Joshua Aizenman, Ilan Noy, 25 August 2012

In the years leading up to the global crisis, the US focused on subsidising home ownership, whereas Germany placed much more emphasis on education and vocational training. While it is easy to think that this explains the subsequent performance of the two economies, this column provides some much needed economic analysis.

Robert Shiller, 14 October 2013

Robert Shiller of Yale University has just been awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen). In this interview recorded in May 2012, he talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his book, ‘Finance and the Good Society’, which argues that even after the crisis, rather than condemning finance, we need to reclaim it for the common good. They discuss financial innovation, personal morality, the importance of education and the contribution that finance can make to our lives.

Graziella Bertocchi, Arcangelo Dimico, 22 July 2012

We evaluate the empirical relevance of de facto vs. de jure determinants of political power in the U.S. South between the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Our results indicate that de jure voting restrictions reduce black registration but that black disfranchisement starts well before 1890 and is more intense where a black majority represents a threat to the de facto power of white elites.

Davide Cantoni, Noam Yuchtman, 21 May 2012

We like to think that we have moved on from the Middle Ages, but do universities from that period have something to teach us about the role of government in education? This column thinks so.

Martin Kocher, Daniela Rützler, Matthias Sutter, Stefan Trautmann, 16 April 2012

According to recent research, children’s self-control is critical for their development. This column explores whether self-control can be taught – and whether governments should do the teaching.

Diane Coyle, 22 February 2012

The global crisis has plunged the economic profession into a state of anxiety, at least in some quarters. One question, among many, is whether the way economics is taught at universities needs to be rethought. This column summarises the range of views raised at a recent conference on this issue organised by the British government, the Bank of England, and the Royal Economic Society.

Alison Booth, Lina Cardona Sosa, 06 February 2012

Some blame women’s under-representation in high-level jobs on differences between the sexes in risk aversion and competitiveness. But are these differences in behaviour hardwired or learned? The authors of CEPR DP8690 tackled this thorny question with a controlled experiment in single-sex and co-educational classrooms. Women, they find, become far less timorous about uncertainty with the men out of the room.

Victor Ginsburgh, 08 February 2012

English is the dominant language of the Internet, business, and world trade. Do we need another? This column applies an economist’s rationale to the question.

Sascha O. Becker, 13 January 2012

Sascha Becker of the University of Warwick talks to Romesh Vaitilingam about his research on the important role that formal education played in facilitating industrialisation in nineteenth century Prussia. They also discuss the relationship between education and fertility, and historical evidence in support of ‘unified growth theory’. The interview was recorded in August 2010.

Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, Andrei Shleifer, 24 October 2011

Can trust be taught in the classroom? The authors of CEPR DP8625 present evidence that progressive or 'horizontal' teaching methods can help children develop beliefs that reinforce social capital, with broad benefits for society and the economy overall.

Lance Lochner, 17 October 2011

Given recent budget problems around the world, many governments have proposed sharp cuts to education. What are the likely long-run costs of these cuts? This column reviews a growing body of studies and concludes that crime rates are likely to increase, health and mortality are likely to deteriorate, and political and social institutions may suffer.

Derek Neal, Gadi Barlevy, 08 October 2011

Should teachers be on performance-related pay? Will it bring out the best in their abilities and, it is hoped, the children they are educating? What is the best way to measure such performance? This column presents a new proposal for teacher wages: Pay for Percentile.

Sandra McNally, Nina Guyon, Eric Maurin, 06 October 2011

In almost all countries, students are split up by ability at some stage in their education. This column looks at the effect of a change in policy in Northern Ireland that made entry into the elite group easier.

Fabrice Murtin, Romain Wacziarg, 05 October 2011

As witnessed during this year’s Arab Spring, democracy doesn’t always emerge smoothly. This column examines the long march toward political freedom since 1800. It argues that while both income and education affect democracy, the rise in primary education has been the main driver of democratisation over 1870-2000.

Ralf R Meisenzahl, Joel Mokyr, 13 June 2011

The industrial revolution is, for many, the start of modern economic growth. But what started the industrial revolution? The consensus view is that scarce labour stimulated labour-saving inventions and induced innovation. This column begs to differ. It argues that it was the technical competence of the British mechanical elite that allowed great ideas to turn into economic realities.

Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Ugo Panizza, 04 June 2011

Is democracy the most efficient method to guarantee good governance? This column argues that democratic institutions work well only when the electorate is sufficiently educated.

Davin Chor, Filipe Campante, 25 April 2011

Political drama continues to unfold in the Middle East. This column uncovers education’s role in the recent uprisings. It finds that one unforeseen effect of increased investment in education has been the creation of a generation of well-educated but frustrated political activists. It concludes that – in more ways than one – the Middle East autocrats have contributed to their own downfall.

Eleonora Patacchini , Yves Zenou, 25 February 2011

Most people agree that friends matter – not just for personal wellbeing but for achieving their goals in life. Several studies have shown this to be particularly the case in education but the detection and measure of such peer effects is often found wanting. Using detailed information on friendship networks of American high-school students, this column finds that the friends we make at age 15 to 18 have a strong and persistent effect on our lives.

Tullio Jappelli, Mario Padula, 08 February 2011

Previous research has suggested that low levels of financial literacy can often be blamed for poor financial decisions by individuals, with knock-on effects for the wider economy. This column adds empirical evidence based on cross-country aggregate and micro-data, showing that indeed countries with higher financial literacy also have higher saving rates and greater wealth.

Richard Freeman, Stephen Machin, Martina Viarengo, 04 January 2011

Many interpret countries' scores in international testing as grades of their national educational policies. Summarising evidence from international maths exams, this column finds that the highest-scoring countries are those with the least inequality in test scores, suggesting a “virtuous” equity-efficiency trade-off. It also finds that countries perform even better when test scores are highly correlated with the number of books in the family home.