Economics & Finance

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    The great demographic reversal and what it means for the economy

The great demographic reversal and what it means for the economy

The rise of China to the status of economic superpower has been the dominant narrative of the last three decades. China’s rise as the main feature of globalisation, in conjunction with a beneficial sweet spot in demography, drove output up and inflation down in the advanced economies. But these trends are now reversing. China’s economic success depended on many […]

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    The UK economy is recovering from the pandemic shock but not all is rosy

The UK economy is recovering from the pandemic shock but not all is rosy

It has been an eventful week with the government introducing the “UK Internal Market Bill” and the EU reacting by threatening legal action against the UK unless it rewrites the bill to avoid a serious violation of the withdrawal agreement and international law. This is something that could have implications for the Brexit negotiations. On the pandemic front, with […]

September 16th, 2020|Economics & Finance|2 Comments|
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    Productivity growth in one country affects the relative income and welfare of its trade partners

Productivity growth in one country affects the relative income and welfare of its trade partners

One of the most dramatic changes in the world economy over the past half century has been the emergence of China as a major force in world trade. A central question in international economics is the implications of such economic growth for the income and welfare of trade partners. A related question in political economy is the extent to […]

Do we need programmable money?

Programmable money can be designed to flow as easily as email without sacrificing regulatory controls, monetary policy or personal privacy. – IBM 2018

If the US dollar is to remain the world’s primary reserve currency in the unfolding digital century, how can it remain an analog instrument and unit of account for things increasingly programmable and denominated as digital tokens?– […]

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    The UK at the crossroads between a ‘dirty recovery’ and ‘build back better’

The UK at the crossroads between a ‘dirty recovery’ and ‘build back better’

The severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, as manifested in the number of daily cases, has decreased significantly in most countries and there is light at the end of the tunnel. There are also early signs of economic recovery, even though it is too early to say which letter of the alphabet it will look like (L, V or W). […]

Firms in emerging markets fall to COVID-19

Economists associate the mass distress of firms during recessions with Joseph Schumpeter’s creative destruction theory, which says that during downturns small, less efficient, younger firms are the ones to exit the market. Their exit allows for more efficient firms to expand, lifting overall productivity. In a global pandemic like COVID, however, this theory may be on less certain grounds, […]

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    Las aceleradoras de negocios pueden ayudar a identificar y acelerar el crecimiento de “gacelas” en países en desarrollo (vídeo)

Las aceleradoras de negocios pueden ayudar a identificar y acelerar el crecimiento de “gacelas” en países en desarrollo (vídeo)

Durante las últimas décadas se ha evidenciado un aumento sin precedentes en el número de organizaciones que apoyan el crecimiento de emprendimientos innovadores. Estas aceleradoras de negocios buscan identificar y apoyar a emprendimientos con potencial trasformador que puedan escalar rápidamente y convertirse en líderes de su sector a nivel nacional o internacional.

Aunque se sabe de la importancia de esta […]

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    Business accelerators can help identify and boost “gazelles” in developing countries (video)

Business accelerators can help identify and boost “gazelles” in developing countries (video)

The last few decades have seen an unprecedented increase in the number of organisations supporting innovative ventures. These business accelerators seek to identify and boost high-potential startups that can rapidly scale up to become national or global leaders.

Although the importance of high-potential startups—also known as “gazelles”—for economic development is well-known, the evidence regarding the impacts that support organisations have […]

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    Resource curses are more likely in fragmented authoritarian regimes

Resource curses are more likely in fragmented authoritarian regimes

Abundant natural resources like oil and gas rarely turn out to be a real blessing for a country. More frequently they distort economic policies, discourage entrepreneurial activity and ultimately suppress economic growth. Yet not all countries suffer from this resource curse to the same extent: some manage to escape it or even turn natural resources into a blessing. An […]

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    The impact of austerity policies in a country can be felt across its borders

The impact of austerity policies in a country can be felt across its borders

Government spending around the world is soaring in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Rising spending coupled with collapsing tax revenues could soon drive up fiscal deficits as well as government borrowing (Kapoor and Buiter, 2020), posing a potential threat to budget balances. The consequences of rising fiscal deficits and debt-to-GDP ratios would be severe if low interest rates were […]

