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Economics needs to consider freedom of choice

Should we restrict fake news and other political speech designed to create discord and undermine democratic institutions? Should we impose a soda tax to combat the obesity problem? Should we restrict the ability of parents to pass on their wealth to their children in order to level the playing field and insure equality of opportunity for all?

All of these […]

July 30th, 2018|Economics|0 Comments|

Economic Science Fictions – Book Review

Economic Science Fictions. William Davies (ed.). Goldsmiths Press. 2018.

Science fiction as an academic case study has long been interrogated in many humanities departments, with a genealogical approach seeming the most obvious or intuitive way to understand any given sci-fi narrative. That is, one may try to link the text to the turmoil around its year of publication and question […]

July 29th, 2018|Book Review|1 Comment|
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    Any Brexit deal on financial services could have unpredictable implications

Any Brexit deal on financial services could have unpredictable implications

London, its financial services sector in particular, provides vital insights into understanding England’s Brexit vote in June 2016. Economically, politically, culturally and socially, the capital’s 8.7 million residents are increasingly characterised by their distinctiveness as compared to those living elsewhere in the UK – a trend that has intensified following the financial crisis of 2007-8. For example, figures from the Office […]

July 28th, 2018|Economics|1 Comment|
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    Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

Our inherent vulnerability and dependence on others in the workplace

“It is hard to see for an outsider that you become friends with these people—business friends. You trust them and their work. You have an interest in what they’re doing outside of business” (An interviewee quoted in Uzzi, 1997)

As members of organisations, human beings remain inherently vulnerable, facing threats and obstacles stemming from uncertainty, information asymmetries, and even potentially […]

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    The UK needs a state investment bank to support its industrial strategy

The UK needs a state investment bank to support its industrial strategy

Governments are increasingly recognising the important role that mission-oriented industrial strategy can play in tackling the key challenges of the 21st century. In the UK, the government’s new industrial strategy set out four ‘grand challenges’ to position the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future.

At the same time, there is also a growing recognition that innovation […]

July 26th, 2018|Economics|0 Comments|
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    Data silos are the greatest stumbling block to an effective use of firms’ data

Data silos are the greatest stumbling block to an effective use of firms’ data

Greater access to data has given business leaders real, valuable insights into the inner workings of their organisations. Those who have been ahead of the curve in utilising the right kinds of data for the right purposes have reaped the rewards of better customer engagement, improved decision-making and a more productive business, whilst those who have lagged behind have […]

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    Currency unions do little to boost trade among established commercial partners

Currency unions do little to boost trade among established commercial partners

Currency unions are an important institutional arrangement to facilitate international trade and reduce trade costs. In the period since World War II, a total of 123 countries have been involved in a currency union at some point. By the year 2015, 83 countries continued to do so. In addition, various countries are considering to form new currency unions or […]

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    Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

Pay transparency: policymakers love it, but employees not so much

On average, women still earn less money than men in most developed countries around the world according to the OECD. In the US and UK, for example, women are paid between 82 and 85 cents for every dollar a man earns. As a potential remedy to this issue, many legislators and organisations have begun to adopt pay transparency policies. […]

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    Governing Compact Cities: How to Connect Planning, Design and Transport – Book Review

Governing Compact Cities: How to Connect Planning, Design and Transport – Book Review

Governing Compact Cities: How to Connect Planning, Design and Transport. Philipp Rode. Edward Elgar. 2018.

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Philipp Rode’s new book, Governing Compact Cities: How to Connect Planning, Design and Transport, looks at the institutional arrangements that enable sustainable cities. It starts with the recognition that in many cases, sustainable cities are also compact cities, characterised by mixed-use neighbourhoods and […]

July 22nd, 2018|Book Review|0 Comments|

We must challenge the centrality of paid work in our lives

Unemployed people tend to have significantly worse health and wellbeing compared to people in paid work. With hundreds of empirical studies, this is one of the most persistent findings in social science research and holds across time and place.

