Category Archives: Economy & Society

Economic decisions have a direct impact on the development of our society. Learning to manage the synergies between the economic world, businesses and communities helps improve individuals’ living environments, deal with crises and conflicts, and support organizational development.

War and peace: The case for power sharing

There has long been an association between politics and violence. Factional disagreements can often lead to prolonged violence. At the same time, there is apparent evidence that the prospect or reality of power sharing can reduce violence – as with the Good Friday agreement and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland, for example. At a time when factional violence, within a country or region, is evident in numerous parts of the world, research that examines how to prevent that violence is particularly relevant.

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The case for investing in good quality early child care

Two researchers look at the controversial issue of whether Early Child Care for very young children (under the age of three) provides benefits over care at home. And if so, whether it benefits children to a different degree depending on their circumstances.

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A change of mind: A more effective approach to shaping attitudes towards social and economic issues

Research suggests that, perhaps instinctively, people tend to prefer stability and the status quo to transformation and new ideas, even when they are personally disadvantaged as a result. The tacit approval of inequality despite its proven negative impact on society is a good example. Patrick Haack, Assistant Professor at HEC Lausanne and Jost Sieweke, Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam investigate why we think and behave this way. In doing so they provide persuasive new insights on how to change prevailing attitudes and behavior.

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Tackling inequality: why wealth taxes may not be the answer

Could capital taxes on personal wealth be part of the solution to tackling growing inequalities in society? Unfortunately, there is little research evidence to support arguments for or against the imposition of wealth taxes. However, new research shows that use of wealth taxes in the battle against global inequality is far from straightforward.

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Breaking down the fear barrier: How the consumer learning effect can increase vaccination uptake

Vaccination programs have the potential to substantially reduce the health and economic burden of many common diseases. However, vaccine uptake is far from optimal. One suggested reason for this is a general fear and mistrust of vaccinations. In their paper ‘Learning to Trust Flu Shots’ Jürgen Maurer and Katherine Harris investigate how the consumer learning process can help build trust and improve influenza vaccination use.

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Managing the expectations trade-off: Why flexible agreements often prove counter-productive

A common criticism of economics is that economic theory often fails to predict real world events, spectacularly so in some cases. More recently, however, a more empirical approach to economics has emerged that combines economic theory, psychology, and laboratory experimentation, in order to better understand decision making in real life situations.

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The economic cycle of fear: How panic fuelled a global recession

As President Franklin D Roosevelt famously once observed: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. It is an aphorism that policymakers should take note of, given the findings of research by Philippe Bacchetta and Eric van Wincoop into the causes of the Great Recession.

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Reducing the cost of unemployment: The importance of overall impact when designing effective policy

Research shows that policies designed to encourage people into work have an impact beyond the individual, at a market level. These market effects may produce unanticipated, unintended and even undesired consequences.

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The DNA of war: Deciphering the economic causes and consequences of conflict

When we think about the consequences of war we tend to think about the immediate casualties, the lost lives and the injured. Yet war also has many debilitating long term economic effects, including some that make the prospects of further conflict and misery much more likely.

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Preventing civil conflict: the trade and trust solution

Strong institutions or democracy don’t always appear to alter the risk of conflict. Dominic Rohner and Mathias Thoenig offer a different take on the causes of civil conflict. Adopting an economic perspective, the authors explore the interconnected relationships between trade, trust and war, tracing the root causes of conflict to mistrust and a breakdown of trading relationships.

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