It is the year 2060, and global warming has turned Britain’s climate warm and sunny — rum rather than whiskey is now distilled in Scotland, using sugar cane grown in the Outer Hebrides. Realising that true British culture could not thrive without year-round cold drizzle and grey skies, in 2020 a farsighted government launched Brexit-Ultra, the plan to quit […]
It has always been the case that the likelihood of policy failure is at least as high as policy success. But the currency of modern politics seems to be squarely that of failure – indeed major failure. The most prominent current British examples are Brexit, closely followed by Universal Credit, and now a new NHS Ten Year Planthat disavows the extensive […]
Why are some places richer than others? Economists offer many answers to this question ranging from better institutions to favourable geography to more education. Much of this research looks at differences across countries in the hope of identifying specific conditions that are present in rich countries but absent in poor countries.
But countries differ along many dimensions such as culture, […]
Industrial upgrading, which encompasses improvements in product quality, productivity and export performance among manufacturing firms, is a key driver of economic growth in developing and middle income countries. Yet despite its importance for policy choices, relatively little is known about the determinants of product upgrading at the micro level.
Our recent work aims to shed some light on this issue by […]
At the end of the month of November, France suddenly went into revolution mode. Cars were burned and barricades were erected on the Champs-Élysées in Paris and there were prolonged battles between the ‘forces de l’ordre’ and the demonstrators. Hundreds of people were injured and nine deaths have been attributed directly or indirectly to the movement which had a […]
Overall, a no-deal Brexit would be disruptive in the short-term:
There would be immediate very significant administrative and logistical challenges in trade. Preparations to reduce those disruptions are underway but are unlikely to be sufficient. But while Most-Favoured Nation tariffs will affect some sectors significantly, the macroeconomic effect on the German economy might not be huge.
If the UK […]
Cooperation is an essential aspect of life, from bacterial biofilms to social insects, and from friendships and workplace collaborations to environmental conservation, political participation, and international relations. Yet establishing cooperation in a competitive world suffers from two closely connected problems. For one, there is the risk for cooperators to be the “sucker”, i.e. one of the few people cooperating […]
The postponement of the parliamentary vote on the withdrawal agreement until the middle of January has led to accusations that Theresa May is ‘running down the clock’ on Brexit. By scheduling it close to the latest possible date, MPs’ ‘meaningful vote’ is rendered rather meaningless, given the acute shortage of time to develop alternatives should the agreement fail to […]
Low output per worker goes together with low levels of schooling, cognitive test results, and health indicators, leading naturally to the conjecture that low levels of human capital are responsible for low levels of income. This conjecture has contributed to motivate several decades of international focus on policies aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of schooling, as well […]
What explains the contemporary spatial distribution of Muslim communities worldwide? Our study’s contribution is twofold.
First, we investigate the role that ancient trade routes have played in facilitating the spread of Islam. Motivated by numerous case studies on the historical relationship between trade and Islam, we construct detailed data on pre-Islamic trade routes, ports and harbours, and establish that proximity […]
One would be hard-pressed to find many commentators ready to say Europe’s manufacturing industry is coasting. Rather, the last decades have been quite competent at throwing several challenges towards our economic model. The 2018 European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) Conference “The World(s) of Work in Transition” managed to name a few: Climate change, demographic transitions, digitalisation, automation and finally the nexus […]
Department stores have experienced a dramatic decline in fortunes in the last decade or so. One hundred years ago, they were the epitome of modern retailing and throughout the twentieth century they were the lynchpin of high streets and the anchor for shopping malls. But now they seem in terminal decline across the globe: La Samaritaine, the luxurious Parisian […]
In a recent survey paper, Goldberg and Pavcnik (2016) note that trade economists have moved away from studying the impact of trade policy. Concluding that this may reflect the fact that trade policy has become so liberal, they ask a straightforward question: “Does trade policy matter?”, Indeed did it ever matter?
With Brexit looming, and protectionist pressures mounting elsewhere in […]
A key component of the EU’s single market is its digital single market (DSM), which has been a particularly important for the UK. Currently, the UK’s largest export market for digital services is Europe and the DSM enables access to European markets. Brexit is expected to affect the UK substantially in the areas of broadcasting, creative content production, data […]
Patents are open letters (litterae patentae) that act as property deeds. Similar to a land survey they pen down and describe an idea in detail with the aim of demarcating its borders. In exchange for such full disclosure the innovator gets the right to exclude unauthorized use for 20 years.
Patents are a relatively new instrument that was first introduced […]
It is difficult to pick up a major business publication today without reading about how venture capital and venture capitalists develop unicorn ventures, privately held start-ups valued at over $1 billion. This publicity prompts entrepreneurs to ask how to get VC, rather than if they should even seek it, or when.
The reality is that very few get VC
Venture capitalists […]
The staggering fortunes created by unicorn tech startups has led to a pursuit of the entrepreneurial dream. But while many people pursue the entrepreneurial dream, many more remain wantrepreneurs – dreaming the dream, but never taking the steps to make it a reality. One factor often cited (though by no means the only one) is the fear of failure […]
In a 2010 speech, then-Prime Minister David Cameron questioned whether the United Kingdom’s dependence on the success of just a few prosperous places was economically wise. “Today our economy is heavily reliant on just a few industries and a few regions,” he said, adding: “An economy with such a narrow foundation for growth is fundamentally unstable and wasteful – because we are […]
Why are specialised employers, more than generalist firms, interested in preserving good matches? My recent paper looks at adverse exogenous shocks and suggests that specific human capital investments can become a protection for employees. Building on Wasmer (2006) and Pissarides (2011), the hypothesis is that the specialised employer is keen to locate and preserve employees because it is costly […]