Blog

  • Permalink Gallery

    Change leaders can either create solutions or help people find their own

Change leaders can either create solutions or help people find their own

“Truth loves its limits, for here it meets the beautiful”, Rabindranath Tagore

Too much wasted effort in change ends up in busy action — launching lots of initiatives that create more work and never seem to stick — or fail to crack the nut of changing behaviour. It all feels (very) heavy. To assuage this situation, research and development in the […]

April 22nd, 2019|Leadership|0 Comments|

Shaping Cities in an Urban Age – Book Review

Shaping Cities in an Urban Age. Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode (eds). Phaidon Press. 2018.

Find this book: 

We are living in a truly urban world. The opening line of Shaping Cities in an Urban Age shows no doubt in stating that ‘urbanisation is one of the mega trends of the twenty-first century’ (8). Edited by Ricky Burdett and Philipp […]

April 21st, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

Preventing online harm

A new Online Harms White Paper, published jointly by the UK government’s Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport and the Home Office, calls for a new system of regulation for tech companies with the goal of preventing online harm. In brief, the paper (which outlines government proposals for consultation in advance of passing new legislation) calls for an independent […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Our digital malaise: distraction is costing us more than we think

Our digital malaise: distraction is costing us more than we think

Many of us are doing real work six or even five hours each day, while spending eight-plus hours “at work”, without realising the loss of time spent with family, on hobbies, exercise or energising side projects.

Instead of getting a full-day’s work accomplished, we’re losing productive time to interruptions from co-workers, needless meetings, and especially our perpetually pinging phones. The […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The economics of attractiveness: teenagers with acne do better in school and later in the labour market

The economics of attractiveness: teenagers with acne do better in school and later in the labour market

Acne has been the scourge of teenage boys and girls for as long as there have been teenagers. Indeed, acne is the eighth most common disease among humans, affecting nearly 650 million people worldwide. But might acne have a silver lining?

Economists are increasingly interested in the economic returns to physical attractiveness, an interest largely ignited by Hamermesh and Biddle […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Solar geoengineering: what if countries could move the earth’s thermostat?

Solar geoengineering: what if countries could move the earth’s thermostat?

Solar geoengineering (also known as solar radiation management) is a technology in its infancy – and it is controversial. It has the potential to reverse or mitigate some of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases by either releasing cooling particles (for instance sulphur) into the stratosphere, or by modifying clouds over the oceans so that they reflect more […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The cost of discrimination against senior Jewish managers in Nazi Germany

The cost of discrimination against senior Jewish managers in Nazi Germany

Talented individuals are often excluded from leadership positions if they belong to a group that faces discrimination. Such discrimination is, of course, extremely hurtful and unfair to the individuals. But is it also costly in a more general sense?

In particular, do corporations 
become less profitable when they adopt discriminatory attitudes and exclude highly qualified individuals from leadership roles? How […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    China’s shipbuilding industry: measuring the effect of industrial policy

China’s shipbuilding industry: measuring the effect of industrial policy

Industrial policies, broadly defined as policies that shape a country’s or region’s industry structure by either promoting or limiting certain industries or sectors, have been widely used in developed and developing countries. Historic examples include the U.S. and Europe after World War II, Japan in the 1950s and 1960s, South Korea and Taiwan in the 1960s and 1970s. Today, […]

April 15th, 2019|Economics|0 Comments|
  • Permalink Gallery

    The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era – Book Review

The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era – Book Review

The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era. Barry Eichengreen. Oxford University Press. 2018.

