Harry Garretsen, Janka I. Stoker, Dimitrios Soudis, Ron Martin, Jason Rentfrow, 25 February 2018

The outcome of the UK’s referendum on EU membership came as a shock to most academic and policy experts. This column uses an extensive dataset of personality traits combined with socioeconomic data to show how the clustering of personality traits contributes to an understanding of the regional dispersion of the Brexit vote. Openness appears to be the trait that matters most – modest changes in this openness could actually have swung the vote across UK districts.

K. Kıvanç Karaman, Sevket Pamuk, Seçil Yıldırım-Karaman, 24 February 2018

There is a notable lack of long-run analyses of monetary systems and their stability. This column addresses this gap by looking at the monetary systems of major European states between 1300 and 1914. The evidence collected suggests that, despite many switches between standards and systems, fiscal capacity and political regimes ultimately shaped patterns of monetary stability. Theories of monetary stability that rely on the mechanics of monetary systems perform poorly when such a long-run perspective is taken.

Marc Piopiunik, Guido Schwerdt, Lisa Simon, Ludger Woessmann, 23 February 2018

Applicants use CVs to signal cognitive and non-cognitive skills to potential employers, but we know little about how effective those signals are. Based on an experiment in which HR managers chose between CVs, this column argues that signals of cognitive skills, social skills, and maturity matter for successful entry into the labour market. The relevant signals depend on gender and entry stage.

Marcel Fratzscher, Lukas Menkhoff, Lucio Sarno, Tobias Stöhr, 23 February 2018

Central bank interventions in foreign exchange markets have long been viewed with scepticism by academics. This column examines foreign exchange interventions for a sample of 33 advanced and developing economies. Interventions occur frequently, in episodes that can last several days, and are often successful in smoothing exchange rates. These results show that central bankers, particularly in emerging markets, appreciate the efficacy of interventions.

Stephen Cecchetti, Kim Schoenholtz, 22 February 2018

Investment is shifting from tangible physical assets to intangible goods like software, data, and R&D. This column analyses the impact of this shift on the structure of firm financing. The financial system’s shift from public to private equity is, on the whole, an encouraging reflection of its response to the changing needs of the economy.

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