RETHINK
ECONOMICS
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1059 results

2010
Level: beginner
The chi-square distribution is used to test a hypothesis. Therefore, expected values are related to observed values using a chi-square distribution. Then using p-value tables the hypothesis is tested at a 5% significance level.
2020
Level: beginner
The core of Georgism is a policy known as the Land Value Tax (LVT), a policy which Georgists claim will solve many of society and the economy’s ills. Georgism is an interesting school of thought because it has the twin properties that (1) despite a cult following, few people in either mainstream or (non-Georgist) heterodox economics pay it much heed; (2) despite not paying it much heed, both mainstream and heterodox economists largely tend to agree with Georgists. I will focus on the potential benefits Georgists argue an LVT will bring and see if they are borne out empirically. But I will begin by giving a nod to the compelling theoretical and ethical dimensions of George’s analysis, which are impossible to ignore.
2020
Level: beginner
Michael Kalecki famously remarked “I have found out what economics is; it is the science of confusing stocks with flows”. Stock-Flow Consistent (SFC) models were developed precisely to address this kind of confusion. The basic intuition of SFC models is that the economy is built up as a set of intersecting balance sheets, where transactions between entities are called flows and the value of the assets/liabilities they hold are called stocks. Wages are a flow; bank deposits are a stock, and confusing the two directly is a category error. In this edition of the pluralist showcase I will first describe the logic of SFC models – which is worth exploring in depth – before discussing empirical calibration and applications of the models. Warning that there is a little more maths in this post than usual (i.e. some), but you should be able to skip those parts and still easily get the picture.
2013
First some properties about the Sum of squared residuals and the linear regression function are restated. In particular three properties that an ideal fitted regression line must fulfill are discussed. Then, the R squared is defined using the measures of the Sum of squared residuals, the total sum of squares and the sum of explained squares.
2011
Level: beginner
Based on a critique on econometric and DSGE models (in particular in the context of the financial crisis), Doyne Farmer presents his current research programme that aims at building an agent-based model of the financial and economic crisis. It models heterogeneous agents and from there simulates the economy, firstly for the housing market. The interview gives a short insight in the research programme.
2013
Level: beginner
First some definitions regarding econometrics, regressions, types of data and independent and dependent variables are given. Then the basic function of a simple regression analysis is explained. Lastly, there is discussion of the meaning of the error term.
2015
Sheila Dow discusses the concept of radical uncertainty and the failure of neoclassical economics to integrate it into its analysis. As to the implications for financial regulation that arise from the presence of radical uncertainty she argues for institutional overhaul, where the banks see themselves as a licensed partner of the central bank and where rules, values, and conventions would be subject to a cultural shift. Also, Sheila Dow advocates for a renewed focus on retail banking.
2012
Level: beginner
Banking 101 is a series of 6 short videos that ask the following questions: How do banks work and how is money created? Is reveals common misunderstandings of money creation and the role of banks. Furthermore, the videos show how models taught in many introductory classes to economics (Econ 101) do not reflect those processes: Part 1) “Misconceptions around Banking” questions common comprehensions of how banks work (savings = investments). Part 2) “What's wrong with the money multiplier” states that the model of the money multiplies is inaccurate. Part 3) “How is money really made by banks” explains the process of money creation, loans and inter-bank settlement. Part 4) “How much money banks create?” asks what limits the money creation by banks and presents the difference between reserve ratio, liquidity ration, equity and refers to the inter-bank market. Part 5) Explores the question if banks create money or just credit and especially refers to credit risks. Part 6) Explains how money gets destroyed when loans are paid back. Note: The videos refer to the UK monetary and banking system, some explanations don't apply to other banking systems, e.g. the reserve ratio.
2020
Level: beginner
Markets are the focus in modern economics: when they work, when they don’t and what we can or can’t do about it. There are many ways to study markets and how we do so will inevitably affect our conclusions about them, including policy recommendations which can influence governments and other major organisations. Pluralism can be a vital corrective to enacting real policies based on only one perspective and a plethora of approaches provide alternatives to the canonical view. Although they have differing implications, these approaches share the idea that we should take a historical approach, analysing markets on a case-by-case basis; and they share a faith in the power of both individuals and collectives to overcome the problems encountered when organising economic activity.
2013
Level: beginner
In this Ted Talk, Mariana Mazzucato argues against the juxtaposition of the state and entrepreneurial activities. By presenting examples of her research on the relation between innovation and (inclusive) growth, she shows how many innovations were led by states' initiatives. Mazzucato confronts the liberal narrative of the a state that merely provides the frame for the market.
