Misbehaving: How Economics Became Behavioural
Reviewer: Ian Bright
Why are we more likely to forgo the opportunity to sell a £100 bottle of wine rather than actually taking money out our wallet to pay for it, when ultimately the 'opportunity cost' of doing so is the same? Why would the 'endowment effect' mean that we value a free ticket worth hundreds of pounds more than the money we would get from selling it? In this new, ambitious work, Thaler presents his findings in behavioural economics and breaks down the biases and irrational tendancies in our thinking, showing us how to avoid making costly mistakes in life.
Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency and Promise of Climate Change
Reviewer: Ian Roderick, Director, The Schumacher Institute
The risks of climate change are potentially immense. The benefits of taking action are also clear: we can see that economic development, reduced emissions, and creative adaptation go hand in hand. In this book, Nicholas Stern explains why, notwithstanding the great attractions of a new path, it has been so difficult to tackle climate change effectively. He makes a compelling case for climate action now and sets out the forms that action should take.
The Business of Sharing: Making it in the New Sharing Economy
Reviewer: Helen Solomon, Lecturer in Economics, De Montfort University
Today, 'collaborative consumption' lets people earn over $15 billion a year by sharing what they already own: from cars and homes to money and time. And that's almost nothing. According to PwC, the sharing economy will grow into a $335 billion market by 2025. Written by one of the business leaders of the movement, The Business of Sharing is an insider's guide for anyone thinking of entering the sharing economy and looking to profit from the upheavals ahead.
Rogues, swindlers and the rise of modern finance
Reviewer: Bill Allen
In a story teeming with playboys and scoundrels and rich in colorful and amazing events, Klaus chronicles the evolution of trust through three distinct epochs: the age of values, the age of networks and reputations, and, ultimately, in a world of increased technology and wealth, the age of skepticism and verification. In today’s world, where the questionable dealings of large international financial institutions are continually in the spotlight, this extraordinary history has great relevance, offering essential lessons in both the importance and the limitations of trust.
Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well‑Being
Reviewer: Tony Dolphin, Senior Economist, IPPR
The authors examine the evolution of happiness research, considering the famous "Easterlin Paradox," which found that people's average life satisfaction didn't seem to depend on their income. But they question whether happiness research can measure what needs to be measured. They argue that we should not assess people's well-being on a "happiness scale," because that necessarily obscures true social progress. Instead, rising income should be understood as increasing opportunities and alleviating scarcity.
The Forgotten Depression - 1921: The Crash that Cured Itself
Reviewer: Bill Allen
The Forgotten Depression - 1921 is an account of the deep economic slump of 1920–21 that proposes, with respect to federal intervention, “less is more.” This is a free-market rejoinder to the Keynesian stimulus applied by Bush and Obama to the 2007–09 recession, in whose aftereffects, Grant asserts, the nation still toils.
James Grant tells the story of America’s last governmentally-untreated depression; relatively brief and self-correcting, it gave way to the Roaring Twenties. His book appears in the fifth year of a lackluster recovery from the overmedicated downturn of 2007–2009
How to Speak Money
Reviewer: Anna Leach, Head of Economic Analysis, CBI
Money is our global language. Yet so few of us can speak it. The language of the economic elite can be complex, jargon-filled and completely baffling. Above all, the language of money is the language of power - power in the hands of the same economic elite.
Now John Lanchester, bestselling author of Capital and Whoops! sets out to decode the world of finance for all of us, explaining everything from high-frequency trading and the World Bank to the difference between bullshit and nonsense.
Can financial markets be controlled?
Reviewer: Kitty Ussher, Managing Director, Tooley Street Research
The Global Financial Crisis overturned decades of received wisdomon how financial markets work, and how best to keep them in check.Since then a wave of reform and re–regulation has crashed overbanks and markets. Financial firms are regulated as never before.
But have these measures been successful, and do they go farenough? In this smart new polemic, former central banker andfinancial regulator, Howard Davies, responds with a resounding no . The problems at the heart of the financial crisis remain. There is still no effective co–ordination of internationalmonetary policy. The financial sector is still too big and,far from protecting the economy and the tax payer, recentgovernment legislation is exposing both to even greater risk.
Fortune Tellers: The Story of America’s First Economic Forecasters
Reviewer: Ian Harwood, Independent Consultant
The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they failed to predict the devastating crash of 1929.
Walter Friedman paints vivid portraits of entrepreneurs who shared a belief that the rational world of numbers and reason could tame—or at least foresee—the irrational gyrations of the market. Despite their failures, this first generation of economic forecasters helped to make the prediction of economic trends a central economic activity, and shed light on the mechanics of financial markets by providing a range of statistics and information about individual firms. They also raised questions that are still relevant today. What is science and what is merely guesswork in forecasting? What motivates people to buy forecasts? Does the act of forecasting set in motion unforeseen events that can counteract the forecast made?
Masterful and compelling, Fortune Tellers highlights the risk and uncertainty that are inherent to capitalism itself.
The Shifts and the Shocks
What we’ve learned - and have still to learn - from the financial crisis
Reviewer: Mark Cleary, Kinetic Economics
Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times Martin Wolf gives an insightful and timely analysis of why the financial crisis occurred, and of the radical reforms needed if we are to avoid a future repeat.