Category Archives: Economics

Trade and the global economy

In part of my new MFin elective Understanding the Global Economy and Financial System I explore the changing views of economists on international trade, which has been one of the most powerful causes of global economic growth over centuries. * The traditional view of trade – correct but incomplete The reason why trade works is specialisation. If… Continue Reading

Why are some countries richer than others?

The first part of my new MFin elective Understanding the World Economy and Financial System next term will explore the question, why are some countries richer than others? * One of the most important, interesting but hotly contested questions in economics is, why are some countries richer than others? The world is astonishingly unequal; the life… Continue Reading

What is helicopter money?

The possibility that central banks might resort to extreme monetary measures, including helicopter money, is much debated in monetary policy circles. But what is “helicopter money”? * In normal times, central banks in developed countries try to control inflation and the level of economic activity by controlling the short term interest rate. But since the… Continue Reading

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

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

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

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

Some mostly good news on gender equality

Women’s access to health, education, economic opportunity and political power have been improving but the picture is very uneven geographically. Although most indicators improve with economic development the variation shows that a lot can be done even before countries reach western living standards. * Those who think of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as mainly… Continue Reading