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    Budget 2017: productivity is the focus, but ‘fixes’ are unlikely to be enough

Budget 2017: productivity is the focus, but ‘fixes’ are unlikely to be enough

Budget 2017 began with a bleak assessment of the UK’s growth prospects. For those of us following the economic trends and policy debate, there was little surprise at the downgrade of future productivity growth by the Office for Budget Responsibility. Productivity has flat-lined since the financial crisis as successive budgets have failed to have much discernible effect on the […]

Work, joblessness and what they mean for our happiness

Since most of us spend much of our lives working, it is inevitable that work plays a key role in shaping our levels of happiness. In a chapter of the World Happiness Report 2017 – which is published annually to coincide with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness – we look more closely at the relationship between work […]

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    Diamond Light Source and its impact on the UK geographical distribution of science

Diamond Light Source and its impact on the UK geographical distribution of science

Big scientific research facilities like the UK’s Diamond Light Source, a third generation synchrotron (circular particle accelerator), benefit scientists located nearby significantly more than scientists located further away. According to our research, the highly localised effects of scientific infrastructure on research productivity extend even to scientists that do not rely on the facilities directly for their work.

Since scientific facilities often cannot […]

Would you choose to be happy?

This might initially sound like a silly question. I mean, who would choose not to be happy? Well, no one, if it was an easy choice between happiness and misery. But what if it was a harder choice between happiness and wealth? Or happiness and health? What then? The study reported in this blog post sought to find out.

We now […]

Dark web: The economics of online drugs markets

Like many other consumer transactions, the buying and selling of drugs are increasingly moving online. This is one very visible dimension of cybercrime – and it has been receiving growing attention from researchers as the online drugs markets have expanded rapidly.

A key feature of online drugs platforms is that they are located on the so-called ‘dark web’, which is […]

Apps like Tinder commodify the intangible

“One of the most basic processes in higher brains is the ability to carry out perceptual categorization – to ‘make sense’ of the world,” stated neuroscientist Gerald Edelman, in his neuroscientific analysis of consciousness. So what happens when the world becomes too noisy to make sense of?

As part of a small-scale MSc research project, I investigated young adults’ conceptualisations […]

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    Tech start-ups need a different approach to financial management

Tech start-ups need a different approach to financial management

We find ourselves today at the start of an industrial revolution. There have been others of course. The first revolution happened 250 years ago. Its engine was mechanisation. Another, about a hundred years ago, was all about electrification and mass production. Then 50 years ago, electronics and automation started a third revolution.

Right now, our physical and virtual worlds are […]

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    Developing a tool to understand corporate culture from the outside

Developing a tool to understand corporate culture from the outside

Since May 2016, we have led an academic research project to develop a new approach to measuring corporate culture. This research has produced the Unobtrusive Corporate Culture Analysis Tool (UCCAT).

UCCAT is a theoretically based and scientifically tested methodology for analysing and benchmarking corporate culture. Uniquely, rather than gathering employee interviews and questionnaires to assess culture, UCCAT analyses publicly available […]

Global risks from rising debt and asset prices

Wolfgang Schäuble, the outgoing German finance minister, warned in an FT interview last week that ‘economists all over the world are concerned about the increased risks arising from the accumulation of more and more liquidity and the growth of public and private debt.’ This follows an assessment by the Bank of International Settlements, whose chief economist, Claudio Borio, […]

The iPhone X in context

So, there is another line of iPhones out – big deal? The iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and the X. The iPhone X – or, for people without knowledge of Roman numerals, the one-phone-ten – has a brighter and more advanced screen, can recognise you through 30,000 facial features, and has a number of other improvements over the previous versions. It is […]

Introducing the Brexit readiness score

If you believe Prime Minister Theresa May the United Kingdom will be ready to exit the European Union in April 2019. If you believe UK businesses Britain is falling behind in its preparations. The next round of Brexit negotiations, and the first since the summer recess, was delayed by a week to September 25, 2017, suggesting that businesses may […]

Are you a leader or a manager?

The title of this article sounds like a trick question – it would seem the answer should be “leader”. But have you ever thought about what a manager does? Managers set up the systems that allow the organisation to run smoothly and efficiently. They ensure budgets are followed, timelines are met, and employees are trained and engaged. Without managers, […]

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    Expert panel: People from small, socially cohesive countries are happier

Expert panel: People from small, socially cohesive countries are happier

Among the world’s rich countries, those that are smaller and more socially cohesive tend to have happier populations on average. That is the consensus finding of a survey of leading researchers on wellbeing from around the world.

But opinion is divided among the experts on whether the break-up of large, diverse countries into smaller, less diverse ones can be expected to […]

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    Where industry is strong and where it’s weak: Key facts of UK business geography

Where industry is strong and where it’s weak: Key facts of UK business geography

The UK’s financial services industry is not nearly as London-centric as the creative industries. Rather than the South East of England being the country’s productivity engine, it is a band stretching west from the capital along the M4 corridor towards Bristol. The East of England stands out nationally in terms of the intensity of local investment in research and […]

Wake up, algorithms are trawling your phone while you sleep

Wake up, machine learning algorithms have been trawling your phone whilst you slept. If you did. If you had a long sleep your health profile will record positive. Your health data is one signal that will be built into a profile of all your behaviour. It will be used to inform decisions about credit ratings and health provision. Unhealthy […]

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    Gender and the news industry: Why it’s important to focus on mainstream newspapers

Gender and the news industry: Why it’s important to focus on mainstream newspapers

In her blog post, Allyson Zimmerman identifies the press as a site where stereotypical representations of women leaders are circulated. Drawing on research undertaken by Catalyst, Zimmerman discusses the importance of a focus on gendered stereotyping to further understand women’s exclusion from leadership positions. This resonates with the argument put forward by Helena Liu, Leanne Cutcher and David Grant, […]

The regulatory future of algorithms

Automated decisions systems are becoming more and more common. Algorithms are used by banks, employers, schools, police and social care agencies. They might help to run institutions more efficiently, but if badly designed they have the potential to bring about significant harm such as discrimination or social marginalisation. Currently, there are expectations that the EU’s data protection reform (the General Data […]

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    Low-carbon services can enhance the UK’s economic prospects

Low-carbon services can enhance the UK’s economic prospects

The government’s post-Brexit customs proposals, published on 15 August, recognised that one of the biggest opportunities for the UK is in trade in services. The second largest exporter of services worldwide, with services accounting for 45 per cent of the country’s exports in 2016, the UK already has a head start on its competitors. Last month Liam Fox, UK Minister for […]

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    Companies should promote online knowledge exchange among employees

Companies should promote online knowledge exchange among employees

It’s 10a.m in London, and while sipping on your morning coffee, you’ve connected with the team in Hamburg, put queries to colleagues in the Middle East, and checked in with Hong Kong. In just a few hours, your inbox will be brimming with “howdy’s” from the other side of the Atlantic as the New York office wakes up.

Connecting with […]

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    The insurance market and the failure to tell high from low risk

The insurance market and the failure to tell high from low risk

Is it really possible to tell if insurance markets are functioning effectively without too many high- or low-risk buyers of policies?

That is the challenge we address in our new research paper. The study suggests that standard tests for the twin phenomena of adverse and advantageous selection – too many or too few buyers who are likely to make a claim […]