Louis Nguyen, Jens Hagendorff, Arman Eshraghi, 30 September 2016

Banks are regularly under scrutiny for their professional and ethical behaviour. This column assesses the role of boards in monitoring and advising conduct, and offers new insights for how to structure bank boards to prevent misconduct. Conventional board measures such as board independence and financial expertise have no measurable impact on misconduct being committed or detected. Instead, governance metrics revolving around CEO connections warrant more attention from regulators, investors, and governance activists.

Paul Collier, 06 July 2016

Fragile states cause spillovers not only to their neighbours but also to the rest of the world. In this video, Paul Collier discusses power and authority in fragile states. Legitimacy is built gradually rather than being imposed. This video was recorded during the International Growth Centre’s annual conference held in June 2016 at the LSE.

Nicholas Bloom, Renata Lemos, Raffaella Sadun, John Van Reenen, 07 December 2014

Schools with greater autonomy often perform well, but there is disagreement over whether this is due to better management or cherry-picking of students. Based on interviews with over 1,800 head teachers, this column finds that management quality is strongly correlated with pupil performance. Autonomous schools have better management, and this result does not appear to be driven by pupil composition or other observable factors. However, autonomy for head teachers is not enough – accountability to school governors is also needed.

Julia Cagé, Valeria Rueda, 14 May 2014

African regions where Protestant missionaries were active had indigenous newspapers a century before other regions. This column argues, based on new research, that this difference has had lasting effects. Proximity to a mission that had a printing press in 1903 predicts newspaper readership today. Population density and light density (a proxy for economic development) is also higher today in regions nearer to missions that had printing presses. The results suggest that a well-functioning media – not Protestantism per se – was important for development.

Rafael Doménech, Víctor Pérez-Díaz, 11 December 2013

Based on the report issued by a Committee of Experts, the Spanish Parliament will pass a new law that implements an innovative sustainability factor in the public pension system. This column argues that the proposal solves the problem of financial sustainability in the long run while opening a wider debate on the welfare system and growth under conditions of increased global competition.

Ana De La O, Alberto Chong, Dean Karlan , Léonard Wantchékon, 23 January 2012

For democratic theorists, the notion that greater transparency improves accountability is axiomatic: when voters find out about political corruption, they punish the offending politicians by not voting for them again. But, the authors of CEPR DP8790 argue, many voters also respond to evidence of corruption by not voting at all – indicating that more transparency might not automatically result in a healthier democratic process.

Willem Buiter, 16 January 2012

The global crisis inaugurated a new era for central banks in the advanced economies, when their conventional role as interest rate-setters and lenders and market makers of last resort expanded. Central banks have become the custodians of stability for financial markets – a role for which they lack both democratic accountability and political legitimacy, argues Willem Buiter in DP8780. He decries the new “perverse division of labour” between central banks and fiscal authorities and appeals for a reassessment of this pathological arrangement.

Maurizio Zanardi, Paola Conconi, Nicolas Sahuguet, 30 August 2008

The democratic peace – the regularity that democracies do not go to war with each other – is one of the most robust findings in political science. This column presents recent research showing that democratic leaders unable to seek another term in office behave like autocrats. Accountability to voters in the next election lies at the heart of the democratic peace.

Events