2015
In the interview, Robert Skidelsky discusses the emergence of political influence of a certain school of economic thought and how the success of an economic theory depends on the power relations in the society. He introduces the historical example of Keynesian economics and its replacement by liberal economic theory and policy in the aftermath of the Great Depression, and transfers this historical case to the dominant paradigm of austerity policies in the Europe as response to rising public debts caused by the Financial Crisis. He contrasts austerity policies with a Keynesian approach. Furthermore, he relates the targets of policy to the underlying power structures, for example when not the reduction of unemployment but the protection of financial capital is politically addressed.
2010
Level: beginner
Esther Duflo discusses the fact that in social policy one cannot check the big questions, i.e. whether development assistance as an aggregate is helpful, because there is no counterfactual. She then suggests to focus on smaller questions such as what prevents or incentiveses people from immunizing their kids or whether mosquito bednets should be distributed for free. These questions can be answered by using randomized control trials as in the medical sciences. Thus, she argues, by bringing the experimental method to social policy analysis better decisions as to where allocate funds can be made.
2012
Level: beginner
Banking 101 is a series of 6 short videos that ask the following questions: How do banks work and how is money created? Is reveals common misunderstandings of money creation and the role of banks. Furthermore, the videos show how models taught in many introductory classes to economics (Econ 101) do not reflect those processes: Part 1) “Misconceptions around Banking” questions common comprehensions of how banks work (savings = investments). Part 2) “What's wrong with the money multiplier” states that the model of the money multiplies is inaccurate. Part 3) “How is money really made by banks” explains the process of money creation, loans and inter-bank settlement. Part 4) “How much money banks create?” asks what limits the money creation by banks and presents the difference between reserve ratio, liquidity ration, equity and refers to the inter-bank market. Part 5) Explores the question if banks create money or just credit and especially refers to credit risks. Part 6) Explains how money gets destroyed when loans are paid back. Note: The videos refer to the UK monetary and banking system, some explanations don't apply to other banking systems, e.g. the reserve ratio.
2020
Level: beginner
Firms are the primary places where economic activity takes place in modern capitalist economies: they are where most stuff is produced; where many of us spend 40 hours a week; and where big decisions are made about how to allocate resources. Establishing how they work is hugely important because it helps us to understand patterns of production and consumption, including how firms will react to changes in economic conditions and policy. And a well-established literature – led by post-Keynesians and institutionalists – holds that the best way to determine how firms work is to…wait for it...ask firms how they work. This a clearly sensible proposition that is contested in economics for some reason, but we’ll ignore the controversy here and just explore the theory that springs from this approach.
2014
Level: beginner
In this short talk „On Economics“ Ha-Joon Chang, author of the book „Economics: The User's Guide“, gives a critical wrap-up on the economic discipline – on what is perceived as economics, what are dominant paradigms, the role of numbers and economics in public life. He further elaborates on the importance of heterodox schools of thought.
2013
Level: beginner
In the keynote speech, Sigrid Stagl argues why it is necessary to include socio-ecological aspects in macoreconomic models. The talk focuses on the ecological necessities, mentioning limits to growth, resource extraction and planetary boundaries. At the end, Stagl shortly presents several current macroeconomic initiatives and models that move towards a a socio-ecological macroeconomics.
2013
Level: beginner
The author identifies three principal economic phenomena, which are explained: long run productivity growth as the central driver of increasing economic activity, short-term and long-term debt cycles. The latter two are explained to some detailed with reference to money creation, central banking and long term crisis tendencies. With regards to the long run debt cycle, which leads into deleveraging and recession, some policy measures which can smoothen the crisis are discussed.
2013
Level: beginner
Stiglitz answers the question why globalization and world trade has not delivered on its promise of increased well being as much as classical economists thought, by pointing to the power asymmetries: firstly, between industrialized nations and developing nations and secondly, between special corporate interest and social interests. In his analysis, developed countries and MNCs were able to extract the benefits, while shifting the costs (i.e. pollution) to states and communities with lesser power. Amongst many other historical examples the pharmaceutical and the mining industry are discussed to some length.
2020
Level: beginner
Environmental catastrophe looms large over politics: from the young person’s climate march to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, increasing amounts of political space are devoted to the issue. Central to this debate is the question of whether economic growth inevitably leads to environmental issues such as depleted finite resources and increased waste, disruption of natural cycles and ecosystems, and of course climate change. Growth is the focal point of the de-growth and zero-growth movements who charge that despite efficiency gains, increased GDP always results in increased use of energy and emissions. On the other side of the debate, advocates of continued growth (largely mainstream economists) believe that technological progress and policies can ‘decouple’ growth from emissions.
