Category Archives:

economic growth

“The Wealth of Humans” by Ryan Avent. Our interview with the author and a chance to win his book.

Earlier this year we interviewed both Robert Gordon (here) and Martin Ford (here) about their books examining the impact of technology on the modern economy.  In the latest of our author interviews I talked to the Economist’s senior editor and economics columnist Ryan Avent about his new book, “The Wealth of Humans”, that develops this same theme.  In particular he looks at how we will be able …

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Armageddon fatigue: reasons to be optimistic in the longer term

Watching the news flow on the global economy is dispiriting. Ask an economist what springs to mind when they hear the word “Europe”. They will probably reply with thoughts about negative interest rates, deflation and debt concerns. It isn’t much better when you bring up the economic outlook for the US (“the upcoming election is a concern”), Japan (“the BoJ is at the limits of monetary policy”),…

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The periphery-core financing gap has been gradually closing

SME financing in Europe – not out of the woods yet

In 2013 I blogged about how financing conditions had tightened aggressively for small and medium sized corporates (SMEs) in peripheral Europe. Three years later, we’ve seen the introduction of targeted longer-term refinancing operations, QE, negative deposit rates and other efforts towards creating a financially united, cohesive, European banking union. Now feels like a good time to revisit thi…

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IMF/World Bank Autumn meeting notes

Recently Claudia and I were in Lima for the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Unsurprisingly (given the host nation and history of the meetings) the majority of sessions were on the developing world, in particular Latin America. Claudia will shortly be posting a series of more detailed blogs on the LATAM countries she visited, so I’ll focus more globally.

In aggregate, the IMF is predi…

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“Something Will Turn Up” by David Smith of the Sunday Times. Video and competition to win a copy of his book.

How did the UK go from a manufacturing powerhouse in the 1950s, to economic destitution in the 1970s?  Is the history of post-war UK economics one of policy mistake after policy mistake?  And are Britain’s political and financial institutions better placed today to make good, long term decisions than they were in the past?  In the latest of our series of interviews with authors of new economic …

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The greater the income share of the rich, the lower the savings rate

If you want to generate economic growth then encourage the rich to spend

In 1714, an Englishman called Bernard Mandeville published his poem entitled “The Fable of the Bees: or Private Vices, Public Benefits”. The satire was about a hive of prosperous bees that were living a life of luxury. One day, some of the bees began to grumble that their lifestyle lacked virtue and the bees subsequently turn away from greed and extravagance. This leads to a rapid loss of prosp…

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An interview with Diane Coyle: GDP A Brief but Affectionate History. And win a copy of the book.

One of my favourite economic reads of 2014 was Diane Coyle’s book about an economic statistic – GDP. Whilst monarchs had been trying to take inventories of the national wealth since the Doomsday Book and earlier (so they could tax it!), the idea that you should rigorously measure economic activity is under one hundred years old. But the concept of Gross Domestic Product has now become central …

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Europe needs a German fiscal stimulus package but won’t get it

The German government can theoretically borrow at negative yields if it were to issue short maturity debt today. Longer maturity debt is also yielding a record low amount. Could the collapse in yields be a blessing for Germany and Europe? Two economists at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seem to think so. Indeed, the German government’s narrow-minded pursuit of the “black zero” (a balance…

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Bretton Woods competition winners: 15 signed copies of Ed Conway’s The Summit go to…

The following 15 people correctly answered that President Richard Nixon effectively ended the Bretton Woods era in 1971 by suspending the convertibility of the US dollar into gold.  Thanks everyone for entering – we will contact the winners by email to arrange delivery of the book.  If you didn’t win, why not try the Bond Vigilantes Christmas Quiz

  1. Frank Markey – Wells Fargo
  2. Doug Brodie – Maste…

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Conservative QE and the zero bound.

It has been a while since we talked about QE, but we covered this substantially in the past (see for example ‘Sub Zero?’,  ‘QE – quite extraordinary‘ and ‘Quantitative easing – walking on custard‘). It now appears, at least for the time being, to be a part of monetary history in the UK, and more recently the US. However, it is being reapplied in Japan and about to do a grand tour of Europe. Our…

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