Almost everyone faces some risk of ending up old, sick, alone, and poor. The lengths of our lives are uncertain. Aging comes with increased chances of needing costly medical care. The loss of a spouse, often preceded by large medical bills, may leave one alone late in life. Absent a spouse or other family member to provide informal care, an expensive protracted stay in a nursing home may be needed due to dementia or disability
When the heads of European governments signed the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, they laid the ground for Europe’s economic and monetary union (EMU) and, eventually, the introduction of the euro. Far from being merely an economic project, the common currency, so they hoped, would help pave the way towards a shared European identity. Today—almost a quarter century after Maastricht—that goal remains a distant prospect. On the contrary, during the economic crisis, European citizens in many respects seemed to have drifted apart.
In February, when the local ewes were heavy with their lambs, the newspapers carried an article about a Japanese company called Spread, based in Kyoto. In a fully-automated operation covering just over an acre the company plans to be producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day by 2017, and more than ten times that number within five years. The company’s website calls it a ‘vegetable factory’.
On 23 June, British voters will go to the polls to decide whether the UK should remain in the European Union (EU) or leave it in a maneuver the press has termed “Brexit.” As of late April, public opinion polls showed the “remain” and “exit” sides running neck– and — neck, with a large share of the electorate still undecided. The economic arguments for remaining in the EU are overwhelming. The fact that the polls are so close suggests that a substantial portion of the British electorate is being guided not by economic arguments, but by blind commitment to ideology.
Annual US expenditures on business entertainment likely exceed $40 billion. Such “wining and dining” is often viewed with suspicion, as a way for one entity to influence another’s decision makers improperly. Indeed, such concerns often lead governments and other organizations to limit what kinds of meals and other gifts employees can receive.
With surprising speed, state-sponsored private sector retirement programs have assumed an important place in the nation’s public policy agenda. California, a pioneer in many trends, was a pioneer in this area also. The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act, adopted in 2012, was the first law authorizing a state-sponsored retirement program for private sector […]
The sheer size and increasing wealth of the Chinese population makes China an attractive target market. There is no doubt that Chinese culture and history differs from the western world, but how do these differences translate into differences in Chinese buyer behaviour? And are there differences that should affect a brand’s growth strategy?
The 2008 global economic crisis has been the most severe recession since the Great Depression. Notwithstanding its dramatic effects, cross-country analyses on its heterogeneous impacts and its potential causes are still scarce. By analysing the geography of the 2008 crisis, policy-relevant lessons can be learned on how cities and regions react to economic shocks in order to design adequate responses.
The European Union is undergoing multiple crises. The UK may vote in favour of leaving the Union in June. European Union member states are in deep disagreement on various crucial issues, not only on how to handle the stream of refugees from the Near East, but also on how to combat terrorism, and how to deal with Russia. And, in each election, Eurosceptic parties garner an increasing share of the vote.
The idea that the United States economy runs on information is so self-evident and commonly accepted today that it barely merits comment. There was an information revolution. America “stopped making stuff.” Computers changed everything. Everyone knows these things, because of an incessant stream of reinforcement from liberal intellectuals, corporate advertisers, and policymakers who take for granted that the US economy shifted toward an “knowledge-based” economy in the late twentieth century.
A couple of years ago, I wrote about the consequences of David Cameron’s Bloomberg speech, where he set out his plans for a referendum on British membership of the EU. I was rather dubious about such a vote even happening, and even more so about the quality of the debate that would ensue. As much as I was wrong about the former, the latter has been more than borne out by events so far.
In the 1983 movie The Right Stuff, during a test of wills between the Mercury Seven astronauts and the German scientists who designed the spacecraft, the actor playing astronaut Gordon Cooper asks: “Do you boys know what makes this bird fly?” Before the hapless engineer can reply with a long-winded scientific explanation, Cooper answers: “Funding!” If an economist were asked, “Do you know what makes this economy fly?” the answer, in one word, would be “trust.”
Fine wine is an agricultural product with characteristics that make it especially sensitive to a changing climate. The quality and quantity of wine, and thus prices and revenues, are extremely sensitive to the weather where the grapes were grown. Depending on weather conditions, the prices for wines produced by the same winemaker from fruit grown on the same plot of land can vary by a factor of 20 or more from year to year.
The global food system is estimated to contribute 30% of total Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this context, the EU has committed to reducing GHG emissions by 40% relative to 1990 levels by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. Apart from the necessary policies of citizen information and production regulation, could a consumer tax on the most Greenhouse gas-emitting foods be a relevant tool to improve diet sustainability? Could it combine greener and healthier diets with a limited social cost?
In early 2015, confidential documents were leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper. The documents leaked came from the internal database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Working with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and media organizations from around the world, the documents (which became known as the ‘Panama Papers’) were analysed and, on the 3 April 2016, media organizations around the world published their findings.
Austerity, uncertainty, instability … all problems we associate with Europe today as it cycles from pre-GFC exuberance to today’s austerity. But to put things in perspective, these are minor problems compared what our grandparents endured after World War Two. In Britain many people did not have enough to eat, the government had secret plans for national catastrophe, the Cold War was raging, the colonies erupting, and Sterling was in crisis. In those days there were few policy economists, and macroeconomics was caught in a battle between non-interventionist classical economics and the Keynesian revolution of demand management.