Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Boulton-Embracing Complexity

Simplicity in a complex world

There is a polarization in management and policy thinking. On the one hand, there is an increasing focus, for organizations, on defining detailed rules, standardizing methods, evidencing and measuring outcomes. The intention is to make the hospital, school, or firm work as an efficient, optimized, well-oiled machine.

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Four top tips about student finance

Starting University can be daunting. For most, becoming a University student is the beginning of a new academic challenge and social life. However, with these exciting ventures comes financial responsibility.

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Oxford Economic Papers

Greek wages in crisis: Whose loss and whose hope?

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the crisis in Greece must be aware of its record-high unemployment. From an already elevated value of 8% in 2008, the Greek unemployment rate rocketed to 27% in 2013 and has since remained in that ballpark.

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Amartya Sen on poverty in India

Just before the release of his new book, The Country of First Boys, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen talks exclusively to the Hindustan Times‘ Manjula Narayan about our blindness to poverty, flaws of the Gujarat model, miniaturisation of great ideas by the Hindu right wing and interference in academia.

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History of ICSID

Establishing ICSID: an idea that was “in the air”

As a young ICSID neophyte, I once asked Aron Broches, the World Bank’s General Counsel from 1959 to 1979, how he had come up with the idea for the Centre. “It was in the air,” he explained. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, there were indeed a number of proposals circulating for the creation of an international arbitral mechanism for the settlement of investment disputes.

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Wrong again

Unlike fine wine, bad ideas don’t improve with age. One such idea is the Invest in Transportation Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY), which would institute a temporary tax cut on profits brought back to the United States by American firms from their overseas operations and use the proceeds to fund investment in transportation infrastructure.

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Oqubay-Made in Africa

Industrial policy in Ethiopia

The ‘Africa Rising’ narrative means different things to different people. Yes, Africa has performed better in the last decade. But views diverge on the drivers of growth and on its sustainability, and on whether this growth will translate into structural transformation.

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Featherstone-Prime Ministers in Greece

Greece: The paradox of power

Why doesn’t Greece reform? Over the past few years the inability of successive Greek governments to deliver on the demands of international creditors has been a key feature of Greece’s bailout drama. Frustrated observers have pointed to various pathologies of the Greek political system to explain this underperformance.

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How much do you know about sources of energy? [quiz]

Energy consumption is changing. Governments and businesses around the world are exploring low carbon options including biofuels, natural gas and wind in an attempt to achieve longstanding energy security. Production of new sources has led to controversies about economic and environmental impacts and the trade-offs they generate between food and fuel production, energy security and environmental quality.

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Amartya Sen on the Modi government, education, health care, and politics

“I had been out for a walk and got caught in the rain,” says Sen, smiling as he walks in to greet us. His knees do not permit him to pedal around Santiniketan as he once did. He is in a pleasant mood, in spite of the controversy surrounding his ouster from Nalanda University and his latest book, The Country of First Boys: And Other Essays, out next month.

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Jarzabkowski-Making a Market for Acts of God

Eroding norms in reinsurance trading: Can it cause industry collapse?

In the face of severe disasters, or ‘Acts of God’, society turns to reinsurance. It is a financial market that insures insurance firms, and thus trades in large-scale disasters. Reinsurance is therefore the backbone for economic and social recovery in times of unimaginable losses, such as Hurricane Katrina or the attack on the World Trade Centre, through enabling insurers to pay their claims.

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A fist-full of dollar bills

The next time you are slipping the valet a couple of folded dollar bills, take a good look at those George Washingtons. You might never see them again. Every few years, there is a renewed push for the United States to replace the dollar bill with its shiny cousin, the one dollar coin.

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9780199798148 - Overfishing WENTK

Overfishing: a bigger problem than we think

Many of us probably tend to take fish for granted, as it’s a fairly sustainable resource—at least, that’s what we’d like believe. It’s difficult to imagine that we could even come close to depleting what seems to be limitless; after all, the earth is mostly covered in water. But as Ray and Ulrike Hilborn discuss in an excerpt from their book, Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, there is reason for concern in our flippancy towards our complex ecosystem.

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A look at the ‘Internet of Things’

Everyday objects are becoming increasingly connected to the internet. Whether it’s a smart phone that allows you to check your home security, or an app that lets you start your car or close your garage door from anywhere in the world; these technologies are becoming part of what is known as the Internet of Things.

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William Godwin on debt

William Godwin did not philosophically address the question of debt obligations, although he often had many. Perhaps this helps to explain the omission. It’s very likely that Godwin would deny that there is such a thing as the obligation to repay debts, and his creditors wouldn’t have liked that.

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Wickstead-Aid and Development

The future of development – aid and beyond

Just over a year ago, in March 2014, UNU-WIDER published a Report called: ‘What do we know about aid as we approach 2015?’ It notes the many successes of aid in a variety of sectors, and that in order to remain relevant and effective beyond 2015 it must learn to deal with, amongst other things, the new geography of poverty; the challenge of fragile states; and the provision of global public goods, including environmental protection.

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