On Sunday, August 9th the people of Belarus will go to the polls for the 6th Presidential election since independence. The incumbent is widely expected to win, which he has done for the previous five. He probably already has.

And yet according to Andrew Roth, writing for The Guardian, something is in the air. Enamoured by three female opposition leaders, each representing a jailed candidate, many more are noticing Belarus with increased interest.

One might think that the left would idolise Belarus, after all it rejected neoliberal style shock therapy and has led to respectable and evenly distributed income growth. There’s no oligarchs, many public services are effective, and unemployment is low. …


“Progress is sustainable, indefinitely. But only by people who engage in a particular kind of thinking and behaviour — the problem-solving and problem-creating kind characteristic of the Enlightenment. And that requires the optimism of a dynamic society” (Deutsch, 2011, p.423)

Management is the process by which people control resources, and the ultimate resource is people. So management is predominantly about how we try to influence and affect the actions of other people, typically in an organisational setting. If you want to develop your skills as managing people, you need to understand those people and how they do their jobs. Therefore a critical prerequisite for management is a broad understanding of business. …


Following Sam Bowman’s excellent list of “Things I recommend you buy and use” (which inspired Rob Wiblin’s edition), here is my own version.

My focus is more on sharing instances of consumer surplus than providing a recommendation for purchases, but I also think it’s a great way to share advice and am genuinely interested to read as many of these as possible. We gain consumer surplus when we buy something for less than we think it is worth. Taking the time to recognise consumer surplus is the antidote to feeling ripped off and gouged. …


Would you believe it? I’ve spent years producing original, expert commentary on the economy and financial markets (see Kaleidic Economics) and yet the time I make it onto something like The Chart Book (at 28:15) it’s for a tweet I posted while homeschooling.

As a professional educator I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to homeschool. And although my wife has taken on the vast majority of the work, the few hours where I’ve sat down with my kids has allowed me to confront a burning issue that I’ve dwelt on for some time. Should we treat adults like children?

We know that children are excellent learners, and great care and attention is given to understanding their development and providing engaging activities that help them progress. Indeed learning techniques are monitored and studied in a way that’s absent for most higher education establishments. As Teaching and Learning coordinator for the London campus at ESCP Business School, I routinely attend conferences on improving teaching practices. And I’ve been surprised by how much of that content originates from foundation year studies. I’ve often encountered an implicit implication that since children are the best learners, educators should adopt those models whenever learning takes place. Hence the focus on participant-centred learning, the importance of play, etc. …


In a 1964 article Nobel Laureate James Buchanan famously asked, “what should economists do?” He was concerned by a trend for economic analysis to focus too much on attempting to solve technical problems, and losing sight of the methodological underpinnings of the discipline. He encouraged economists to…

concentrate their attention on a particular form of human activity, and upon the various institutional arrangements that arise as a result of this form of activity. …


The Korean peninsula is the classic example of the importance of economic institutions. You can take an ethnically and culturally homogenous territory, mark out an arbitrary line, and thus create a natural experiment. Put a centrally planned economy in the North, and a (broadly) market economy in the South. Communism vs. capitalism. And see what happens…

The results are compelling. Not only in terms of economic growth and material wealth, but in living standards and basic human dignity. …


My mother spent her career in the Modern Languages department of a secondary school near Southampton, England. When people asked her what she did, she’d say, “I teach”. The typical follow up question is “what do you teach?” to which she’d reply “students”. At some fundamental level this captures the perennial debate about pedagogy. We typically act as though we teach subjects, (in my mother’s case, French and Russian), and that the purpose of teaching is to transfer knowledge about that subject from teacher to student. …


The debate about the key drivers of economic growth, and how it can be generated in different countries at different times, is complex. However economists have a fairly good understanding of what needs to be in place for growth to occur.

Certain moments in history have generated natural experiments that allow us to see the impact of alternative economic institutions. From 1910–1945 the Korean peninsula was economically, culturally, and ethnically homogenous, and under Japanese rule. At the end of the Second World War it was divided in two, with the North becoming a Soviet controlled planned economy, and the South an American controlled capitalist economy. Never before had there been such a clean test of two different economic systems. ­As the twentieth century progressed, the results became clearer and clearer, with South Korea benefiting from income per capita that outgrew the North by a factor of 14, significantly lower infant mortality, and unfathomable leads in consumption capabilities. …


This article simulates a faculty lounge conversation, inspired by Kitch, Edmund W., ed. 1983 “The Fire of Truth: A Remembrance of Law and Economics at Chicago, 1932–1970.” Journal of Law and Economics 26(1):163–234

How should students view themselves?

Students are not customers and we are not hotels, desperate to please a fickle populace. Although aspects of university services (for example library facilities, catering choices, or general cleanliness) should match expectations, and satisfaction feedback is appropriate, this doesn’t apply to taught content. We need to remove the pathetic “you said, we did” mentality. We know their educational journey better than they do because they’re still on it. And it might be hard to communicate effectively as to what this journey entails. So, if programme coherence isn’t possible we must highlight why variation is valuable. It’s a conscious, deliberate objective to cultivate epistemic fluency. …


I believe that one of the most important books in the history of economic thought is Philip Mirowski’s Machine Dreams. He explains how the practice of economics, and the status of the economist, dramatically changed in response to the vast sums of money entering the profession around the time of the second world war. Prior to this, economics was a true social science. Figureheads such as Adam Smith were studying political economy and saw their role as a student. Their goal was to understand the world around them, using the lens of economic theory. It was scientific, because it involved a deliberate and coherent method of enquiry. …

About

Anthony J. Evans

Professor of Economics at ESCP Business School

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