Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

socio economic

The IMF and global exchange rates: dissensus in Washington

In many scholarly and activist circles, the International Monetary Fund (IMF, or ‘the Fund’) has a reputation as a global bully. The phrase ‘Washington consensus’ has come to invoke a rigid orthodoxy of austerity and liberalization which the Fund, along with its cousins the World Bank and the US Treasury, imposes on developing countries. As an organization, the IMF is seemingly monolithic, drawing comparison to the Vatican even amongst its own staff.

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Climate and the inequality of nations

Countries grow richer as one moves away from the equator, and the same is generally true if one looks at differences among regions within countries. However, this was not always the case: research has shown that in 1500 C.E., for example, there was no such positive link between latitude and prosperity. Can these irregularities be explained? It seems likely an answer can be found in factors strongly associated with latitude.

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Why e-cigarettes have an image problem

E-cigarettes have an image problem. I mean this in two different ways. They are still seen as controversial products, often featuring in dramatic stories about battery explosions or toxic substances. Most of these stories play on public fears, exaggerate their claims, and are unhelpful for fostering a constructive public debate. But more generally, e-cigarettes have an image problem in that no one agrees on what they represent.

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Jones-Societies under siege

The questionable logic of international economic sanctions

Whatever the international crisis – whether inter-state war (Russia-Ukraine), civil strife (Syria), nuclear proliferation (North Korea), gross violations of human rights (Israel), or violent non-state actors on the rampage (ISIS, al-Qaeda) – governments, pundits and NGOs always seem to formulate the same response: impose economic sanctions. In the mid-20th century, only five countries were targeted by sanctions; by 2000, 50 were.

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“The economics of happiness” – an extract from Happiness Explained

What is happiness and how can we promote it? These questions are central to human existence and human flourishing now plays a central role in the assessment of national and global progress. Paul Anand shows why the traditional national income approach is limited as a measure of human wellbeing and demonstrates how the contributors to happiness, wellbeing, and quality of life can be measured and understood across the human life course. The following extract looks at the connection between income and wellbeing.

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Special category states of India

There are eleven diverse hill states in India which comprise the group of “Special Category States.” They all suffer from the disadvantages that result from remoteness and geographical isolation, as well as historical and demographic circumstances. In addition to pathetic infrastructures, scant resources, unrealized human potential, and stymied economic growth, these states also represented various groups of marginalized minorities.

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African studies: a reading list

frican Studies focuses on the rich culture, history and society of the continent, however the growing economies of African countries have become an increasingly significant topic in Economic literature. This month, The Centre for the Study of African Economies annual conference is taking place in Oxford. To raise further awareness of the growing importance of the study of African economics, we have created this reading list of books, journals and online resources that explore the varied areas of Africa and its economy.

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Long-term effects of slave exporting in West Africa

History matters. Historical events can sometimes have consequences that last long after the events have finished. An important part of Africa’s past is its history of slave exporting. Although Africa is not unique to the trading of slaves, the magnitude of slave exporting rose to levels not previously experienced anywhere else in the world.

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Location, location, location: Why the HSBC headquarters stayed in London

Last month HSBC, one of the world’s largest banks, decided not to move its headquarters from London to Hong Kong.The revelation that a company is staying put is usually not earth-shattering news. Nonetheless, HSBC’s decision made headlines in Asia, Europe, and the US for three reasons. First, HSBC is the world’s fifth largest commercial bank: it holds more than $2.5 trillion in assets and is exceeded in size only by four state-owned Chinese banks.

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africa economics-Monga vol 1

Africa’s intellectual influence

A few years ago when the Greek economic and financial crisis was rocketing markets around the globe and seemed to justify the bashing of that “poor country of tax cheaters” to the point of threatening the majestic European Union project and dishonouring an entire continent, French philologist Jacqueline de Romilly reminded the world of some of things owed to Greece: the invention of democracy, philosophy, and tragedy.

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Understanding producers’ motives for adopting sustainable practices

Why would agricultural producers engage in practices such as conservation, animal welfare, waste management, or organic farming? The literature hints that economic, social, and personal motivations are drivers of adoption. Sustainable practices are welcomed by farmers if there is a potential increase in profitability through more efficient processes, or as a source of differentiation (i.e. labelling).

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Business and society: new words for new worlds

Neologisms (from Greek néo-, meaning ‘new’ and logos, meaning ‘speech, utterance’) – can do all sorts of jobs. But most straightforwardly new words describe new things. As such they indicate areas of change, perhaps of innovation. They present us with a map, one that can redefine what we know as well as revealing newly explored areas; new words for new worlds.

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Pollock and Williams-how industry analysts shape the digital future

Who’s really shaping the digital future?

The words digital economy conjure images of young, tech-savvy entrepreneurs breaking moulds in a world where technology is disruptive. But could the reality be much more mundane and mercantile? When Facebook released “Facebook at work” earlier this year, the social networking goliath laid a huge challenge at the feat of LinkedIn, a powerful incumbent that had until then dominated its corner of the market.

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Fagerberg-triple challenge for Europe

The trade-off between economic growth and climate change: Can it be avoided?

Europe’s economy has barely grown since the financial crisis broke in 2007. And unemployment, especially among the young, has soared in most countries. Eastern and Southern Europe, the least affluent regions, have suffered the most. Today, in the most affected countries, around one in two young adults seeking a job is not able to find one. If there is one recipe for social and political trouble in the years ahead, this is surely it.

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