Monthly Archives: September 2019

The Psychology of Fashion – Book Review

The Psychology of Fashion. Carolyn Mair. Routledge. 2018.

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You may not be into fashion, but you cannot escape fashion consumption. Fashion is an important way that we present ourselves to the world in our everyday life (Erving Goffman, 1956). As consumer culture conquers the world, fashion is not a peripheral, frivolous matter; rather, it holds more individual meanings […]

September 22nd, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

Behind every successful man…

In June 2019, journalist Anne Helen Petersen tweeted a screenshot of the acknowledgements section of the book Downsizing in America (New York: Russell Sage, 2003). In it, the book’s authors – William J. Baumol, Alan S. Blinder, and Edward N. Wolff – thank Sue Anne Batey Blackman for her contributions, stating that she was “a coauthor in all but name.” […]

September 21st, 2019|Gender|0 Comments|

The efficiency of the IPO market: homo economicus lives

In the initial public offering (IPO) market, sophisticated issuers with considerable sums at stake acquire underwriting services from a large number of capable and highly competitive investment banks. Neoclassical economics implies that such a market will (well, really, must) reach an efficient equilibrium. Yet, in practice, the IPO market has a number of highly unusual features that has led […]

Bitcoin: from currency to investment

While attending the 2019 American Sociological Association annual conference in New York, I came across an advertisement that nicely captures the competing visions within the bitcoin community. The ad (Figure 1) depicts a scene from the American Revolution, illustrated in pointillist style to evoke American paper currency. A slogan, “The revolution needs rules,” overlays a throng of white men, each […]

The potential dark side of teamwork

Most work today is done in teams where employees collaborate, discuss new ideas, and share responsibilities for specific goals. While this leads to a lot of good – like greater productivity and performance – teamwork can also be demanding and cause a lot of frustration. There are coordination costs to managing teams, as well as interpersonal conflicts that put […]

The road to zero emissions

War-games are old hat. Destroying a tank, a battalion, even an army, pales to insignificance compared to laying waste to an entire planet in the global heating game. Let us say, the dial to climate catastrophe is measured in parts of atmospheric carbon per million (ppm). Before the industrial era, the dial stayed at 280 ppm for millions of […]

September 17th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Why are some executives paid mostly in salary, while others in bonus?

Why are some executives paid mostly in salary, while others in bonus?

In 2016 Dave Barnes, chief information and global business services officer of UPS, received a salary of $491,000 and a bonus payment of $251,000, while Pawan Verma, chief information and customer experience officer at Foot Locker, had a salary of $216,000 and a bonus of $664,000. Why in one case did the CIO receive the majority of his compensation in salary, […]

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    The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation – Book Review

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation – Book Review

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation. Carl Benedikt Frey. Princeton University Press. 2019.

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It seems that barely a month can pass without new forecasts of technology-induced job losses hitting the front pages. The Office for National Statistics are at it, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the […]

September 15th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|
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    Floods of money may not be the most effective tool against fires in the Amazon

Floods of money may not be the most effective tool against fires in the Amazon

The Brazilian Amazon is in flames again. At the meeting of the G-7 in late August, France’s President Emmanuel Macron led the way in pledging millions of euros to help put out the fires. Canada, the United Kingdom, and others have followed suit. But what can this unusually generous impulse achieve? Can the floods of international money put out […]

September 14th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|

What would Weitzman say?

In the classroom I simply refer to him as “Weitzman”, in the same way people simply refer to Keynes, Arrow, Solow, or Hicks. Such widely understood abbreviations reflect their high standing and unique contributions. Students recognised the importance of Weitzman’s contributions to economic theory too. After a year-long lecture series, one of my students proposed a t-shirt with “What […]

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    The row over the Irish backstop reveals a lot about the contradictions of Brexit

The row over the Irish backstop reveals a lot about the contradictions of Brexit

A fortnight can be a very, very long time in politics. The plasticity of British politics has become mesmerising. A no-deal Brexit on 31st October, which for a moment looked all but inevitable, now seems to have melted into air. Sometimes, it is easy to become despondent when faced with the brutal immorality of vicious ideologues and moneyed elites. But […]

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    Income inequality among different ethnic groups: the case of Malaysia

Income inequality among different ethnic groups: the case of Malaysia

In much of the developing world, economic power is largely concentrated in the hands of a “market-dominant” ethnic minority. The classic case is southeast Asia, where the Chinese, usually a tiny proportion of the population, enjoy an overwhelmingly dominant economic position. In Malaysia, the average Chinese household had 1.9 times as much wealth as the Bumiputera (Khalid 2007); in […]

September 11th, 2019|Economics|1 Comment|
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    Can organisational culture explain the labour market discrimination of ethnic minorities?

Can organisational culture explain the labour market discrimination of ethnic minorities?

The most recent statistics confirm an ongoing reality for British black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, which is that they are typically twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts. Indeed, while overall unemployment rates remained static between the January-March and April-June 2019 accounting periods, the rates for white unemployment improved marginally from 3.4 to 3.3 per […]

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    How management structures can help firms hire and keep their best people

How management structures can help firms hire and keep their best people

Total Factor Productivity (TFP) is a measure used by economists and business people to quantify the productivity of economies and firms. It essentially measures how efficiently and intensively the inputs to production (like capital and labour) are used. TFP receives a lot of attention and is often the main point of motivation behind research projects. Technology affects how these […]

September 9th, 2019|Economics, Management|0 Comments|

Re-Engineering Humanity – Book Review

Re-Engineering Humanity. Brett Frischmann and Evan Selinger. Cambridge University Press. 2019.

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It is by now uncontroversial to observe that we constantly find ourselves in the middle of a data loop whereby large amounts of data about us are collected and analysed, and the results of that analysis are then used to shape our digital environments, product […]

September 8th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

How Brexit is playing havoc with the UK economy

Each day brings with it new drama in UK politics and the course of Brexit – and it’s playing havoc with the UK economy. The following four graphs show the extent that the UK is at risk of a recession – and I conclude that the only way to put an end to all the uncertainty that is plaguing […]

September 7th, 2019|Economics|1 Comment|

On trying, failing and persisting

There is now ample evidence that socio-emotional skills are as important as basic cognition in driving individual success. Among these skills, grit clearly stands out. Grit is generally defined as perseverance in a productive task in the face of — often repeated and frustrating — setbacks. While it has been documented that grit predicts a large array of achievement […]

September 6th, 2019|Career & Success|0 Comments|
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    Large-scale use of cloud services poses challenges to measurement in economics

Large-scale use of cloud services poses challenges to measurement in economics

Have you tried buying a DVD player recently? If not, you might be out of luck soon as major retailers in the UK have stopped stocking them amid falling demand. The reason is not that people stopped watching videos (quite the opposite), but the rising popularity of online streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime that can be […]

September 5th, 2019|Economics, LSE alumni|0 Comments|
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    Why investors should not attach too much meaning to daily changes in the stock market

Why investors should not attach too much meaning to daily changes in the stock market

The stock market moves a lot on a day-to-day basis. Today the S&P 500 index may be up 1 per cent, and tomorrow it may be down 1 per cent. And although news commentators may be forced to relate it to some news about the economy, it is rare to come across news that may add or destroy the […]

Lessons from the uberisation of lawyers in China

Uber, Deliveroo, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Upwork — internet-based, on-demand work platforms have successfully found their ways into various aspects of our daily lives. What has been overlooked in most discussions on online gig work is the increasing participation of high-skilled, licensed professional workers, such as doctors and lawyers. While online professional services remain insignificant in most Western countries, they […]

September 3rd, 2019|Future of Work, Labour|0 Comments|