Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Why We Fall for Toxic Leaders

The Oxford Word of the Year is a word or expression chosen to reflect the passing year in language. Every year, the Oxford Dictionaries team debates over a selection of candidates for Word of the Year, choosing the one that best captures the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year. The 2018 Oxford Word […]

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The 1950s is a vanished world, but have we made social progress?

Britain has seen huge social changes over the course of my lifetime. The world of the 1950s, when I grew up in a modest suburb of Liverpool, has vanished forever. The material standard of living we enjoyed then would nowadays seem to be distinctly substandard. We didn’t have a family car; I shared a bedroom with my older brother; and there was no television set, though we did have a telephone – a rather unfamiliar contraption which we were all too scared to use. There never seemed to be quite enough to eat and we were all rather skinny. There was no problem of obesity in our family, but we didn’t grow particularly tall. Today’s younger generation tower over us.

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Financial capability for all

Millions of U.S. families find themselves in precarious financial circumstances, living on the wrong side of the growing income and wealth divide. Despite the recent economic recovery, average wages buy about the same amount of goods and services as they did 40 years ago. The federal minimum wage, adjusting for inflation, buys less today than it did in 1968. Income increases have mostly gone to top income earners. Meanwhile, household wealth is even more concentrated.

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Does TCJA Tax Churches? Should It?

Does the new federal tax law, commonly known as the Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA), tax churches as some have argued? If so, is this tax appropriate? The answers are “yes” and “yes.” The TCJA provisions taxing qualified transportation fringes treat secular and religious employers alike, including houses of worship. In a world of […]

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Malaria Prevention: An Economic Perspective

In 1998, the Roll Back Malaria partnership – the largest global platform in history for coordinated action towards reducing the burden of malaria – was created to fund a series of health initiatives and malaria control interventions in affected countries. However, in spite of large successes in reducing both the incidence of and fatalities from […]

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The cost of the American dream

In its simplest form, the American Dream asserts that success should be determined by effort, not one’s starting point. This is the promise on which most Americans base their hopes and the calculus that is supposed to govern our institutions.

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Big Data and the Happiness of Cities

In today’s world of big data and mass media saturation, statistics and graphs are constantly being thrown at us. For researchers, wading through, and making sense of, the sea of numbers is as much about the journey as the destination. But for most people who are simply trying to live their lives, all these facts […]

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Why We Fall for Toxic Leaders

School shootings, terrorism, cyberattacks, and economic downturns open the door to toxic leaders. Small wonder these dangerous, seductive leaders attract followers worldwide. Toxic leaders typically enter the scene as saviors. They promise to keep us safe, quell our fears, and infuse our lives with meaning and excitement, perhaps, even immortality.  Yet, as history grimly attests, […]

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Who are the super-rich and why they are paid so much?

ne of the most common arguments against contemporary capitalism is that it generates extreme inequalities. Few individuals – it is often said – earn huge earnings, while the rest of society has to struggle to make ends meet. But, who are the super-rich and why they are paid so much? Observing the composition of top incomes reveals a striking novelty for what concerns the “who” question.

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Brexit threatens food supplies and Ministers know it

The story on the front page of The Sunday Times on 3 June 2018 pulled no punches. Headlined “Revealed: plans for Doomsday Brexit”, it reported on leaked government papers planning for a “no deal” Brexit scenario. They warned that the port of Dover could collapse on day one of exiting the EU, with major food shortages within a few days and medicines shortages within two weeks.

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Professionalizing leadership – development

Learning to lead should consist of a certain sequence in a certain order. Like doctors and lawyers, and for that matter like preachers and teachers and truck drivers and hairdressers, leaders should first be educated, then trained, and then developed. Previously we have addressed leadership education and training. What finally is meant by leadership development? How are leaders developed – as opposed to educated or trained?

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Angling for less harmful algal blooms

Blooms bring to mind the emerging beauty of spring—flowers blossoming and trees regaining their splendor. These blooms, unlike spring flowers, are odorous, unpleasant, and potentially toxic. They deter families from engaging in water-related recreational activities such as going to the shore. They discourage anglers from going fishing, which, in turn, affects those who depend on the local fishing economy.

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Beyond nostalgia: understanding socialism markets

From Che Guevara t-shirts and Honnecker’s Hostel to Mao mugs and Good Bye, Lenin!—why do millions of consumers in China, Germany, Hungary, Poland, and other former socialist societies still insist on the superiority of socialist products and brands? The standard explanation offered by consumer sociologists and historians is that these thriving socialism markets stimulate political opposition, a yearning for the “better” socialist past.

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