Monthly Archives: March 2020

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    How economists view the policy response to the Covid-19 crisis so far

How economists view the policy response to the Covid-19 crisis so far

Just two weeks ago, the likelihood of a major US recession as a consequence of the public health challenge was still in doubt. In the past few days, the number of claims filed for unemployment insurance hit record levels; the total number of Covid-19 cases in the United States went past 100,000, already substantially higher than the totals in […]

March 31st, 2020|Economics|0 Comments|

The economics of coronavirus

The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is first and foremost one of the gravest health crises of the past hundred years, threatening to generate millions of premature deaths worldwide. But it also represents a major – and unusual – challenge for economic policymakers.

In most economic downturns, the appropriate policy response is qualitatively straightforward, if sometimes difficult to calibrate or implement. For […]

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    In the blink of an eye, we found ourselves all working from home

In the blink of an eye, we found ourselves all working from home

“I wonder if I will be able to string a coherent sentence together in a month’s time”
Kathy Samuel – head of business partnerships in the division of philanthropy and global engagement

What is different from working in the office?

The physicality of getting into the office provides a structure to the day. A few days in, I am feeling the […]

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    How to Run a City like Amazon and Other Fables – Book Review

How to Run a City like Amazon and Other Fables – Book Review

How to Run a City like Amazon and Other Fables. Mark Graham, Rob Kitchin, Shannon Mattern and Joe Shaw (eds). Meatspace Press. 2019.

In the science-fiction romantic film Her, the director Spike Jonze displays a near future where humanity is permeated by artificially intelligent virtual assistants, so much so that Theodore, the protagonist, develops a relationship with Samantha, his self-named […]

March 29th, 2020|Book Review|0 Comments|
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    Comparing the coronavirus crisis to 2008 is inevitable, but they’re quite different

Comparing the coronavirus crisis to 2008 is inevitable, but they’re quite different

Coronavirus is having a strong impact on the world economy. What about the financial system? Is a systemic financial crisis likely, perhaps along the lines of the crisis 12 years ago in 2008, or even the Great Depression of the 1930s?

There are certainly similarities: widespread bankruptcies, liquidity shortages, large losses and some financial institutions may fail. Still, that in itself does […]

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    Shareholders and the choice between exploration and exploitation

Shareholders and the choice between exploration and exploitation

Companies are in a constant battle with one another to innovate and capture market share. As they do so, it is important for them to engage in two competing behaviours: exploration and exploitation.

Exploration is about discovering new opportunities and enhancing learning. This kind of activity is characterised by knowledge creation, risk taking, experimentation, and innovation. In contrast, exploitation leverages […]

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    Corporations must help eradicate Covid-19 and facilitate social change

Corporations must help eradicate Covid-19 and facilitate social change

Earlier this week, 30 chief executive officers of Canada’s largest corporations urged every leader in the country to immediately shift focus to the singular objective of slowing the pace of transmission of the coronavirus. By sharing four key actions, their companies have committed to and encouraging other organisations to do the same, they’ve reinforced the “new normal” for businesses […]

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    Covid-19: We shouldn’t give priority to sustaining the GDP over the wellbeing of the people

Covid-19: We shouldn’t give priority to sustaining the GDP over the wellbeing of the people

We are in a very difficult situation. But I do believe that if we handle it right we can come out of this better than we went into it. We can come out of it with a society in which people are caring more for each other and in which they are taking better care of themselves.

So, let me […]

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    Covid-19: the underlying issues affecting the UK’s food supply chains

Covid-19: the underlying issues affecting the UK’s food supply chains

The Covid-19 outbreak encompasses health risks and difficulties to our food chains. Above-normal demand and hoarding of some basic products have affected the normal operation of the food supply chain, resulting in empty supermarket shelves and forcing some retailers to impose constraints on the quantities sold. These impacts have increased food insecurity for the most vulnerable groups in the […]

March 25th, 2020|Economics|1 Comment|
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    How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

How the unions helped transform employment relations at France Télécom

On December 20, 2019, the French courts found the former CEO of France Télécom and two executives guilty of ‘moral harassment’ of their employees. During what has been called ‘a social crisis’, more than 40 employees in two years committed suicide, directly blaming the company in their notes, taking their lives on the workplace; a technician stabbed himself in […]

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    We only changed our behaviour when we saw Covid-19 at our doorstep

We only changed our behaviour when we saw Covid-19 at our doorstep

The new COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus (having about three times the transmission rate of the flu), and its spread depends on social contact. For an individual living a normal life, the probability of infection is extremely high (as individuals exhibiting no symptoms tend to go untested). If a sizeable share of the population becomes infected, not only can it […]

Plagues and the Paradox of Progress – Book Review

This review was originally published on the blog From Poverty to Power.

