Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

ASSA 2018: a conference and city guide

The annual Allied Social Science Association meeting takes place this year on 5 January – 7 January 2018 at the Philadelphia Marriott in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This three-day meeting hosts over 13,300 of the leading minds in economics to gather and share new ideas and achievements in the field. With such wide range of sessions, panels, and events to attend, we’ve selected a few to help narrow down your list.

Read More

Emigration and political change

International mobility has been reshaping the economies and societies of countries over the course of human history. In Europe, during recent years, media and policy-makers have been focused on immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East who cross the Mediterranean Sea to look for opportunities in Europe. However, another important but much less noticed mobility phenomenon has been on the rise.

Read More

Labour unions and solidarity in times of precarity

=Labour unions have traditionally been at the forefront of the struggle to improve job security, pay, and working conditions. The widely observed growth in precarious work in recent decades is a result of union weakness, as they are increasingly likely to lose these battles. Many have argued that unions often promote the job security of their ‘insider’ core members at the expense of more precarious ‘outsiders.’

Read More

Is “food waste” really wasted food?

Food waste has become a major cause for concern in the United States. Or at least, that’s what some prominent organizations suggest. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that the United States wastes 103 million tons of food. The statistics suggest that food waste is a problem, but how do these organizations calculate them? And what, exactly, is food waste?

Read More

The problem with a knowledge-based society

In the last few decades, few concepts have spoken to the imagination of economists like the ‘knowledge based economy’ or ‘knowledge economy’ within Western policy circles. There has been a consensus that Western economies have entered a phase in economic history called the ‘knowledge’ or ‘knowledge-based’ era. The brains of the workforce are thought to be the most important contributor to today’s wealth creation.

Read More

Beer and brewing by numbers [infographic]

Beer has been a vitally important drink through much of human history, be it just as a drink that was safe to consume when water might not have been, through to having significant economic and even political significance. The earliest written laws included regulations on beer, tax income from beer funded centuries of British imperialist conquests, and beer is the subject of the oldest international trademark dispute.

Read More

In the zone: how balancing stress levels improves performance [excerpt]

Athletes’ maximum performance, also known as peak performance, is often characterized or accompanied by what is called a “flow state” or “peak experience.” Athletes describe this state as being “on automatic pilot,” “totally involved,” “hot,” “on a roll,” “in a groove,” or “in the zone.” An excellent example is provided by the great German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn in the 2001 champions league final game, between his team FC Bayern Munich and FC Valencia.

Read More

The value of mistakes

John Pierre, a renowned pastry chef, is making a new batch of chocolate. Not paying attention, he leaves the chocolate in the oven for an extra five minutes by mistake, resulting in the chocolate having a different taste than he had intended. In light of this chef’s mistake, how interested are you in buying this chocolate? Companies, in general, hesitate to release mistakes, much less advertise them to consumers as a unique product.

Read More

Capitalism and the value of technology [excerpt]

Technology has undoubtedly changed how the economy operates, from the steam engine to the smartphone. But are machines a legitimate source of value in a capitalist society? In the following excerpt from Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, David Harvey delves into Marx’s Capital to better understand the value of man and machinery in a technology-dependent world.

Read More

Found: a viable, alternative model of the firm?

The single-minded pursuit of shareholder value courts a tolerance of malpractice which sets the scene for a race to the bottom. At the heart of the system is the model of the modern corporation. In many ways, it now seems unfit for purpose in the context of the global economy. The John Lewis Partnership is illustrative of an alternative approach.

Read More

5 tips for teaching social media

How can instructors equip students with the skills and knowledge to become effective social media professionals? Three years ago, I left my position as a social media director and transitioned back to academia to focus on this critical question. Since then I have experimented with a variety of pedagogical approaches. Here are a few tips that I have found to be consistently helpful in the classroom.

Read More

An extinction event for foundations?

Private foundations – the legal entities that have funded social innovations as diverse as breakthrough civil rights litigation and the development of the 911 emergency response system – may be nearing an end. This is certainly not because they have spent down their endowments; the largest still contain billions of dollars and as of 2014 independent and family foundation endowments still contained over $700 billion in assets.

Read More

The end of liberalism

Fifty-nine years ago, William Proxmire of the now-Rust Belt state of Wisconsin took the floor of the US Senate in support of a bill that would lower tariffs on imported goods. My then-boss had brought with him a few hundred of the many pro-free-trade letters that our office had received in support of the bill. Liberalism — and not just a reduction in trade barriers — is now in trouble.

Read More

Marketing-driven government (Part 2)

When marketing is used in government, its impact is often limited because it is dogged by a short-term, fragmented approach influenced by political time cycles. Government marketing is often characterised by an overemphasis on broadcast communications, including digital platforms, to the exclusion of a more citizen-centric approach focused on listening, relationship building, and social networking.

Read More

Hop heads and locaholics: excerpt from Beeronomics

Beer drinkers across the United States observe the National American Beer Day annually on 27 October. Over the last decade two IPAs, craft beer and microbreweries have taken over the American beer market and continue their steady growth. This extract from Johan Swinnen and Devin Briski’s Beeronomics discusses some of the strategies of the American craft beer movement.

Read More

Marketing-driven government (Part 1)

Marketing is an approach to social programme design and delivery that should underpin how governments and not-for-profit agencies develop and select policy, shape how services are delivered, and build sustained partnerships with citizens and other stakeholder organisations. However, marketing is a very often misunderstood and misapplied within Government

Read More