Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

How alternative employment contracts affect low wage workers

Contemporary labour markets are characterised by more atypical or alternative work arrangements. Some of these – like independent contractors – have emerged in the context of self-employment, while others – like zero hours contracts and temporary work – are evolutions of traditional employment contracts.

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How Asia got richer

Two centuries ago, in 1820, Asia accounted for two-thirds of world population and more than one-half of world income. The subsequent decline of Asia was due largely to its integration with the world economy shaped by colonialism and driven by imperialism. By 1962, its share in world income had plummeted to 15%. Even in 1970, […]

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Natural disasters make people more religious

Philosophers once predicted that religion would die out as societies modernize. This has not happened. Today, more than four out of every five people on Earth believe in God. Religion seems to be serving a purpose that modernization does not replace. New research finds that people become more religious when hit by natural disasters. They are more likely […]

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Why supply is the secret to affordable housing

Housing has become unaffordable for all but the lucky few in many of the world’s great cities. Who can afford to live in New York or Paris? Yet, housing prices can be kept in check. Some cities have succeeded in doing so, as we shall see. The secret is simple: housing supply, which can be […]

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The science behind ironic consumption

When I turned 21, my friends brought me to a dive in East Atlanta called the Gravity Pub. The menu offered burnt tater tots, deep fried chili cheese dogs, and donut sandwiches. Happy hour featured rot-gut whiskey, red-eye gin, and one-dollar cans of Schlitz. We listened to Bon Jovi, Spice Girls, and a medley of yacht rock and boy band blue eyed soul crackling through rusty speakers.

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How Germany’s financial collapse led to Nazism

The summer of 1931 saw Germany’s financial collapse, one of the biggest economic catastrophes of modern history. The German crisis contributed to the rise of the Nazi Party. The timeline below shows historic events that led up to Adolf Hitler’s taking control of Germany.

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How medical marijuana hurts Mexican drug cartels

Public support for marijuana legalization has grown substantially. The consumption of recreational marijuana has been legalized in Uruguay, Canada, and several US states. In addition, many European countries, most US states, and Thailand have passed laws that allow the consumption of cannabis for medical reasons. Given the growth in public support, it is important to […]

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The paradox of alliances– strong economics but fragile politics

It’s not just in international relations that identity politics can sabotage opportunities to cooperate for mutual economic benefit. Much the same can happen to cooperation between firms. Organizations form alliances because they make strategic and economic sense. Yet often the potential for collaboration is undermined by the distrust and fears of the partners.

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Why morning people seek more variety

Imagine two consumers, John and Mary. During a typical morning, John sluggishly drags himself out of bed after snoozing the alarm clock several times. He then brushes his teeth, bleary eyed, and slowly makes his way to the kitchen. His wife, Mary, has already poured him a cup of coffee. She’s bright-eyed, dressed, and ready […]

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Investing in women’s reproductive health makes economic sense

There is no gender equality without access to reproductive health services, including access to contraceptives and safe abortions. In fact, economists are paying increasing attention to the economic benefits of investing in women’s reproductive health and finding gains not only for women but also for their families and for the economy at large.

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Using economics to find the greatest superhero

In case you missed it, the world was recently saved by the Avengers, a Marvel Comics superhero, super-team who defeated Thanos, a genocidal maniac of galactic proportions. However, the real victory belongs to Disney, which owns the Marvel movie properties. Avengers: Endgame annihilated the record for the largest opening weekend box office haul, raking in […]

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What stops us from following financial advice? We may be more biased than you think

While improving consumers’ financial literacy has finally received the attention it deserves among policymakers, many people still lack the knowledge to make informed financial decisions. Thus, when it comes to financial matters, the majority of households turn to advisors. Clearly, however, advisors’ recommendations—however beneficial they might be—do not translate into informed financial decisions if clients […]

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Economics can help us protect the world’s wildlife

People affect nature, nature affects people. This interaction of humans and nature creates opportunities and risks to both. One major challenge today is how to protect biodiversity. Across the world, scientists tell ­­us the diversity and abundance of life on earth is declining. From coral reefs affected by bleaching and pollution, to lions in Africa, […]

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Will robots really take our jobs?

Will computer technology and robotics lead to the automation of our jobs, leading to rising job losses and income inequality? Or could the use of technology intended to replace certain low-wage jobs lead to offsetting employment growth in other types of jobs?

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