Find this book: 

Any project grounded in an analogy of times past with the present will likely be a good guide for the future, or perhaps it will rather be valued as the latest testimony to the historical ignorance of the current […]

April 14th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

‘Global Britain’: scripting the EU as an enemy

Like all things Brexit, Theresa May’s intention of building “Global Britain” outside the European Union has been controversial from the outset. Government ministers have expended a good deal of political capital championing “why Global Britain matters”, framing it as an exercise in creating an “outward-looking” country confidently meeting global challenges. For its advocates, Global Britain is about connecting with […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Five policies to deal with the loss of jobs to automation (UBI is not one of them)

Five policies to deal with the loss of jobs to automation (UBI is not one of them)

The potential threat of technological unemployment is one of the most hotly debated economic issues of our times: in boardrooms and trade union offices but also increasingly amongst policy-makers. The catch-all term ‘digital’ may have been added to numerous political concepts in recent years but beyond such branding there has been very little debate of substance about what a […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    In a world of mobility for firms and skilled labour, workers who can’t move pick up the tax bill

In a world of mobility for firms and skilled labour, workers who can’t move pick up the tax bill

For a long time, economists have known that rising globalisation can bring substantial aggregate gains, but also produce winners and losers. The source of this growing inequality may be heterogeneous effects on employment, wages, and prices. Trade barriers have been shrinking since the end of World War II, reaching its lowest levels in the years since the fall of […]

April 11th, 2019|Economics|0 Comments|

Do we even know what ‘follower’ means?

Ninety years have elapsed since Mary Parker Follett (1927) applied the term ‘follower’. The amount of literature based on the notions of follower and followership has increased enormously over the years. In an American leadership journal I found 1105 articles published on followers and followership, and in a European journal 439.

In a newly published article, I have argued that […]

April 10th, 2019|Leadership|1 Comment|

The value of having a view to a canal

Britain has an extensive canal and navigable river network, which played a vital role in transporting goods from the Industrial Revolution through the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. Their use for transporting freight had all but disappeared by the mid-20th century, and many had fallen into disrepair or been abandoned. Since then, the canal and […]

How to approach digital transformation

Digital transformation has gained buzzword status in businesses over the past few years with boards, investors, and other stakeholders demanding that initiatives in this area take flight. These demands come as no surprise when you consider that getting digital transformation right can have significant business impact, from boosting customer satisfaction, to improving business speed and agility, to increasing revenue […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    The Political Economy of Agricultural Booms: Managing Soybean Production in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay – Book Review

The Political Economy of Agricultural Booms: Managing Soybean Production in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay – Book Review

The Political Economy of Agricultural Booms: Managing Soybean Production in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. Mariano Turzi. Palgrave Pivot. 2018. 

Find this book: 

In The Political Economy of Agricultural Booms, Mariano Turzi creates and dissects an anatomy of soybean production in Latin America. Using the three case studies of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay to illustrate and contextualise his analysis of Latin America’s […]

April 7th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

The EU copyright directive creates new legal uncertainties

It is perhaps understandable that European lawmakers have large Internet companies in their sights. The Cambridge Analytica scandal and subsequent data breaches at Facebook led to admonishments and fines. Germany and France have passed laws on misinformation in the wake of findings that malicious actors could have exploited the way news stories are displayed and spread on sites like Twitter.

The recent and […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    Africa’s continental free trade area: progress and challenges

Africa’s continental free trade area: progress and challenges

The African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, on 18 March 2018. With Egypt’s parliamentary ratification, three weeks from the anniversary of the signing, 19 out of the required 22 ratifications are in hand, signalling that meeting the objective of ‘entry into force’ (30 days later) is within reach.

This is no mean feat given that […]

  • Permalink Gallery

    As the Phoenicians sailed across the Mediterranean, they spread mice and growth

As the Phoenicians sailed across the Mediterranean, they spread mice and growth

While economists extol the virtues of trade, advocates of free trade face stiff political headwinds these days. The economic ideas for the benefits of trade go back more than 200 years
 to Adam Smith and David Ricardo, but empirical evidence for these benefits has been much harder to come by and is much more recent.

In particular, empirical economists have […]

Bias and belief in meritocracy in AI and engineering

As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques increasingly leave engineering laboratories to be deployed as decision-making tools in Human Resources (HR) and related contexts, recognition of and concerns about the potential biases of these tools grows. These tools first learn and then uncritically and mechanically reproduce existing inequalities. Recent research shows that this uncritical reproduction is not a […]