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    Bankers knew the risks they were taking before the 2008 crisis

Bankers knew the risks they were taking before the 2008 crisis

Excessive risk-taking by banks is often associated with economic recession. A key question for policy and for the academic literature is why banks take excessive risk. There are two (non-mutually-exclusive) views. First, the moral hazard view implies that conflicts of interest (agency problems) between bank shareholders/managers and bank debt-holders/taxpayers make it rational for banks to take on excessive risk […]

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    Why we need to do something about the monopsony power of employers

Why we need to do something about the monopsony power of employers

You have almost certainly heard of monopoly, but less likely to have heard of monopsony. The literal definition of monopoly is a situation where there is only one seller of a product; though the term is used more loosely to refer to the case where there are a few sellers and not much competition between them. They have what […]

Why trade matters for African development

Trade is central to development in Africa. A long history of economic thought, theory and practice underpins this proposition. However, I do not seek to interrogate the foundational principles of international trade, but rather to highlight issues that underscore the key role of trade as a driver of growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. This is not automatic. It […]

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    Immigrants have a positive impact on wellbeing in host countries – expert panel

Immigrants have a positive impact on wellbeing in host countries – expert panel

In June 2020, panellists of the World Wellbeing Panel were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with two statements about migration: (i) “A large sudden influx of migrants with a very different culture to the host region will very likely reduce wellbeing of residents in the first few years of entry”; and (ii)  “the increased cultural diversity will, in the mid-term, increase residents’ […]

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    What can we expect from a ban on junk food price promotions?

What can we expect from a ban on junk food price promotions?

In its quest to fight the health implications brought by obesity, the UK government announced on 27 July that England will be banning “buy one get one free” (BOGOF) deal promotions on unhealthy food, as well as junk food adverts before 9 pm for the entire UK. In addition, it will hold two consultations, one on whether to stop fast […]

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    Dream jobs: managers in internationally active firms have higher lifetime wages

Dream jobs: managers in internationally active firms have higher lifetime wages

Understanding why certain jobs are better than others and what implications they have for workers’ career is clearly important. It is, however, not straightforward to identify and separate ‘good’ from ‘bad’ jobs. For example, most people would agree that, for an IT specialist, working for Google does represent a ‘good’ job in the sense that it provides a vibrant […]

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    How economists view the US debate on extending jobless benefits

How economists view the US debate on extending jobless benefits

Despite the latest GDP figures showing that the US economy had contracted nearly 10% in the second quarter and with unemployment numbers continuing to rise, there is still no resolution in Washington on whether the enhanced federal benefits for the jobless that expired Friday, 31 July, will be extended in some form.

We recently invited our panel to express their […]

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    China’s central bank has taken the lead in digital currencies. What does it mean for businesses?

China’s central bank has taken the lead in digital currencies. What does it mean for businesses?

As if Covid-19 and the trade war hasn’t done enough to upend global business between the US and China, yet another major transformation is afoot: the launch of China’s sovereign (i.e., central-bank offered) digital currency (CBDC). By “digital currencies” we mean financial transactions that are recorded on blockchain ledger and held in digital wallets. While Facebook’s Libra and other […]

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    Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

Why trade facilitation reform requires mainstreaming digital technologies

A country’s international logistics performance depends on the extent and modernity of its trade facilitation reform (World Bank, 2018). National trade facilitation committees (NTFCs) are an institutional obligation for members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) because they serve as multi-agency platforms for stakeholder engagement. These partnerships generate consensus via ‘national roadmaps’ to customise a country’s approach to update […]

Do skyscrapers make economic sense?

A hundred years ago, policymakers in New York were convinced that, “few skyscrapers pay large net returns…” and that, “the very tall buildings demand many things out of proportion to their increased bulk” (Heights of Buildings Commission, 1913).  Despite their sentiments, their belief in the death of the skyscraper was premature. The Empire State Building, which was viewed as […]