Ester Faia, Monica Paiella, 19 September 2017

Over the past decade, there has been substantial growth in peer-to-peer lending through digital platforms, which come with unique benefits and risks compared with traditional funding and investment instruments. This column presents an empirical analysis of the two largest platforms in the US. The results show that various hard and soft information signals have emerged to address inherent information asymmetries. The growth of the sector was further helped by fragility of the banking sector in the wake of Global Crisis.

Wolfgang Dauth, Sebastian Findeisen, Jens Südekum, Nicole Woessner, 19 September 2017

Recent research has shown that industrial robots have caused severe job and earnings losses in the US. This column explores the impact of robots on the labour market in Germany, which has many more robots than the US and a much larger manufacturing employment share. Robots have had no aggregate effect on German employment, and robot exposure is found to actually increase the chances of workers staying with their original employer. This effect seems to be largely down to efforts of work councils and labour unions, but is also the result of fewer young workers entering manufacturing careers.

John Vickers, 18 September 2017

The general opinion expressed by those in the financial sector and its regulators is that reform since 2008 has got us to about the right place in terms of limits on bank leverage. But the majority view of economists outside the financial sector is that Basel III goes nowhere near far enough. This column argues that while it represents a huge improvement on Basel II, Basel III should be seen as a staging post, not an end-point, and built upon in the years ahead.

Edward Glaeser, Giacomo Ponzetto, 18 September 2017

Psychologists have long documented that we over-attribute people's actions to innate characteristics rather than to circumstances. This column shows that when we commit this ‘fundamental attribution error’ as voters, we over-ascribe politicians´ success to personal characteristics that merit re-election. Although this mistake can improve politicians’ incentives in ordinary times, the theory also explains lack of institutional reform and poor institutional choices, such as decreased demand for a free press and preferences for dictatorship.

Jan Hanousek, Anastasiya Shamshur, Jiri Tresl, 18 September 2017

Bribery and corruption still present a significant cost to many countries today. This column examines how the efficiency of Eastern European private firms is affected by the level of corruption in their operating environment. An environment of high corruption has an adverse effect on firm efficiency, with ‘honest’ firms – typically foreign-owned and/or with female CEOs – penalised even more.

Other Recent Columns: