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    Measuring the effect of innovation on productivity inside firms

Measuring the effect of innovation on productivity inside firms

The role of innovation in explaining economic performance has been a focus of economic research for decades, and many questions remain unanswered. One of the main challenges is how we measure innovation. Only by improving the information we have at the firm level can we say something about the links between productivity, firm performance and the implementation of new ideas. In […]

A free market for medical care? It’s been tried

Even the most open of market economies accepts professional monopolies. Clients hand over decision-making to doctors and lawyers based on reputations for expert knowledge and reliable practice. And governments protect professionals against competition from frauds as well as unlicensed practitioners. All of this stands in contrast to, say, the market for widgets, where the customer is always right and […]

When to stop high-tech mergers

Are you worried about big businesses and monopoly? Perhaps you should be, because they can charge you high prices and give you low-quality services. That’s why we have antitrust law in America and competition policy in Europe to stop companies from buying up each other and merging into monopoly.

But that’s not the whole story. Technologies come and go, taking […]

October 1st, 2019|Economics|0 Comments|
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    Current economic theory can’t deal with our socio-ecological predicament

Current economic theory can’t deal with our socio-ecological predicament

The UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019, out in September, is the latest significant international science-based synthesis report to call for an urgent transformation of current socio-environmental-economic systems. The report draws on recent advances in the natural sciences and maintains that the negative trends in climate change and biodiversity loss presage the crossing of ecosystem tipping points, which […]

September 30th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|

Social Mobility and its Enemies – Book Review

Social Mobility and its Enemies. Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin. Pelican. 2018.

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Have you ever wondered why those at the top tend to come from the same backgrounds? Or how severe the social mobility crisis in Britain really is—and what has, and continues to, cause it? If so, then Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin’s recent […]

September 29th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

Farmers will be vulnerable under a no-deal Brexit

The countryside is generally perceived as a quiet and restrained place, and yet it has a long history of rebellion, riots and uprising in response to external pressures and changes. The Rebecca Riots in west and mid-Wales which lasted from 1839 to 1843 have gone down in history as a period where farmers took direct action at the perceived […]

September 28th, 2019|Economics|0 Comments|
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    Insurers need to extend climate risk disclosure to customers

Insurers need to extend climate risk disclosure to customers

Climate risk disclosure has advanced rapidly over the last four years, since governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney highlighted the risks of climate change to the finance and insurance industries in his Tragedy of the Horizon speech. The focus on climate risk disclosure has driven demand for physical climate risk analytics in a range of sectors, spurred on largely […]

Is there success after a career in sport is over?

As England basks in a glorious summer of cricket and presently, for those interested, look forward to the rugby world cup in Japan, it becomes clear how sport as a form of entertainment and a multi-billion dollar industry can capture public imagination. However, for every Ben Stokes, Lionel Messi or Lebron James there are thousands of elite athletes across […]

September 26th, 2019|Career & Success|0 Comments|

Openness to trade saved the Irish economy

The remarkable recovery in the Irish economy since 2013 has surprised many observers. Having been particularly affected by the international financial crisis of 2007/08, Irish economic activity has grown significantly since 2013, outpacing the rest of the euro area.

The emergence of the “Celtic Tiger” in the mid-1990s had been driven by an increasing reliance on trade. However, a property-related […]

September 25th, 2019|Economics|0 Comments|
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    How digital businesses can leverage the high cost for consumers to switch platforms

How digital businesses can leverage the high cost for consumers to switch platforms

As industry boundaries are reshaped by digitisation, firms are developing more continuous and open-ended relationships with stakeholders as well as more intense coordination among firm functions across the value chain. However, strategically responding to the new digital landscape requires rethinking how digital business models can most securely lock-in customers. I argue that, when coupled with other foundational digital strategies, […]

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    Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Hidden in plain sight: the ghost in the automation and future of work debate

Looking at the big picture it is not easy to pick your way through the media representations of the debate around automation, robots and the future of work. Sources and multiple studies are, in fact, very variable in quality, evidence and rigour. Nevertheless, media narratives seem to polarise around two storylines — hype or fear. “Hype” tells us that […]

The Psychology of Fashion – Book Review

The Psychology of Fashion. Carolyn Mair. Routledge. 2018.

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You may not be into fashion, but you cannot escape fashion consumption. Fashion is an important way that we present ourselves to the world in our everyday life (Erving Goffman, 1956). As consumer culture conquers the world, fashion is not a peripheral, frivolous matter; rather, it holds more individual meanings […]

September 22nd, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|

Behind every successful man…

In June 2019, journalist Anne Helen Petersen tweeted a screenshot of the acknowledgements section of the book Downsizing in America (New York: Russell Sage, 2003). In it, the book’s authors – William J. Baumol, Alan S. Blinder, and Edward N. Wolff – thank Sue Anne Batey Blackman for her contributions, stating that she was “a coauthor in all but name.” […]

September 21st, 2019|Gender|0 Comments|

The efficiency of the IPO market: homo economicus lives

In the initial public offering (IPO) market, sophisticated issuers with considerable sums at stake acquire underwriting services from a large number of capable and highly competitive investment banks. Neoclassical economics implies that such a market will (well, really, must) reach an efficient equilibrium. Yet, in practice, the IPO market has a number of highly unusual features that has led […]

Bitcoin: from currency to investment

While attending the 2019 American Sociological Association annual conference in New York, I came across an advertisement that nicely captures the competing visions within the bitcoin community. The ad (Figure 1) depicts a scene from the American Revolution, illustrated in pointillist style to evoke American paper currency. A slogan, “The revolution needs rules,” overlays a throng of white men, each […]

The potential dark side of teamwork

Most work today is done in teams where employees collaborate, discuss new ideas, and share responsibilities for specific goals. While this leads to a lot of good – like greater productivity and performance – teamwork can also be demanding and cause a lot of frustration. There are coordination costs to managing teams, as well as interpersonal conflicts that put […]

The road to zero emissions

War-games are old hat. Destroying a tank, a battalion, even an army, pales to insignificance compared to laying waste to an entire planet in the global heating game. Let us say, the dial to climate catastrophe is measured in parts of atmospheric carbon per million (ppm). Before the industrial era, the dial stayed at 280 ppm for millions of […]

September 17th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|
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    Why are some executives paid mostly in salary, while others in bonus?

Why are some executives paid mostly in salary, while others in bonus?

In 2016 Dave Barnes, chief information and global business services officer of UPS, received a salary of $491,000 and a bonus payment of $251,000, while Pawan Verma, chief information and customer experience officer at Foot Locker, had a salary of $216,000 and a bonus of $664,000. Why in one case did the CIO receive the majority of his compensation in salary, […]

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    The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation – Book Review

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation – Book Review

The Technology Trap: Capital, Labour and Power in the Age of Automation. Carl Benedikt Frey. Princeton University Press. 2019.

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It seems that barely a month can pass without new forecasts of technology-induced job losses hitting the front pages. The Office for National Statistics are at it, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); the […]

September 15th, 2019|Book Review|0 Comments|
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    Floods of money may not be the most effective tool against fires in the Amazon

Floods of money may not be the most effective tool against fires in the Amazon

The Brazilian Amazon is in flames again. At the meeting of the G-7 in late August, France’s President Emmanuel Macron led the way in pledging millions of euros to help put out the fires. Canada, the United Kingdom, and others have followed suit. But what can this unusually generous impulse achieve? Can the floods of international money put out […]

September 14th, 2019|Environment|0 Comments|