Category Archives: The dismal science

Debt Miracle: Why the Country that Borrowed the Most Industrialised First

Is debt really that bad? This column looks at the towering debts, rapid tax hikes, and constant state of war that led to Britain’s Industrial Revolution, showing that the devil is in the detail when assessing sovereign debt. When we consider the dangers of debt in today’s world, we should keep an eye on its potential benefits as well.

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Changing Economic Factors and the Rise in Obesity

Obesity is fast becoming a prominent global health issue. This column presents new evidence tentatively suggesting that variables related to the costs of eating – particularly whether there is a big discount warehouse nearby – are leading drivers of the rise in obesity occurring since the early 1980s. These findings should help policymakers work with businesses to find the best solution to tackle obesity.

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The Washington Consensus and Long-Term Austerity in Latin America

Most Latin American countries—including those, like Chile and Brazil, where democratically elected leftist governments were overthrown in the 1960s and 1970s. reversed course to adopt “neoliberal” economic policies. How well did that work?

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Some Pointers on How to Catch the Dubious Use of Statistics

A long standing pet peeve is how the use of figures has been fetishized in political discourse and in our society generally, to the point where many people too easily swayed by argument that invoke data (I discussed this phenomenon at length in the business context in a 2006 article for the Conference Board Review, […]

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New Study Debunks Myth That Exorbitant CEO Pay Results from “Talent”

In the last month or so, I’ve seen some remarkably dubious studies flogged around what Lambert calls the Innertubes, all ringing changes on the same themes: outsized pay for those at the top is a reflection of a state of nature. Fortunately, a new study from Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis of the Economic Policy Institute has done the heavy lifting of shredding new, creative defenses of out-of-control CEO pay.

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