Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Savings banks in Germany: welfare versus politics

In Germany, it is not uncommon for primary-school children to have their own savings account. A reason for this is that on World Savings Day, savings-bank representatives visit schools all over Germany to educate pupils about the benefits of saving. Besides being clever marketing, this program is rooted in the savings banks’ legal pledge to foster economic welfare: German state law requires savings banks to support the local economy.

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Corruption: are you an expert? [quiz]

Headlines regularly focus on political scandals and corruption. From public officials embezzling government monies, selling public offices, and trading bribes for favors to private companies generate public indignation and calls for reform—corruption, it seems, is inevitable. But what really is corruption, and who is responsible for its continuation?

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Visualizing the global income distribution

The evolution of the distribution of income among individuals within countries and across the world has been the subject of considerable academic and popular commentary in the recent past. Works such as Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century or Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality have become unlikely bestsellers, garnering a startling degree of both academic and popular interest.

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Can all refugees become economically successful?

We are celebrating the 16th United Nations’ World Refugee Day, scheduled on 20 June every year. It is a day to recognize and honour refugees’ resilience, agency and capability. In the area of refugees’ economic lives, there is growing evidence demonstrating that refugees are economic actors who are able to sustain themselves and to make socio-economic contributions to their hosting society.

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Did branding predict Brexit?

Branding predicted Brexit. This bald assertion points to a fascinating truth about the art of branding. Because branding feeds on, and feeds into, popular culture, it’s often a leading indicator of bigger, political phenomena. Where branding leads, the rest of us follow. Let me explain. 2016 was the year of populism. Among other things, the phenomenon of Brexit and Trump was a popular backlash against the globalisation.

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Paul A. Samuelson and the evolution of modern economics

For thirty years after the Second World War, the teaching of introductory economics in the US was dominated by a single textbook, initially titled Economics: An Introductory Analysis, later shortened to just Economics. When the first edition appeared in 1948, its author, Paul Samuelson, was only 33 years old. The book provided an account of what had rapidly become the accepted way of thinking about problems of unemployment.

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Pound foolish–but not penny wise

The Trump Administration released its $4 trillion budget on 23 May. Like the president himself, the budget promises a lot, delivers very little, and is full of misinformation. The administration promises to eliminate the federal government’s budget deficit within 10 years, while at the same time offering tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. To get a sense of the scale of this task, consider the current fiscal position of the US government.

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An economist views the UK’s snap general election

There is something unusual about the 2017 UK general election. It is the way in which all the manifestos clearly make their promises conditional on the ‘good Brexit deal’ that they claim to be able to secure. They are not the only ones. On 11 May the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney reassured the markets that the ‘good Brexit deal’ would stabilise our economy after 2019, and the markets were duly sedated.

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What is game theory?

Game theory is considered to be one of the most important theories not simply within the field of economics, but also mathematics, political science, biology, philosophy, and ecology, just to name a few. It has been developed over the many years since the term was first coined to what it is now: a theory used to “understand the strategic behaviour of decision makers who are aware that their decisions affect one another.”

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Brazil’s long-standing global aspirations: what is next?

Brazil has had a strong diplomatic tradition of being involved in international affairs, and has recently intensified its efforts to acquire more prominence and leverage in global issues. At the beginning of the 2000s, and under the leadership and popularity of former president ‘Lula’ da Silva, all eyes were on this country. Brazil was portrayed as a promising emerging market and rising power.

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Is suicide rationalizable? Evidence from Italian prisons.

After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death, both in the United States and in Europe. In 2013 there were 41,149 suicides (12.6 every 100,000 inhabitants) in the US. To contextualize this number just think that the number of motor vehicle deaths was, in the same year, around 32,719 (10.3 every 100,000 inhabitants).

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Agricultural policy after Brexit

A majority of Britain’s farmers voted for Brexit in the referendum. This is perhaps surprising in the context of an industry which receives around £3 billion in subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and yet comprises only about 0.7% GDP. Of all the vested interests, British farmers have more to lose from Brexit than almost any other industry. From the public interest perspective, there is much to gain.

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Is child poverty in rich countries exacerbated by the economic crisis?

The 2008 financial crisis triggered the first contraction of the world economy in the post-war era. Amid falling wages and increasing unemployment, government capacity to address worsening social conditions was often constrained by mounting deficits, with social protection systems under threat when they were most needed. Children and young people, already at a greater risk of poverty than the population as a whole.

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Student debt: not just a millennial problem

When I was interviewed on the Kathleen Dunn Show, I was prepared to talk about the health implications of educational debt for students. That changed when a father called in and shared his story about helping his children pay for college. This father wanted to protect his children from debt and was trying to do the “right” thing by his children, and it almost resulted in the loss of his home.

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Storm Stella and New York’s double taxation of nonresidents

The physical aftermath of Storm Stella is now over. The tax aftermath of Storm Stella, however, has just begun. How can a winter storm cause taxes? Because New York State, under its so-called “convenience of the employer” doctrine, subjects nonresidents to state income taxation on the days such nonresidents work at their out-of-state homes for their New York employers.

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Can green entrepreneurs save our planet?

Less than a year after the governments of the world came together to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the United States has inaugurated a new president, Donald Trump, who denounces the whole idea as a Chinese hoax. How did we get here?

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