2020
Level: beginner
How countries achieve long-term GDP growth is up there with the most important topics in economics. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas put it “the consequences for human welfare involved in questions like these are simply staggering: once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” Ricardo Hausmann et al take a refreshing approach to this question in their Atlas of Economic Complexity. They argue a country’s growth depends on the complexity of its economy: it must have a diverse economy which produces a wide variety of products, including ones that cannot be produced much elsewhere. The Atlas goes into detail on exactly what complexity means, how it fits the data, and what this implies for development. Below I will offer a summary of their arguments, including some cool data visualisations.
2020
Level: beginner
Economic sociology is an entire subfield and one could write an series on it, so I’m going to stick to probably the most prominent economic sociologist and the founder of ‘new economic sociology’, Mark Granovetter.
2011
Does Karl Polanyi's work “The Great Transformation” serve to analyse the current multiple crisis and social movements? Nancy Fraser revises Polanyi's concept of a double movement to capture social forces in the aftermath of the economic crisis of the 1930s – on the one side marketization and on the other hand social protection. Fraser proposes to talk about a triple movement and to account for emancipatory struggles. In the lecture, she discusses interactions as well as conflicts between those three forces, in particular conflicting aims of social protection. The lecture presents the content of her paper “A TRIPLE MOVEMENT? Parsing the Politics of Crisis after Polanyi“ in the New Left Review (2013).
Level: beginner
Galbraith first explores the social darwinism of Herbert Spencer and others that served as apology for the highly unequal distribution of wealth in the US at the end of the 19th century and naturalized differences in wealth by appealing to the concept of natural selection of the fittest. Then some instances of the unscrupulous business practices (i.e. robberies) of the American railroad tycoons and other business magnates are recounted. Lastly, Galbraith lines out some of the arguments of Thorstein Veblen, who delegitimized and ridiculed the business and leisure activities of the rich by putting them in the same category as predatory and ritualized practices of primitive or ancient societies.
2015
Level: expert
In this keynote lecture during the conference „The Spectre of Stagnation? Europe in the World Economy“, Till van Treek presents research on how changes in income distribution lead to macroeconomic instability and crisis, focusing on currents accounts. Treek presents the relative income hypothesis in contrast to other mainstream and Post-Keynesian explanations. The relative income hypothesis proposes that aggregate demand increases and savings decrease with rising personal income inequality due to upward looking status comparison – but effects depend on the quantile where income inequality increases. Treek points to the importance of accounting for both income and functional income distribution and underlines his arguments with data comparing different pattern in Germany and the U.S.
2020
Level: beginner
The most successful multialternative theories of decision making assume that people consider individual aspects of a choice and proceed via a process of elimination. Amos Tversky was one of the pioneers of this field, but modern decision theorists – most notably Neil Stewart – have moved things forward. At the current stage the theories are able to explain a number of strictly ‘irrational’ but reasonable quirks of human decision making, including various heuristics and biases. Not only this, but eye movements of participants strongly imply that the decision-making process depicted in the theories is an accurate one.
2020
Level: beginner
In both economics textbooks and public perceptions central banks are a fact of life. On the wall of my A-level economics classroom there was the Will Rogers quote “there have been three great inventions since the beginning of time: fire, the wheel, and central banking”, summarising how many economists view the institution. There is a widespread belief that there is something different about money which calls for a central authority to manage its operation, a view shared even by staunch free marketeers such as Milton Friedman. This belief is not without justification, since money underpins every transaction in a way that apples do not, but we should always be careful not to take existing institutions for granted and central banking is no exception. In this post I will look at the idea of private or free banking, where banks compete (and cooperate) to issue their own currency.
2015
Level: expert
In this lecture Mirowski claims that a good critique of and alternative to neoclassical economics should focus on microeconomics. In addition, he claims that mainstream economics is not about a specific "human nature", instead the understanding of markets (partially based on Hayek) is of special importance. As an alternative Mirowski proposes institutionalist economics that builds upon how markets work nowadays (e.g. links to computer science).
2015
Level: beginner
Paul Mason presents the main arguments of his book PostCapitalism. First, he argues that capitalism runs out of its capability to adapt to crises and second states that information technology challenges the capitalist system. In a nutshell, he argues that a society which fully exploits information technologies can't include concepts such as intellectual property, free market or private ownership. This has far-reaching consequences for the organisation of wages and work. The talk stops at minute 37.30.
2014
Level: beginner
In this lecture, Konstantinos Katsikopoulos presents the concept of bounded rationality and contrasts two - as he calls it - cultures of research and analysis within Behavioral Economics: an "idealistic" and a "pragmatic" approach. Thereby, Katsikopoulos discusses amongst others their different assumptions on decision making (utility optimization vs. achievement of a satisfactory outcome), the psychological process as well as the epistemic aim and implications on policy recommendations (nudging vs. education).
2014