfer of low-carbon technologies to other countries

Wide access to clean technologies is crucial to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius. This requires considerable technology transfers from North to South as 90 per cent of the increase in global carbon emissions until 2050 is expected to occur in the developing world, while the vast […]

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    How the law profession adjusts to competitive changes in the UK

How the law profession adjusts to competitive changes in the UK

The UK legal industry is currently navigating a state of transition and flux, largely brought on by a sharp, unrelenting increase in competition. This level of change has led to an increasingly fragmented industry, as individual law firms make sense of and respond to these changes in different ways. Technology, and website design in particular, provides firms with the […]

The trade impact of the transatlantic telegraph

How do exporters gather information about overseas markets and forecast consumer demand for their products? What do they do if technology suddenly makes it possible to get access to better and more timely information? And what is the overall impact on prices, market integration and trade flows? These are challenging questions in the modern world of the internet and […]

Do apprenticeships increase earnings?

Is there an earnings differential for starting an apprenticeship over and above the pay of young people who have already had a full-time school or college-based education? Our research looks at people who finished their GCSE exams in 2003 and who were therefore 28 years of age in 2015. We use administrative data to follow them from 2003 through […]

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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 […]