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Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists
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18 сентября, 00:00

Banking reform nine years on

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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 column argues that while it represents a huge improvement on Basel II, Basel III should be seen as a staging post, not an end-point, and built upon in the years ahead.

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18 сентября, 00:00

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 efficiency, with ‘honest’ firms – typically foreign-owned and/or with female CEOs – penalised even more.

18 сентября, 00:00

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

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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 the late 1920s/early 1930s had also higher vote shares for the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland party in 2016/17 state elections, suggesting that historical persistence, together with a major shift in the German political landscape, can explain the rise of far-right populism.

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18 сентября, 00:00

Fundamental errors in the voting booth

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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 re-election. Although this mistake can improve politicians’ incentives in ordinary times, the theory also explains lack of institutional reform and poor institutional choices, such as decreased demand for a free press and preferences for dictatorship.

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17 сентября, 00:00

Genetic diversity in high school and later-life outcomes

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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 years of schooling, and higher job prestige and income. Students from more genetically diverse schools score higher on indexes of openness and extraversion.

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16 сентября, 00:00

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

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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 in a global recession. The model suggests that if the source of the shock is abroad and foreign interest rates become constrained at their zero lower bound, then flexible exchange rates do provide a great deal of insulation to the domestic economy.

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16 сентября, 00:00

The midlife low in human beings

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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 to a midlife low which is apparently substantial and not minor. This puzzling phenomenon seems an important and fundamental one, and its existence should not be ignored.

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15 сентября, 00:00

Effect of fertility on mothers’ labour supply

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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 is that as countries develop, women’s labour supply becomes more responsive to additional children. The global decline in fertility over the last century has played a positive role in increasing women’s work in developed countries, but a negligible one in developing countries.

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15 сентября, 00:00

Artificial intelligence in service business operations

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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 sustainably only if systems are in place to collect relevant data, and AI is not adopted for its own sake.

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15 сентября, 00:00

Global poverty revisited

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Past studies have measured poverty in either relative terms (mostly in the developed countries) or absolute terms (the developing world). 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 poverty has declined more in absolute terms than in relative terms. The vast bulk of the relatively poor now live in the developing world. The advanced countries have seen little progress against poverty, unlike the developing world.

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14 сентября, 00:00

Inefficient short-time work

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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 primarily benefited large firms using short-time work recurrently to deal with seasonal fluctuations. Making employers contribute to the cost of short-time work would make the policy more efficient.

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14 сентября, 00:00

Market liquidity after the financial crisis

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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 little evidence of a wide-spread deterioration in market liquidity. Liquidity remained resilient even during stress events like the 2013 ‘temper tantrum’.