Jonathan Portes, 04 October 2018

A report by the UK Government’s independent Migration Advisory Committee draws on new research on the impact of immigration to the UK, particularly on migration, training, and the public finances. This column presents some of the findings from the report.

Joan Costa-i-Font, Paola Giuliano, Berkay Ozcan, 30 September 2018

Previous studies have shown that saving rates are influenced by, among other things, demographics and income, but much of the difference in saving rates across societies remains unexplained. This column uses data covering three generations of immigrants in the UK to demonstrate that culture is an important explanation for cross-country differences in saving behaviour. When designing incentives to save, culture should therefore be taken into account.

Lubos Pastor, Pietro Veronesi, 28 September 2018

The vote for Brexit and the election of protectionist Donald Trump to the US presidency – two momentous markers of the ongoing pushback against globalisation – led some to question the rationality of voters. This column presents a framework that demonstrates how the populist backlash against globalisation is actually a rational voter response when the economy is strong and inequality is high. It highlights the fragility of globalisation in a democratic society that values equality.

Maria Ferreira, 21 September 2018

Despite a considerable premium on equity compared to risk-free assets, many households do not own any financial investments. Personal risk preferences play a crucial role in understanding this economic behaviour. This column analyses financial risk attitudes across 15 countries and identifies relevant factors that affect the willingness to take risky investment decisions. The results reveal a significant heterogeneous attitude of risk-aversion in all countries and suggest that standard portfolio-investment theory does not always hold. 

Vincent Bouvatier, Gunther Capelle-Blancard, Anne-Laure Delatte, 11 September 2018

Tax havens are estimated to concentrate 8% of global private financial wealth, reducing annual global tax revenues by about $200 billion. This column uses new country-by-country regulatory data on the foreign commercial presence of EU banks and compares it against gravity model predictions to examine the contribution of EU banks to tax evasion. It finds that bank activity in tax havens is three times larger than what is predicted by the gravity model, and that British and German banks are particularly present in tax havens. 

Michael Burda, 23 August 2018

Professor Michael C. Burda of the Humboldt University of Berlin discusses the German opinion on Britain's decision to leave the EU. 

Simon Wren-Lewis, 01 August 2018

Gregory Clark, Neil Cummins, 30 July 2018

Northern England is now less educated and less productive than the south. This north-south divide is often characterised by policymakers as evidence of market failure. This column uses surname distributions to show that the northern decline can instead be explained by persistent outmigration of talent from the north. People of northern origin perform as well on average as those of southern origin. Talented northerners, however, are now mainly located in the south, where they are an economic elite.

Dennis Novy, 27 July 2018

When President Trump recently spoke of his hope for "a great bilateral trade agreement” with the UK after Brexit, what did he really mean? Dennis Novy of the University of Warwick describes what these political good intentions may look like in reality, the problems that both sides will have to solve to agree a UK-US deal, and the factors that might derail any agreement.

Simon Wren-Lewis, 03 July 2018

Stephen Byrne, Jonathan Rice, 19 June 2018

While the effect of Brexit on trade between the UK and the remaining EU member states has received considerable attention, to date little work has considered the issue of non-tariff barriers. This column explores how increased documentary compliance and border delays will affect EU members’ exports to the UK. Time-sensitive goods are found to be most at risk of suffering from increases in non-tariff barriers. Based on current trade composition, Latvia, Ireland, and Denmark are the trading partners that will be most affected.

Cevat Giray Aksoy, Christopher S. Carpenter, Jefferson Frank, Matt L. Huffman, 13 June 2018

Earnings gaps and ‘glass ceilings’ have been extensively documented for women and racial minorities. This column explores whether similar limits to advancement are present for sexual minorities, using data from the UK. Although gay men are found to be more likely than similar heterosexual men to report managerial authority, they seem to be restricted to low-level managerial positions, with little representation at higher levels. Similar glass ceiling effects are found for lesbians and bisexual adults, and the evidence is suggestive of discrimination playing a role. 

Jonathan Portes, 09 June 2018

Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Tho Pham, Oleksandr Talavera, 02 June 2018

The rise of social media has profoundly affected how people acquire and process information. Using Twitter data on the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election, this column studies how social media bots shape public opinion and voting outcomes. Bots have a tangible effect on the tweeting activity of humans, but the degree of their influence depends on whether they provide information consistent with humans’ priors. The findings suggest that effect of bots was likely marginal, but possibly large enough to affect voting outcomes in the two elections.

Alan de Bromhead, Alan Fernihough, Markus Lampe, Kevin O'Rourke, 22 May 2018

The literature has identified several stylised facts which characterise the nature and causes of the collapse in international trade during 2008 and 2009. This column uses detailed, commodity-specific information on UK imports between 1929 and 1933 to document several similarities between the trade collapses of the Great Depression and the Great Recession. The findings are in line with theories emphasising the composition of expenditure changes during major economic crises, or the relative sizes of firms operating closer to or further away from the margin between exporting or not.

Giordano Mion, 04 May 2018

Ten years on from the Global Crisis, productivity growth in the UK lags behind that in economies such as France and Germany. Giordano Mion shares his work on why this 'productivity puzzle' exists. The production capacity of manufacturers has not fallen much since 2008, but demand has faltered. This video was recorded at the 2018 RES Conference.

Jonathan Portes, 06 April 2018

Much public and policy concern has focused on the distributional impacts of immigration – in particular, potential negative impacts on employment and wages for low-skilled workers. This column summarises evidence and draws conclusions from the now considerable literature on the impact of migration to the UK on the economy and labour market, including the potential economic impacts of Brexit-induced reductions in migration.

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