Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Why America must organize innovation

“Organized” and “innovation” are words rarely heard together. But an organized approach to innovation is precisely what America needs today, argue Steve Currall, Ed Frauenheim, Sara Jansen Perry, and Emily Hunter. We sat down with the authors of Organized Innovation: A Blueprint for Renewing America’s Prosperity to discuss why American ought to organize its innovation efforts.

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Did Russia really spend ‘$50 billion’ on the Sochi Olympics?

By Michael Alexeev and Shlomo Weber
Much of the world is now watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi. While most people are primarily interested in the athletic achievements, the fact that the Games are taking place in Russia has also brought the Russian political system, economy, human rights, etc., into focus, inadvertently highlighting the interaction of the still pervasive Soviet legacy and the momentous changes since the collapse of the USSR.

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Is small farm led development still a relevant strategy?

By Peter Hazell and Atiqur Rahman
The case for smallholder development as a win-win strategy for achieving agricultural growth, poverty reduction, and food insecurity is less clear than it was during the green revolution era. The gathering forces of rapid urbanization, a reverse farm size transition towards ever smaller and more diversified farms, and an emerging corporate-driven business agenda in response to higher agricultural and energy prices, is creating a situation where policy makers need to differentiate more sharply between the needs of different types of small farms, and between growth, poverty, and food security goals.

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Peak shopping and the decline of traditional retail

By David M. Levinson
Shopping trips now comprise fewer than 9% of all trips, down from 12.5% in 2000, according to our analysis of the Twin Cities Travel Behavior Inventories. This is consistent with other results from the American Time Use Survey. They are down by about one-third in a decade.

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Super Bowl ads and American civil religion

By Peter Gardella
The two most controversial, apparently contradictory Super Bowl ads—Bob Dylan’s protectionist, “American Import” Chrysler ad and Coca-Cola’s multilingual rendition of  “America the Beautiful”—show the breadth of American civil religion. As religion scholars have long observed, it belongs to the nature of religious language to self-destruct.

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Five myths about the gold standard

By Richard S. Grossman
Although the dollar has had no legal connection to gold since 1973, the gold standard continues to hold an almost mystical appeal for many politicians and commentators. The 2012 Republican Platform called for the creation of a commission to study the possible restoration of the link between the dollar and gold. When asked about the gold standard this summer, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a potential 2016 Republican presidential nominee, replied: “We need to think about our currency that once upon a time had a link to a commodity, and I think we should study it.”

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Locating in a ‘Silicon Valley’ does not guarantee success for tech firms

By Harald Bathelt and Peng-Fei Li
In China and Canada, Shenzhen and Waterloo share the same nickname. Both are frequently viewed as their country’s “Silicon Valley”. Despite this shared name, there are fundamental differences between the two, which can be illustrated by the development of their leading firms. Let’s use the local weather of the two cities as a metaphor to describe the current situation.

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Five important facts about the Italian economy

Though the Eurozone crisis left many European countries struggling in its wake, Italy suffered one of the most crippling hits to its economy. As Gianni Toniolo notes in his edited volume, The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy Since Unification, between 2007-2009, there was a “loss of more than 5 percentage points in GDP per person, a decline comparable with that of the Italian Great depression of the early 1930s.”

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Gus Van Harten on investor-state arbitration

What is investor-state arbitration? And how does it impact upon people’s lives? Today, we present a Q&A with Gus Van Harten, author of Sovereign Choices and Sovereign Constraints, where he explains the fundamentals of investor-state arbitration and its place in international law.

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“Law Matters” for money market funds

By Viktoria Baklanova and Joseph Tanega
In the name of financial stability, institutional and product regulations since the 2008 financial crisis have forced banks and non-bank banks (the so-called “shadow banks”) to create insatiable compliance regimes. But the juggernaut does not stop here.

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How secure are you?

The internet has come a long way since the first “electronic mail” was sent back in 1971… but with its rapid advancement come challenges to cybersecurity and the increasing threat of cyberterrorism, both on an individual level as well as on a larger global scale. In their new book, Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, experts P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman warn us that we may not be as secure online as we think we are.

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Protecting yourself from the threat of cyberwarfare

With over 30,000 media reports and academic studies on the dangers of cyberterrorism, surely the threat today could not be greater? But as P.W. Singer, author of the bestselling Wired for War and co-author of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, points out — not a single person has died in a cyberterror attack.

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Growing up in a recession

By Paola Giuliano and Antonio Spilimbergo
Economic crises have a traumatic effect on peoples’ psychology and attitudes, as superbly illustrated by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men, both written in the middle of the Great Depression. The experience of the dramatic years during the Great Depression had a large impact on people and, ultimately, helped forge the social beliefs and attitudes that sustained a political system for many years.

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The legacy of the Superconducting Super Collider

By Stephen Blyth
Almost exactly twenty years ago, on 19 October 1993, the US House of Representatives voted 264 to 159 to reject further financing for the Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), the particle accelerator being built under Texas. $2bn had already been spent on the Collider, and its estimated total cost had grown from $4.4bn to $11bn; a budget saving of $9bn beckoned. Later that month President Clinton signed the bill officially terminating the project.

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In case you missed it … six notable economic stories from 2013

By Richard S. Grossman
2013 was an eventful year from the perspective of economics. The US government was shut down for 16 days as ideologically-driven Republicans held the budget hostage in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Japan’s new nationalistic government embarked on a bold, and so far largely successful attempt to revive the country’s anemic economy.

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What can we learn from economic policy disasters?

Is it morbid or therapeutic to analyze the economic catastrophes of the past? What critical strategies can be imported from the realms of medicine and military history to the study of the current state of the economy? Richard Grossman, author of Wrong: Nine Economic Policy Disasters and What We Can Learn From Them, skillfully dissects the cadavers of economic policies.

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