LSE Authors

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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    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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    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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    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 […]

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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 […]

The future of work: opportunities for a gender new deal

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have sparked renewed fears regarding the future of work. One widely discussed solution to this perceived problem is a universal basic income (UBI), provoking debates about the justice, efficiency and political feasibility of such an entitlement, whether such an income should be conditional, and how to ensure that it mitigates rather than exacerbates gender  […]

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    If the UK is high tech, why is productivity growth slow? Economists weigh in

If the UK is high tech, why is productivity growth slow? Economists weigh in

The UK has seen slow rates of productivity growth over the past decade, with output per hour and real wages no higher today than they were prior to the global financial crisis. The February 2020 Centre for Macroeconomics (CFM) survey asked its panel of top UK economists about the causes of and possible policy responses to slow growth in UK […]

Does more competition spur innovation or discourage it?

Increased levels of global trade integration, especially driven by the rise of China, have led to a fierce public debate about the winners and losers from international trade. Recently, calls for protectionism have become louder in many countries, leading to a backlash against globalisation (OECD 2017).

When it comes to firms, the increase in import competition has led researchers to […]

Are recruiting practices throwing away neurodiverse talent?

In their quest for talent, companies conduct hundreds of thousands of competency-based interviews each year. Despite some criticism, competency-based interviews are regarded by many companies as the best way to assess whether a job candidate would perform successfully in the position for which they interview.

Competencies represent a combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes and behaviours that enable an individual […]

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    In conversation with David Willetts on ‘the deeper failure to understand the value of social science’

In conversation with David Willetts on ‘the deeper failure to understand the value of social science’

Universities play a key role in producing innovation. Most of the investment centres in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), even though the social sciences produce a body of knowledge that is of key value to society. A group of UK universities (LSE, Manchester, Sussex, Oxford, Sheffield, Cardiff, and Glasgow) have created ASPECT, a consortium to test and prove the […]

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    Technology can benefit a few superstar workers, at the expense of everyone else

Technology can benefit a few superstar workers, at the expense of everyone else

Technical change is disrupting many labour markets and is re-shaping the world of work. A widespread fear is that new technologies generate winner-take-all labour markets that benefit a small group of superstars, at the expense of the majority of the workforce. These so-called “superstar effects” arise when technologies open up bigger markets and make it possible to reach consumers […]

How to negotiate more effectively: six useful tips

Negotiation is as critical a business skill today as it has ever been. And it’s something that none of us can avoid. Whether it’s determining the terms of a new deal, overcoming conflict with colleagues or partners, or settling a dispute, negotiating is part of the day-to-day dynamic of our professional lives. In negotiations, every party has distinct interests […]

What we know and don’t know about Huawei

In recent weeks I have frequently been asked about what we should think about the policies and publicity that embroils Huawei. This is because I have been conducting research into them and many other Chinese digital economy companies for some years and have had unprecedented and greatly appreciated access to much of the company’s staff, records and facilities. The […]

Is it time to retire the word ‘robot’?

“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’ – Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland.

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland, Humpty Dumpty is a wordsmith focused on making the most of his vocabulary. He not only recites but explains poetry to […]

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    Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

Building your competitive strategy? It’s all down to methodology

In late 2019, headlines around the world trumpeted the collapse of global travel giant Thomas Cook. Amid news of stranded families and freshly-redundant airline pilots volunteering to bring people home for no pay, what most onlookers and pundits alike wanted to know was: what went wrong? How could an organisation with 19 million customers, 22,000 staff in 16 countries […]

Brexit: mourning the economic and personal damage

Britain has left the European Union (EU). The loss I feel is almost as much as when my father died, almost a quarter of a century ago. He was 16 when he came to Britain with my grandfather, who was a South African political refugee. After completing his UK national service, he married the daughter of a Merseyside dockworker. […]

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    The UK has the world’s 9th most resilient labour market, but things are not as rosy as they seem

The UK has the world’s 9th most resilient labour market, but things are not as rosy as they seem

UK’s labour market continues to show resilience – but all is not as rosy as it seems. A recent analysis of labour market trends by The Institute for the Future of Work reveals strengths and weaknesses that should help plans to ‘level up’ the regions. The analysis supports the case for increased devolution; ‘mega-city’ networks connecting cities with surrounding […]

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    Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

Employees: the missing link between stakeholder capitalism’s pledges and metrics

On the eve of the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos, I wrote about the need for well-intentioned corporations seeking to lead a new era of stakeholder capitalism to convincingly separate themselves from the also-ran. By the end of the week in Davos, I was pleased to see businesses race against each other to forcefully signal their […]

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    Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

Under pressure from consumers and employees, firms now compete for the most fragile commodity: goodwill

The history of business is the history of human beings trading with each other; discovering efficiencies of scale and comparative advantage, creating surplus, investing capital, and building infrastructure. In its purest form, capitalism is a sort of social and cultural glue. It’s about markets and money, trade and competition, risk and reward. It’s about the allocation of resources to […]