In trying to explain the impact of unemployment on health, researchers have often been drawn to the social psychologist Marie Jahoda’s influential theory. […]

July 21st, 2018|Labour|1 Comment|
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    How would-be entrepreneurs can harness the power of the internet of things

How would-be entrepreneurs can harness the power of the internet of things

The internet of things – it’s a wonderfully vague term, but one that both consumers and businesses will have been hearing a lot over recent years. IoT is, after all, one of the single biggest areas of technological development that is reshaping the world around us. In short, the umbrella term refers to the way in which devices – […]

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    The 1971 UK banking deregulation had a positive effect on firms

The 1971 UK banking deregulation had a positive effect on firms

Starting in the 1970s, various countries deregulated their banking systems and abandoned the strict rules that governed financial institutions since the Great Depression. Deregulation was intended to increase competition in the credit market, improve consumers’ welfare but it has been indicated by many observers to be at the roots of the 2008 financial crisis. Despite the large interest in […]

Why CEOs misbehave

Sometimes CEOs misbehave. This misbehaviour has terrible consequences for the CEO, the organisation and society, yet still – they do it. Recent estimates suggest that fraud, a specific type of wrongdoing, results in a loss of 5 per cent of sales for a typical company every year and a global loss of about $3.7 trillion. With such clear consequences, […]

The future of work and how we can change it

If there is one overriding narrative is that the future of work consists of more insecure, poor quality and low wage work and/or no jobs at all as robots, AI and automation replace human beings. These narratives are wrong, at least in the foreseeable future, which I arbitrarily put at 20 years. Futurologists and science fiction writers are better […]

Why do large companies pay higher salaries?

Why do small establishments pay employees less than large establishments? The final pieces of this puzzle have not been found yet. This paper suggests the joint role of the division of labour and employee characteristics as an additional explanation for the firm-size wage gap.

The intuition is that individuals who work for large firms focus on a limited number of […]

Economics for the Common Good – Book Review

Economics for the Common Good. Jean Tirole (trans. by Stephen Randall). Princeton University Press. 2017.

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Economics – that seemingly impenetrable mix of mathematical wizardry and eye-glazing theorising – has long appeared wholly inaccessible to the majority of the public (and even, it might be added, many members of the intelligentsia). Its roots were remarkably readable – for […]

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    The flaws of randomised controlled trials and the reproducibility crisis

The flaws of randomised controlled trials and the reproducibility crisis

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) are generally viewed as the foundational experimental method of the social and medical sciences. Economists depend on them, for certain questions, as their most valued method. Yet RCTs are not flawless. In my study, “Why all randomised controlled trials produce biased results”, I argue that RCTs are not able to establish precise causal effects of an […]

Collectivists, individualists and indifferents

Consumers increasingly prefer to purchase sustainable and healthy products. This trend is important if we are to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

However, most evidence about consumer preferences is based on self-reported purchases rather than consumers’ actual purchases. Moreover, when asked, consumers tend to overstate their sustainability and health-conscious purchases.

The problem with this situation is that companies wishing […]

July 13th, 2018|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Following in the parents’ footsteps: nepotism or transfer of skills?

Following in the parents’ footsteps: nepotism or transfer of skills?

The observed low rate of social mobility in several contemporary societies is a matter of a lively debate. Is it the unavoidable consequence of the transmission (genetic or not) of skills and abilities? Or is it mostly the result of an unfair society that prevents an efficient allocation of talents and favours children with better social connections?

Liberal professions such […]

July 12th, 2018|Labour|0 Comments|
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    The new federalism: blockchain will decentralise big tech’s power on the internet

The new federalism: blockchain will decentralise big tech’s power on the internet

For most of history, the only form of government that humanity had known was despotism. Pharaohs, tsars, emperors and kings enjoyed a centralised and absolute power. The world had known but a few democratic experiences in the Athenian polis, the Roman Republic, and the Florence and Venice of the Renaissance.

In the 18th century, revolutions in France and the United […]