Andrew Harris


7 August 2020|

Cheer up, it’s International Beer Day! Two years ago, we first published the BIRRA — the Beer IndicatoR of Real Activity — which showed an apparent relationship between the price of alcohol-related equities and quarterly euro area GDP growth. In the spirit of International Beer Day, and in light of the unprecedented COVID-led global recession, we’ve decided to revisit that analysis to see what, if anything, the BIRRA can tell us about the recovery. If there’s one thing we can

Brian Davidson, CFA

A little more perspective, please

31 July 2020|

Economists like to compare things — UK GDP was 2.2% lower in the first quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Normal humans like to compare things too — Sally and Tom had a cat, which was fluffier than other cats A good, helpful, economist will put things into a little more context. For example, knowing that the Q1 print was the largest quarterly contraction since 1979 Q3, provides a little more colour. It’s also

Greg Spanner

What’s the interest on a Rishi Snack?

24 July 2020|

Three weeks ago, I finished my studies and returned to hallowed halls of Fathom Towers, virtually at least, working on our Financial Vulnerability Indicator (FVI). While I would love to bore you all with the riveting decisions involved in building the FVI, most of you wouldn’t read past the first paragraph. So instead, I’ll use it as a neat hook to talk about something you’ll be far more interested in: the evolution of policy and why it matters now. For

Andrew Brigden


17 July 2020|

"You’re indestructible Always believing ‘Cause you are gold!" From Gold by Spandau Ballet, 1983 Over the past 20 years or so, the US dollar price of an ounce of gold has risen six-fold, far outstripping the increase in the US CPI. Why is gold so expensive? If the market for gold extraction were competitive then, much like any other commodity, its price would gravitate towards the marginal cost of extraction. And if the marginal cost of extraction were to rise

Ritush Dalmia

When the unconventional becomes the norm

10 July 2020|

My earliest memory of anything remotely related to economics was the financial crisis of 2008. I came home from school to find my dad keenly watching the news. The stock market had crashed, he told eleven-year-old me. I changed out of my uniform, ate a sandwich, and went to play cricket with my friends. A few years later, when I first started studying economics, the fallout from the crisis dominated the macro debate. It was all I was interested in.

Andrew Harris

Economic statistics — by the many or by the few?

3 July 2020|

Economics is, at its core, a study of markets. Goods markets, energy markets, financial markets — there are so many fields that it covers. That’s what makes it so interesting as a subject. But, one thing that’s often overlooked is our own market, the market for economic research and economic statistics. It’s an important discussion to be had, not just for ourselves, but also for users of our products. Economists define natural monopolies as markets with high fixed costs and

Joanna Davies

Big Data, or Big Brother?

26 June 2020|

Never have we agonised over a forecast as much as our latest one, which was produced in the midst of COVID-19. And yet, like most other economic forecasters, where we came out was a collection of letters to describe the likely shape — an alphabet soup of V, U, or L-type scenarios. In a world of exceptionally high uncertainty and variation, this elementary take was the best place to begin. Underlying our scenarios were days of debate concerning the resilience

Andrea Zazzarelli

Fantozzi and the quest for universal income

19 June 2020|

Last weekend, I was reflecting on some of the positives from this lockdown as I sat in the garden soaking up the early summer sun and reading the Saturday paper. The twice-daily meals sitting all together at the table had created a particularly pleasant atmosphere of bonding through a mix of exchange of ideas and jokes. In my son, the forced respite from the busy pre-lockdown routine morphed from the initial slight anxiety about the future into a spur of

Ellie Henderson

Let’s get quizzical

12 June 2020|

With many favourite pastimes falling victim to COVID-19, there had to be some winners emerging from the dust. Peloton, Netflix and Zoom are among those that have seen their share price rocket during lockdown, as people search for alternative leisure activities. Another serious winner has to be quizzing: virtual quizzes are gripping the nation. They bring friends and family together, and the only consequence from a wrong answer is your reputation. However, what if money were on the line? Would

Kevin Loane

America’s awokening

5 June 2020|

Cities across the US have faced days of protests following the death of George Floyd after a distressing video of a Minneapolis officer kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds was released. It was the latest example of an unarmed black man being killed by a law enforcement officer. The #BlackLivesMatter movement was sparked by outrage at police brutality, but it speaks to a broader set of injustices faced by African-Americans, including inequalities in economic outcomes and

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