What’s the use of economics?

Moderator:  Richard Baldwin

  • Diane Coyle, 19 September 2012

    Five years after Lehman’s collapse, economics is under fire both from outside and inside the profession for irrelevance, arrogance and more. This column introduces a new Vox debate focused on two questions: What’s the use of economics, and how should we be teaching it to the next generation?

  • Andrew G Haldane, 01 October 2012

    There is a long list of culprits when it comes to assigning blame for the financial crisis. This column argues economists are among the guilty, having succumbed to an intellectual virus of theory-induced blindness. It adds this calls for an intellectual reinvestment in models of heterogeneous, interacting agents, following in the footsteps of other social scientists. This will require a sense of academic adventure sadly absent in the pre-crisis period.

  • Wendy Carlin, David Soskice, 25 October 2012

    Is economic teaching keeping up with the changing economy? This column presents a new way of teaching economics in light of the continuing crises. It argues that if we are to create a better-informed public debate we must begin by improving the economics curriculum and our students’ ability and their willingness to communicate about economic ideas and issues.

  • Alan Kirman, 29 October 2012

    The economic crisis has thrown the inadequacies of macroeconomics into stark relief. This column argues that the narrow conception of the macroeconomy as a system in equilibrium is problematic. Economists should abandon entrenched theories and understand the macroeconomy as self-organising. It offers detailed suggestions on what alternative ideas economists can teach their future students that better reflect empirical evidence.

Latest Debate Commentaries

  • Growth and jobs in Europe: Which way now? (Has austerity gone too far?)

    Anis Chowdhury, United Nations ESCAP, 20 November 2014

    Anis Chowdhury (United Nations Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific) and Iyanatul Islam (International Labour Organization).Whether it is EU28 or EA18, the European region has suffered two to three years of negative growth between 2008 and 2014. The projected recovery in 2015 is well below the rate of growth that is expected to be achieved by other advanced economies.1 Some...
  • Anis Chowdhury, United Nations ESCAP, 26 September 2014

    On 9 September, 2014, a large majority of member States mandated the UN to create a “multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring”. The resolution (A/68/L.57/Rev2) commits the General Assembly to agree on modalities, or the terms and logistics, for commencing open, intergovernmental negotiations on a sovereign debt restructuring framework by the end of 2014.  Subsequently, the...
  • Anis Chowdhury, United Nations ESCAP, 18 June 2014

    Iyanatul Islam, Chief, Employment and Labour Market Policies Branch, Employment Policy Department, ILO, Geneva Anis Chowdhury, Director, Macroeconomic Policy and Development Division, UN-ESCAP Introduction The traditional discourse in development economics focussed on issues of underemployment, poverty and structural transformation. However, these issues receded into the background with the...
  • Anis Chowdhury, United Nations ESCAP, 21 January 2014

    By Iyanatul Islam (ILO) and Anis Chowdhury (UN-ESCAP)1,2 Conventional macroeconomics as applied to developing economies is part of an overall framework that has a rather narrow conceptualization of economic stability based on certain thresholds: low, single digit inflation (usually less than 5%), fiscal deficits of less than 3% of GDP, debt to GDP ratio of 40% or less, and foreign exchange...
  • Dr Mark Fernando, Humanitarian Healthcare, 30 August 2013

      This Advisory Paper is intended to assist in securing economic stability, whilst ensuring that humanitarian interventions can have the very strongest possible impact and are effective, combined with an Economics and Diplomacy Model that can provide for a regionally and internationally acceptable mechanism that can ensure peacemaking is successful in the context of enabling public security to be...
  • Dr Mark Fernando, Humanitarian Healthcare, 30 August 2013

      This Advisory Paper is intended to assist in securing economic stability, whilst ensuring that humanitarian interventions can have the very strongest possible impact and are effective, combined with an Economics and Diplomacy Model that can provide for a regionally and internationally acceptable mechanism that can ensure peacemaking is successful in the context of enabling public security to be...
  • Dr Mark Fernando, Humanitarian Healthcare, 30 August 2013

      This Advisory Paper is intended to assist in securing economic stability, whilst ensuring that humanitarian interventions can have the very strongest possible impact and are effective, combined with an Economics and Diplomacy Model that can provide for a regionally and internationally acceptable mechanism that can ensure peacemaking is successful in the context of enabling public security to be...
  • Dr Mark Fernando, Humanitarian Healthcare, 30 August 2013

      This Advisory Paper is intended to assist in securing economic stability, whilst ensuring that humanitarian interventions can have the very strongest possible impact and are effective, combined with an Economics and Diplomacy Model that can provide for a regionally and internationally acceptable mechanism that can ensure peacemaking is successful in the context of enabling public security to be...
  • Reaction to Haldane (What’s the use of economics?)

    Simon Wren-Lewis, Oxford University, 08 October 2012

    I am, like many, in awe of Bank of England director and economist Andy Haldane. However I did wince a bit at his Lead Commentary for the recent Vox debate on economics (Haldane 2012 ). He looks at the extent economists are to blame for the financial crisis, and he makes two interrelated claims. Having noted that central banks have traditionally been concerned with the “interplay of bank money and...
  • Fiscal Rules – Help or hindrance? (Development and the crisis, Has austerity gone too far?)

    Anis Chowdhury, United Nations ESCAP, 04 October 2012

    Anis Chowdhury (United Nations Economic and Social Commissions for Asia and the Pacific) and Iyanatul Islam (International Labour Organization). A fiscal rule represents legislated and long-term numerical limits on budgetary aggregates pertaining to debts, deficits, expenditures and revenues. In a recent IMF working paper1, Schaechter et al (2012) have reported on a database of fiscal rules...