Christian Dippel, Robert Gold, Stephan Heblich, Rodrigo Pinto, 12 April 2017

Finding exogenous variables to establish control mechanisms is difficult outside of randomised control trials. This column shows that under certain circumstances, it is possible to separate out the causal effect of an unknown variable on the observed and unobserved variables. When applied to trade exposure and voter sentiment for populist parties, the model is largely accurate and gives the surprising finding that 170% of the total effect of trade exposure on populist voting is explained by labour markets, meaning that trade exposure’s other effects on voting – those that do not run through labour markets – are politically moderating.

Steven Durlauf, 08 April 2017

Kenneth Arrow, co-recipient of the 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, passed away in February. This column outlines the ideas of one of the transcendent minds in the history of economics. The author, holder of a chair named in Arrow’s honour, notes that while his contributions were central in creating much of what constitutes modern quantitative social science, he was always profoundly aware of the limitations of the edifice, constantly seeking to challenge and broaden economic theory.

Stelios Michalopoulos, Elias Papaioannou, 23 January 2017

Over the past decades, economists working on growth have ‘rediscovered’ the importance of history, leading to the emergence of a vibrant, far-reaching inter-disciplinary stream of work.  This column introduces a new eBook in three volumes which examines key themes in this emergent literature and discusses the impact they have on our understanding of the long-run influence of historical events on current economics.

Roger Farmer, Pawel Zabczyk, 26 October 2016

Ben Bernanke famously quipped that monetary policy works in practice, but not in theory. This column bridges the gap between practice and theory in assessing how central banks can influence both of them by intervening in asset markets. To the extent that asset market volatility is driven by shifts in beliefs, the central bank should aim to eliminate that volatility by engaging in countercyclical unconventional monetary policy, which would end up reducing the risk premium.

John Quiggin, 03 December 2010

John Quiggin of the University of Queensland talks to Viv Davies about his recently published book, which describes some of the economic ideas that he believes played a role in creating the global financial crisis. He refers to the Great Moderation, the efficient markets hypothesis, DSGE, ‘trickle-down’ economics and privatisation as ‘zombie’ ideas, which should have been killed off by the financial crisis, yet for some reason still live on in the minds of many economists and policy-makers. The interview was recorded in London in November 2010. [Also read the transcript]


This 3 day conference at St Catherine's College, Oxford University hosts speakers from Oxford, LSE, UCL, World Bank brings together many of the new and emerging themes in the economics of welfare. Theory tracks focus on social choice and welfare, and other related aspects of welfare economic theory and public economics. Empirical/applied tracks focus on policy areas including health, development, social policy, environment, education, poverty reduction, non-monetary measures of economic progress etc. Papers on applied econometrics or experimental work relevant to welfare economic theory and assumptions about human behaviour also welcome.