VoxEU (37)

Ideas aren't running out, but they are getting more expensive to find

The rate of productivity growth in advanced economies has been falling. Optimists hope for a fourth industrial revolution, while pessimists lament that most potential productivity growth has already occurred. This column argues that data on the research effort across all industries shows the costs ...

An empirical analysis of peer-to-peer lending

Over the past decade, there has been substantial growth in peer-to-peer lending through digital platforms, which come with unique benefits and risks compared with traditional funding and investment instruments. This column presents an empirical analysis of the two largest platforms in the US. The ...

The rise of robots in the German labour market

Recent research has shown that industrial robots have caused severe job and earnings losses in the US. This column explores the impact of robots on the labour market in Germany, which has many more robots than the US and a much larger manufacturing employment share. Robots have had no aggregate ...

Banking reform nine years on

The general opinion expressed by those in the financial sector and its regulators is that reform since 2008 has got us to about the right place in terms of limits on bank leverage. But the majority view of economists outside the financial sector is that Basel III goes nowhere near far enough. This ...

Firm efficiency, foreign ownership, and CEO gender in corrupt environments

Bribery and corruption still present a significant cost to many countries today. This column examines how the efficiency of Eastern European private firms is affected by the level of corruption in their operating environment. An environment of high corruption has an adverse effect on firm ...

Fundamental errors in the voting booth

Psychologists have long documented that we over-attribute people's actions to innate characteristics rather than to circumstances. This column shows that when we commit this 'fundamental attribution error' as voters, we over-ascribe politicians´ success to personal characteristics that merit ...

Alternative fĂĽr Deutschland's electoral success: The shadow of Nazi voting

Economists and political scientists alike have tried to provide explanations for the rise of populist parties across the globe. This column examines the role of history in explaining the recent rise of the far-right in Germany. It finds that municipalities with high vote shares for the Nazi party in ...

Firm efficiency, foreign ownership, and CEO gender

Bribery and corruption still present a significant cost to many countries today. This column examines how the efficiency of Eastern European private firms is affected by the level of corruption in their operating environment. An environment of high corruption has an adverse effect on firm ...

Genetic diversity in high school and later-life outcomes

While diversity can lead to more innovation and better problem solving, it can also cause competition and conflict. This column examines the effect of genetic diversity among high school students in Wisconsin on their socioeconomic outcomes later in life. Genetic diversity is associated with more ...

The midlife low in human beings

Most textbooks in social psychology teach students the idea that happiness and psychological wellbeing are essentially independent of age. Based on data on 1.3 million randomly sampled individuals across a large number of countries, this column argues instead that humans have a fundamental tendency ...

In a Great Recession, the case for flexible exchange rates is alive and well

The classic rationale for flexible exchange rates was that policymakers would be unconstrained by currency targets. The Great Recession, however, saw numerous central banks constrained instead by the zero lower bound. This column considers which exchange rate regime is best for small open economies ...

Global poverty revisited

Past studies have measured poverty in either relative terms or absolute terms . This column presents a new unified approach to global poverty that assumes that people care about both their own income and their income relative to others in their country of residence. The study finds that global ...

Global poverty revisited

Existing studies have tended to measure poverty in either relative or absolute terms. This column presents a new model that assumes individuals care both about their income relative to others and their absolute standard of living. An application of this model suggests that global poverty has ...

Artificial intelligence in service business operations

The latest AI boom that started in 2012 shows no signs of fading, thanks to the recent availability of big data and widespread adoption of deep learning technologies. This column argues that this new combination of data and technology offers an unprecedented opportunity for society. AI will develop ...

Effect of fertility on mothers' labour supply

Women's fertility and labour supply decisions are made simultaneously, making it difficult to identify the effect of the former on the latter. This column explores the relationship using a dataset spanning 200 years and 103 countries, leveraging twin births to isolate causal effects. The key finding ...

Market liquidity after the financial crisis

The potential adverse effects of regulation on market liquidity in the post-crisis period continue to receive significant attention. This column shows that dealer balance sheets have continued to stagnate and that various measures point to less abundant funding liquidity. Nonetheless, there is ...

Inefficient short-time work

Short-time work reduces job destruction by subsidising firms to reduce hours of work and provide earnings support to workers facing lower hours. Since 2008, firms in France that stand to benefit have lobbied successfully to expand the programme massively. This column argues that the expansion ...

Ethnic discrimination is also a matter of taste

Studies have shown that ethnic discrimination occurs in many countries across Europe and the rest of the world, but distinguishing between discrimination based on 'stereotypes' and on 'tastes' is difficult. This column presents results from an experiment in the Netherlands that isolated taste-based ...

Aid for Trade and trade in services

Research on the effects of Aid for Trade has focused mostly on merchandise trade and investment in developing countries. This column discusses the relationship between Aid for Trade and trade in services and finds that while most Aid for Trade is allocated to service sectors, this is not associated ...