Plagues and the Paradox of Progress. Thomas J. Bollyky. MIT Press. 2019.

If you want to step back and think more broadly about Coronavirus, the Universe and Everything, you could do worse than start with Plagues and the Paradox of Progress, by Thomas J. Bollyky, which combines a […]

March 22nd, 2020|Book Review|0 Comments|
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    To survive the COVID-19 crisis, the euro area can’t go back to business as usual

To survive the COVID-19 crisis, the euro area can’t go back to business as usual

The Covid-19 crisis has brought the European economy to a standstill. More and more states are taking drastic measures to contain the spread of the virus, while nobody can predict how long these exceptional circumstances will persist. As with any other crisis, we are once again learning that the future is fundamentally uncertain, and that people do not behave […]

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    Economic policy under the coronavirus: an unconventional challenge

Economic policy under the coronavirus: an unconventional challenge

The COVID:19 (aka coronavirus) is hitting all aspects of human civilisation, including the global economy and international financial system. The outbreak of the pandemic has led to a sharp reduction in economic activity and turmoil in the financial markets. Its adverse economic impact is being felt at present and will continue in the days, months and years ahead. To […]

March 20th, 2020|Economics|1 Comment|
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    Popular governments may be a sign of future financial crises

Popular governments may be a sign of future financial crises

One well-documented predictor of financial crises are credit booms and capital flow bonanzas. Indeed, many banking and current account crises (sudden stops) have been preceded by unusual expansion of domestic and/or external credit (see for example Reinhart and Reinhart 2008, Forbes and Warncock 2012, Schularick and Taylor 2012, Mendoza and Terrones 2012). To the best of our knowledge, however, […]

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    Amidst the coronavirus chaos, businesses need resilience thinking

Amidst the coronavirus chaos, businesses need resilience thinking

When I started running the numbers at the end of January, I reluctantly began to draw my own conclusions regarding plausible future scenarios. I had a hard time convincing myself. I subsequently (re) learned that good old fashioned ‘denial’ is the first step of dealing with any crisis. As any good academic, I had written about it, but was […]

March 18th, 2020|Strategy|0 Comments|
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    We can increase happiness through public policy – and in our jobs and private lives too

We can increase happiness through public policy – and in our jobs and private lives too

Thomas Jefferson said that ‘The care of human life and happiness… is the first and only legitimate object of good  government.’ We agree with him, as did the LSE’s main architects – the Webbs and William Beveridge. So too do an increasing number of policymakers worldwide: only last October, the European Union’s Council of Ministers requested that all of […]

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    Tough times call for transformations in leadership development

Tough times call for transformations in leadership development

How does leadership development need to change in the light of the turbulent and fast-changing economic, political and social environment organisations find themselves having to operate in? This was the questions global management network EFMD explored in a research project involving a special interest group of 12 member companies, including Bayer, L’Oreal, Nokia, Engie, Swiss Re and Siemens.

The group […]

March 16th, 2020|Strategy|0 Comments|
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    The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future – Book Review

The Theft of a Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future – Book Review

If you are interested in this book review, you may like to listen to this ‘Extra Innings’ episode of The Ballpark podcast in which Joseph Sternberg talks to Ballpark host Chris Gilson about his book. 

The Theft of A Decade: How the Baby Boomers Stole the Millennials’ Economic Future. Joseph C. Sternberg. PublicAffairs. 2019.

Find this book: 

‘How is it that […]

March 15th, 2020|Book Review|0 Comments|
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    Coronavirus: survey of economists reveals consensus on a recession

Coronavirus: survey of economists reveals consensus on a recession

The World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic as the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the world. As tumbling stock markets reveal growing fears about the potential economic impact, we invited US and European economists to express their views on the likelihood of a major recession. We also asked them about the relative importance of the supply and demand […]

March 14th, 2020|Economics|1 Comment|