Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Facebook Cleanup: appearing professional on social media

Most students feel that they are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. They worry about whether future employers might find an offending photo or post attached to their names. But many of them also worry about what happens if they have no social media pres­ence at all for their future employers to scrutinize and dissect. If they are completely absent from social media, this might seem suspicious, too

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What chocolate chip cookies can teach us about code [excerpt]

What is “code”? Although “code” can be applied to a variety of areas—including, but not limited to computer code, genetic code, and ethical code—each distinct type of code has an important similarity. Essentially, all code contains instructions that lead to an intended end. Philip E. Auerswald, author of The Code Economy, argues that code drives human history.

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Market solutions for improving treatment of farm animals? A review of At the Fork

How are farm animals treated and should one care? For the record, I am not vegetarian and I follow something similar to a paleo diet high in animal proteins and fats. But whether or not one believes animals have rights, libertarian philosopher Loren Lomasky once gave me the most succinct argument for caring about the welfare, at least some, of animals: “You wouldn’t put your cat in a microwave, would you?”

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Tearing the heart out of Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day each year brings with it accusations of shameless appropriatation of sacred rituals by retailers.But of course, there is nothing new in the commercialisation of rituals and traditions. Following enforcement of Confucianism in the Ming and Qing dynasties of China, the nuo exorcism ritual was re-created as an often expensive personal experience performed by nuo Masters for a group of households.

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Creative destruction and corporate becoming: how important is a CEO?

While today’s business media (and business schools) are much enamored with Silicon Valley-style start-up entrepreneurship, only those startups able to grow into large, complex enterprises (e.g., Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Netflix) materially impact the evolution of the global industrial system. The average lifespan of such large, complex enterprises, however, is on the decline.

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On the economics of economists

We economists spend a lot of time writing about the job market. Can the unemployment rate drop any further? Will the number of unemployed people increase when the Fed starts to raise interest rates? And will wages begin to pick up if the unemployment rate does drop?To pursue these questions, economists construct theoretical models of the labor market, gather hiring and wage data from a variety of industries and regions.

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Mass incarceration and the perfect socio-economic storm

In nature, there are weather conditions, referred to as ‘perfect storms’, arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors creating violent storms that significantly affect the socio-economic conditions of an area. Social scientists refer to similar adverse factors as cultural amplifier effects. Currently, there are approximately 2000 correctional and detention facilities in the US with over 450,000 employees.

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Do school food programs improve child dietary quality?

Over the past 70 years, school meal standards have become increasingly focused on raising the quality of school food rather than simply supplying food. But exactly how does the quality of a school meal compare to a brown-bag meal from home? Turns out, the answer isn’t as simple as comparing the average school lunch to the average sack lunch; we must dig deeper, far below and above the average child.

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Thomas Schelling: An unconventional economist

Thomas Schelling was one of the best, and most unconventional, economists of his generation. Using simple arithmetic and more common sense than most economists are born with, he could turn problems upside down and inside out, and come up with novel solutions. Thomas liked to tell a story, over a nice glass of wine, about how he would find a friend in Washington DC if they were separated.

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Unite to abolish ‘might makes right’

After 20 January, 2017, Donald Trump will command America’s enormous power. His order will launch a devastating attack on any country. Sanctions will descend at his pen stroke. Alliances will be his to offer. Yet one kind of foreign power will defeat Trump—as it has defeated presidents for 40 years. This is the power that comes from the world’s consumers, who buy billions of dollars of oil a year from violent and repressive foreigners

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Can we end poverty by 2030?

Is it possible to end extreme poverty? And by 2030? That’s the aim of the first of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were adopted by all nations and have begun to drive conversations at global gatherings, including those that I have contributed to in recent weeks. This ambitious goal builds on the dramatic fall in worldwide poverty since 1990.

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India: a work in progress

Every country that is on the ascendant feels the need for a “coming out” party. In the last half century, that need has been met most often by hosting the Olympic Games. Japan did it in 1964, South Korea followed in 1988, and China in 2008. The Olympic itch seems to come in the wake of economic growth that takes per capita income to the vicinity of $6,000

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Rethinking innovation and career in the new year

January is a time for resolutions and change. In the excerpt below, the authors of An Intelligent Career: Taking Ownership of Your Work and Your Life explore the role of change in how we start projects, finish projects, and do work. Thirty years ago, Jean-Luc Brès took an entry-level advertising position in Polydor records (now part […]

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Welcome to the year of living dangerously – 2017

I am not usually a worried man but today – New Year’s Day 2017 – I am a worried man. Gripped by an existential fear, my mind is restless, alert, and tired. The problem? A sense of foreboding that the impact of the political events of 2016 will shortly come home to roost on a world that is already short on collective good will or trust. There is also a sense that games are being played by a new uber-elite of political non-politicians.

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How much capital?

Almost a decade after the global financial crisis, most regulators and commentators would agree that the banking industry is far more strongly capitalized than it was in the run-up to the crisis. Looking forward, there is less consensus as to how much capital banks should hold. Neel Kashkari, head of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve, attracted attention recently by calling for huge increases in minimum capital requirements for banks.

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ASSA 2017: a city and conference guide

The 2017 Allied Social Sciences Association meeting kicks off the new year, taking place January 6-8 in Chicago, IL. The American Economic Association, in conjunction with 56 associations, will hold the three-day meeting to present and discuss general economics topics in wide array of disciplines. ASSA has plenty going on throughout the weekend. These are some particular events we’re looking forward to.

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