*New*: #PowerShifts Resources

May 2, 2019
Remember a month ago we told you about an exciting new project we’ve launched and asked all of you to suggest names for it? After many debates, confusion, over-thinking, we have it. Because this exercise that FP2P is embarking on implies shifting the power of who’s talking, what we’re talking about, how we’re talking about it, and acknowledging all of

World Inequality Report 2018: 3 insights and 2 gaps

June 13, 2018
I was a discussant at the London launch of the World Inequality Report 2018 last week by the WIR team’s Lucas Chancel. (The book, that is – the online version was released in December) The WIR is produced by a team of economists who contribute to the WID.world database, of whom the biggest rock star is Thomas Piketty. The database

Sociology v Economics: handy translation guide

November 10, 2017
Some more academic humour to add to the recent ‘what researchers say v what they mean‘ post, (gets better as you go down the table) via Chris Blattman. From a 1990 ‘Economics to Sociology Phrasebook‘ by two baffled economics students. It shows its age, but wears well, which is as much as any of us can aspire to.

Achilles v Ulysses and Complexity, according to the OECD

October 12, 2017
Just been browsing a new OECD book on what complexity and systems thinking mean for policy-making. It consists of ‘a compilation of contributions from a series of seminars and workshops on complexity issues over the past two years. It reflects the combined wisdom and perspectives of an internal and external network of researchers, academics and policymakers.’ The pieces are short

Can Oxfam do the Doughnut? A conversation with Kate Raworth

June 21, 2017
Kate Raworth came in last week to present her new book, Doughnut Economics (see my earlier review here or Simon Maxwell’s thoughtful summary/critique) and discuss its implications for Oxfam. After writing the initial DE paper while still at Oxfam back in 2012, Kate left to turn it into a book, so there was a definite air of the prodigal daughter returns.

Review of Doughnut Economics – a new book you will need to know about

April 6, 2017
My Exfam colleague Kate Raworth’s book Doughnut Economics is launched today, and I think it’s going to be big. Not sure just how big, or whether I agree with George Monbiot’s superbly OTT plug comparing it to Keynes’s General Theory. It’s really hard to tell, as a non-economist, just how paradigm-changing it will be, but I loved it, and I

Doughnut Economics is published next week. Here’s why you should be excited

March 29, 2017
Kate Raworth’s book, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist is published next Thursday. I loved it , and I’ll review it properly then, but here are three excerpts to whet your appetite: On the importance of diagrams: ‘Think, then, of the circles, parabolas, lines and curves that make up the core diagrams in economics –

Davos & Inequality Continued: What does an alternative economic vision for the future look like?

January 17, 2017
Deborah Hardoon, who really ought to be resting on her laurels after her report for Davos went viral yesterday, springs to the defence of (the right kind of) economics. Nerd Alert. As a student of economics, I always found the technical aspects of the subject deeply satisfying. Getting to the ‘right’ answer using algebra and statistics, solving ‘proofs’ and finding

Here’s a summary of The Economist’s important critique of GDP and suggestions for reform

May 6, 2016
‘Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made’ said Otto von Bismarck. Turns out you can probably add GDP to that list. Last week’s Economist had a comprehensive takedown of the uses and abuses of Gross Domestic Product as an indicator of wellbeing, economic health or pretty much anything else. People have been critiquing GDP

‘Economics Rules’, Dani Rodrik’s love letter to his discipline

December 4, 2015
Dani Rodrik has always played an intriguing role in the endless skirmishes over the economics of development. His has been a delicate balancing act, critiquing the excesses of market fundamentalism from the inside, while avoiding the more abrasive tone of out-and-out critics such as Joe Stiglitz or Ha-Joon Chang. He does sorrow; they prefer anger. His work has been hugely

Arguing with Angus Deaton on aid

October 12, 2015
Tremendous news that Angus Deaton has won the Nobel prize in economics, particularly because this will further direct attention towards one of the great challenges of the age – rising inequality, on which Deaton is a great thinker, not least in The Great Escape, which deserves an even wider readership. Last year, I had a public exchange with him on the

Why is economic orthodoxy so resistant to change? The art of paradigm maintenance.

September 17, 2014
Ever wondered why it’s so hard to shift big institutions (and the economics profession in general) on economic policy, even when events so graphically show the need for change? I’ve just come across a fascinating 2006 paper by Robin Broad, ‘Research, knowledge and the art of ‘paradigm maintenance’: the World Bank’s Development Economics Vice Presidency (DEC)’, summary here. Full paper