Corporate governance and organised crime in Italy

Economic theory doesn't provide a clear prediction on how a firm's performance will be affected if some of its board members have ties to organised crime. This column explores this issue using a unique Italian dataset that includes confidential information about ongoing investigations. Seven percent ...

The role of the government in providing long-term care

Long-term care services are at the forefront of a new wave of reforms extending public intervention into healthcare, but it is unclear how the government should intervene to fund and organise such services. This column suggests some strengths and weaknesses of public financing and organisation of ...

Headline inflation measures shouldn't ignore costs of home ownership

Seven out of every ten Europeans live in their own homes, yet Europe's most important inflation measure excludes the costs associated with owner-occupied housing. This column argues that including the costs of home ownership would prove beneficial to the conduct of monetary and macroprudential ...

Why loan syndication is a risky business

Syndicated loan issuance has grown dramatically over the last 25 years. Over the period, the syndicated loan business model has evolved, affecting the nature of the associated risks that arranging banks are exposed to. This column introduces the concept of 'pipeline' risk –the risk associated with ...

The myth of surplus peasants and China's growth

The conventional wisdom is that labour reallocation has been a key driver of China's growth miracle, and slowing migrant labour flows and rapid wage growth have raised concerns over whether this source of growth has run its course. This column argues that the literature on growth and labour ...

Methods for pricing options in the 19th century

Option trading has grown phenomenally in the last 40 years, but option markets have existed since the early 17th century. This column reviews an option trading manual written by a London trader in 1906. It shows that traders in the 19th century developed sophisticated techniques for determining the ...

China's hidden shipbuilding subsidies

China's shipbuilders have doubled their market share in recent years. It is hard to determine the role of industrial policy, particularly subsidies, in this because we do not know what policies are in place. This column argues that subsidies decreased shipyard costs in China by between 13% and 20% ...

Electoral gender quotas fail to empower women

Several countries in the EU have adopted gender quotas that regulate the composition of electoral lists in an attempt to address the underrepresentation of women in political institutions. This column examines the effect of the introduction of gender quotas in local elections in Spain. While the ...

Routinisation, globalisation, and the fall in labour's share of income

In both developing and advanced economies, labour's share of income has been declining since the 1970s, presenting a puzzle for classical trade theory. This column proposes that the globalisation of trade and 'routinisation' of tasks can reconcile declining labour shares in both advanced and ...

The relationship between mutual fund firms and their key employees

Empirical analysis of mutual funds has focused on the relationship between funds and fund investors, and little is known about the nature of compensation contracts between firms and managers. This column uses Swedish data to provide novel insights on the relationship between mutual fund firms and ...

Social connectedness: Measurement, determinants, and effects

Systematic analyses of social connectedness and social networks have traditionally been complicated by a lack of high-quality, large-scale data. This column uses data on friendship links on Facebook to construct a new measure of social connectedness between US counties, and between US counties and ...

How independent directors shape cartel prosecutions

Strategies for cartel detection and prosecution differ across countries. This column uses a US dataset to show that independent directors of cartel-indicted firms favour the implementation of corrective actions in order to mitigate damage to their personal reputations. Firms with a larger fraction ...

The China Shock: Why Germany is different

Previous research has shown that China's entry into the WTO in 2001 has had a profound impact on jobs and wages of low-skilled workers in the US in sectors exposed to Chinese imports. The same is not true for Germany. This column argues this is because the import-side trade adjustment to low-cost ...

Whistleblowers on the board: The role of independent directors in cartel prosecutions

Strategies for cartel detection and prosecution differ across countries. This column uses a US dataset to show that independent directors of cartel-indicted firms favour the implementation of corrective actions in order to mitigate damage to their personal reputations. Firms with a larger fraction ...

A new paradigm for the introductory course in economics

Our intro courses fail to reflect the dramatic advances in economics – concerning information problems and strategic interactions, for example – since Samuelson's paradigm-setting 1948 textbook. Missing, too, is any sustained engagement with new problems we now confront and on which economics ...

The economic consequences of Mr Kim's threats

Kim Jong Un's dictatorship has grabbed the attention of the whole world with its nuclear brinkmanship – and global markets have responded with a flight to safe-haven assets. This column reports research showing that such an escalation in international tensions can also have real effects for the US ...

US trade wars with emerging countries in the 21st century

During his election campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly announced that he would impose tariffs on imports from China, Mexico, and Germany. This column evaluates the likely outcomes should the US instigate trade wars by imposing such tariffs. In all scenarios, the net effect on US welfare and GDP is ...

Helping people make better financial decisions: From insight to empowerment

Although we like to see ourselves as sensible and logical decision-makers, studies show that our decisions are driven by many other factors. The Think Forward Initiative is exploring how people can be empowered to make better financial decisions. This column summarises findings presented at the ...