Category “Economic Growth & Inequality”

Geography and Trade

Paul Krugman (1991)

PaulKrugman_GeographyAndTradeThree classic lectures, looking primarily at the roles of economies of scale and transport costs on regional and international trade.

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Mull on This

Source: David J. C. MacKay

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Apocalypse, Technofix or Back-to-Nature?

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The Law’s Majestic Equality


Optimism about the use of laws, constitutions, and rights to achieve social change has never been higher among practitioners. But the academic literature is skeptical that courts can direct resources toward the poor. This paper develops a nuanced account in which not all courts are the same. Countries and policy areas characterized by judicial decisions with broader applicability tend to avoid the potential anti-poor bias of courts, whereas areas dominated by individual litigation and individualized effects are less likely to have pro-poor outcomes. Using data on social and economic rights cases in five countries, the authors estimate the potential distributive impact of litigation by examining whether the poor are over or under-represented among the beneficiaries of litigation, relative to their share of the population. They find that the impact of courts varies considerably across the cases, but is positive and pro-poor in two of the five countries (India and South Africa), distribution-neutral in two others (Indonesia and Brazil), and sharply anti-poor in Nigeria. Overall, the results of litigation are much more positive for the poor than conventional wisdom would suggest.”

Daniel M. Brinks & Varun Gauri (2012) ‘The Law’s Majestic Equality? – The Distributive Impact of Litigating Social and Economic Rights’, Policy Research Working Paper 5999, World Bank Development Research Group.

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The Spice of 21st Century Life

Source: British Geological Survey (2011)

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Corpocracy: A Quantitative Approach

Network topology. (A) A bow-tie consists of in-section (IN), out-section (OUT), strongly connected component or core (SCC), and tubes and tendrils (T&T). (B) Bow-tie structure of the largest connected component (LCC) and other connected components (OCC). Each section volume scales logarithmically with the share of its TNCs operating revenue. In parenthesis, percentage of operating revenue and number of TNCs, cfr. Table 1. (C) SCC layout of the SCC (1318 nodes and 12191 links). Node size scales logarithmically with operation revenue, node color with network control (from yellow to red). Link color scales with weight. (D) Zoom on some major TNCs in the financial sector. Some cycles are highlighted.

Source: Vitali, S., Glattfelder, J.B., Battiston, S. ‘The network of global corporate control’.

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Money and Social Conventions on the Island of Yap

The economy of Yap, a small island in the Pacific, once had a type of money that was something between commodity and fiat money. The traditional medium of exchange in Yap was fei, stone wheels up to 12 feet in diameter. These stones had holes in the center so that they could be carried on poles and used for exchange. Large stone wheels are not a convenient form of money. The stones were heavy, so it took substantial effort for a new owner to take his fei home after completing a transaction. Although the monetary system facilitated exchange, it did so at great cost. Eventually, it became common practice for the new owner of the fei not to bother to take physical possession of the stone. Instead, the new owner accepted a claim to the fei without moving it. In future bargains, he traded this claim for goods that he wanted. Having physical possession of the stone became less important than having legal claim to it.

This practice was put to a test when a valuable stone was lost at sea during a storm. Because the owner lost his money by accident rather than through negligence, everyone agreed that his claim to the fei remained valid. Even generations later, when no one alive had ever seen this stone, the claim to this fei was still valued in exchange.

– Angell, Norman (1929) ‘The Story of Money’, In: Mankiw, N.G. (2009) ‘Macroeconomics’ (7th ed.)

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Chinese Foreign Direct Investment

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The European Union

(2007) John Pinder





Everything you never wanted to know about the EU, because you assumed – correctly – that such knowledge would have no relevance whatsoever to your life.

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Energy Inflation & your CPI

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