Key finance concepts: exchange rates

Exchange rates are among the most important macrofinancial prices, influencing many aspects of an economy. This post introduces exchange rates and their importance for macroeconomic adjustment * What is an exchange rate? An exchange rate is a ratio, the price of one currency relative to another. All prices are ratios, but normally they’re expressed in… Continue Reading

Letter from Guangxi

The second week of my recent China trip was spent in the hot, green and rapidly developing southern province of Guangxi. * My trips to China are usually to the Tier 1 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and more rarely to Guangzhou. In these places you see the full achievement of the country’s remarkable economic development.… Continue Reading

Letter from Dublin

The last time I was in Dublin, a few years ago, it was in the company of a woman I was in love with, the sun was shining (at least in my memory) and we were on holiday. My latest trip, to give a talk to the annual Energy Ireland conference, where the delegates’ suits were… Continue Reading

Some modestly good news in the energy world

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy was published last week. It contains two pieces of particularly encouraging information. First. in 2015 coal demand fell sharply. Second, carbon emissions from energy rose at the slowest rate for 25 years (other than the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis). The report is summarised by BP’s group chief… Continue Reading

Tragedy or comedy? The story of nuclear power in the UK

Here is the main version of the talk I’ve given about my book on the history of nuclear power in Britain. I’ve given (or will give) versions at:  China Center for Energy Economics, Xiamen University; Pangoal think tank, Beijing; Cambridge University Energy Network; Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group; Cambridge Judge Business School; the British Academy,… Continue Reading

Rising monopoly power may partly explain US inequality and productivity slowdown

A new theme in explaining slow growth and productivity and rising inequality: greater monopoly power in the US. * I’ve been thinking about my forthcoming teaching for the Cambridge Advanced Leadership Programme in June, which is always an interesting session, with a lively and challenging group of delegates from across the world. I try to… Continue Reading

Further thoughts on the Hinkley Point C nuclear project

In recent weeks I’ve written two articles explaining why I believe that the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power project should be abandoned (though it still seems at present reasonably likely that the French government will proceed). The Guardian: Hinkley Point is a costly mistake, but only France can pull the plug Prospect Magazine: The folly of… Continue Reading

IMF study: corporate profitability positively associated with women in senior positions

On International Women’s Day it’s nice to report some more interesting research from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), this time showing that gender diversity in senior corporate positions is positively associated with corporate profitability. * The IMF authors (Lone Christiansen, Huidan Lin, Joana Pereira, Petia Topalova and Rima Turk) studied the gender diversity and profitability… Continue Reading

Why Hinkley Point C is in trouble

The world’s most expensive power station project, a new nuclear reactor at Hinkley Point C in the UK, still hasn’t reached financial close, despite backing from the UK, French and Chinese governments. It might be best for the UK if it never does. The full story is told in my new book The Fall and… Continue Reading