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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Field experimenting in economics: Lessons learned for public policy

Do neighbourhoods matter to outcomes? Which classroom interventions improve educational attainment? How should we raise money to provide important and valued public goods? Do energy prices affect energy demand? How can we motivate people to become healthier, greener, and more cooperative? These are some of the most challenging questions policy-makers face. Academics have been trying to understand and uncover these important relationships for decades.

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Retail and the royals

With the arrival of little Princess Charlotte of Cambridge earlier this month, retailers will have inevitably experienced an influx of customers purchasing commemorative memorabilia and other royal baby related souvenirs. The UK economy is expecting a huge boost with the excitement generated by the new baby. With the Monarchy estimated to be worth £44 billion, we take a brief look at four ways the Royal family has given the UK’s economy a much needed lift in the past.

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How complex is net neutrality?

Thanks to the recent release of consultation paper titled <“Regulatory Framework for Over-the-top (OTT) services,” for the first time in India’s telecom history close to a million petitions in favour of net neutrality were sent; comparable to millions who responded to Federal Communications Commission’s position paper on net neutrality last year.

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Bailey et al-New Perspectives on Industrial Policy for a Modern Britain

Putting industrial policy back on the agenda

As the UK General Election draws near, the economy has again been the over-riding feature of the campaign. Yet the debate itself has been pretty narrow, being principally framed around ‘austerity’ and the reduction of the size of the government’s budget deficit. The major political parties are all committed to eradicating this deficit, with the main question being the time-frame in achieving this goal.

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Parliamentary procedure

On May 7, British voters will head to the polls to elect a new Parliament. If mid-April forecasts are correct, the formation of a government will be a bit more complicated than in elections past. The results of those elections will have important ramifications for the conduct of economic policy in both Britain and the European Union. For most of the last two centuries, British governments have been formed by one of the two major political parties of the time.

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Keep the Cadillac tax

The Obamacare “Cadillac tax” is currently scheduled to go into effect in 2018. However, last week, sixty-six members of the House of Representatives, including both Republicans and Democrats, proposed to repeal the Cadillac tax before it becomes effective. The Cadillac tax will be imposed at a 40% rate on the cost of health care insurance, exceeding statutorily-established thresholds. Unions and many of their Democratic stalwarts, otherwise supportive of Obamacare, oppose the Cadillac tax because generous union-sponsored health care plans will trigger the tax.

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Keizer-Multidisciplinary Economics

The euro zone leadership suffers from cognitive closure

The euro zone has still not recovered from the global depression 2009. A major cause is the idea that every member should solve its own problems by lowering prices on all markets, and by reducing the influence of the government. Lower prices stimulate the exports to other countries, which would result in the beginning of a genuine recovery. Because the interrelationships between the various member-economies are quite strong, and the influence of the big euro zone on the global economy is significant, this policy advice has failed so far.

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Food security in the twenty-first century

There are currently about 7 billion people on Earth and by the middle of this century the number will most likely be between 9 and 10 billion. A greater proportion of these people will in real terms be wealthier than they are today and will demand a varied diet requiring greater resources in its production. Increasing demand for food will coincide with supply-side pressures: greater competition for water, land, and energy, and the accelerating effects of climate change.

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Greece vs. the Eurozone

The new Greek government that took office in January 2015 made a commitment during the election campaign that Greece would stay in the Eurozone. At the same time, it also declared that Greece’s relations with its European partners would be put on a new footing. This did not materialize. The Greek government accepted the continuation of the existing agreement with its lenders, the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, and the European Central Bank. This was the only way of ensuring Greece would not run out of funding.

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“Under the influence of rock’n’roll”

Rock’n’Roll music has defied its critics. When it debuted in the 1950s, many adults ridiculed the phenomenon. Elvis, Chuck Berry, and their peers would soon be forgotten, another passing fancy in the cavalcade of youth-induced fads. The brash conceit, “Rock’n’roll is here to stay,” however, proved astute. Why were American adults and, for that matter, their Soviet counterparts frightened of rock’n’roll?

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Oswald-Creating Value

Signs, strategies, and brand value

The semiotic paradigm in market research gives new meaning to the expression, “You are what you eat.” The semiotic value of goods, from foodstuffs to cars, transcends their functional attributes, such as nutrition or transportation, and delivers intangible benefits to consumers in the form of brand symbols, icons, and stories. For instance, Coke offers happiness, Apple delivers “cool,” and BMW strokes your ego.

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‘Buyer beware': how the Federal Trade Commission redefined the word ‘free’

Last month marked the hundredth anniversary of the Federal Trade Commission, the regulatory agency that looks after consumer interests by enforcing truth in advertising laws. Established by the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914 and signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, the FTC opened its doors in March 16 of 2015, taking the place of the older Bureau of Corporations.

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Are inheritances really that bad?

On the surface, inheritances are a source of moral repugnance. When we think of inheritances, we tend to think of families like the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts whose great fortunes were passed from one generation to the next. We also tend to think of “trust fund babies” – those rare individuals who have received enough money in inheritances or gifts (often in the form of a trust fund) so that they have no need to work over the course of their lifetime.

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Indiana’s RFRA statute: a plea for civil discourse

On one level, I admire the public furor now surrounding Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In an important sense, this discussion reflects the Founder’s vision of a republican citizenry robustly debating the meaning of important values like nondiscrimination and religious freedom. On the other hand, this public controversy has, at times, regrettably reflected failure on both sides to respect their fellow citizens and confront the merits of the issue in civil fashion.

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Tax facts

As long as rulers have needed money for the military, public works, or just to enrich themselves, they have relied on taxes. As Americans approach the dreaded April 15 income tax-filing deadline, it is worth considering some key facts about taxation. There are many different modes of taxation: individual income taxes, corporate profits taxes, capital gains taxes, property taxes, inheritance taxes, sales taxes, social insurance taxes, taxes on imports, and a whole host of government-levied fees that look and feel a lot like taxes.

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