Brian Davidson, CFA

The football fan’s guide to the G20 summit

30 November 2018|

To the average punter, the G20 summit, which kicks off in Argentina today, sounds like a tedious and boring affair. I’m not saying that it isn’t but, with the leaders of the 20 most economically and politically powerful countries meeting in one place, it is a significant event. Deals will be made, treaties signed and the global agenda set. Yet from the outside, the conference might still seem a bit dull. To make it more interesting, and to help our

Erik Britton

Fathom’s upcoming conference: twenty-one years in the making

23 November 2018|

On 7 December we’re hosting a conference at which we will call for a major shift in the stance of monetary policy, globally. Here’s why. Twenty-one years ago, I was an official at the Bank of England, which had just gained operational independence as a consequence of the election of Tony Blair’s New Labour government. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had been launched, and the NICE decade (Non-Inflationary, Continually Expansionary) was well underway. Our concerns at the time related to

Andrew Harris

What economics has taught me about myself

16 November 2018|

All of us have, at some time, had the ‘pleasure’ of living with others, be that friends, family, lodgers or even the eclectic mix of individuals thrown together in first-year undergraduate dorms. Sharing accommodation can be great fun and I’m sure readers will all have plenty of anecdotes to recount. But, as with anything, there are drawbacks. Often chief among these are gripes about hygiene, bin rotas and, most commonly, who does the cleaning. Bad roommates are just as bad

Tobias Sturmhoefel

Lest we forget

9 November 2018|

While this blog usually offers a more light-hearted look at economics, this week a more serious tone seems appropriate. This Sunday marks the centenary of the end of hostilities in the First World War. Poignantly, this year is also one of every seven[1] where Remembrance Day falls on Remembrance Sunday, when ceremonies at London’s Cenotaph and at memorials around the world will commemorate the war dead. Everyone will mark this period of remembrance in their own way. In the UK,

Florian Baier

Out of Office — on sabbatical

2 November 2018|

Following on from last week’s TFiF, I’m also using a recent trip abroad as a hook. However, my trip wasn’t a regular holiday, but a one-year unpaid sabbatical, during which I travelled the world. This got me thinking about the costs and benefits of sabbaticals — something I probably should have considered before I decided to take one. Here’s what the literature has to say. Sabbaticals come in all forms, both in terms of length and substance. Although they've been

Brian Davidson, CFA

An explosive path to zen?

26 October 2018|

Three memories stand out from my recent holiday in Indonesia. The first: time slowing to a standstill as manta ray after manta ray glided past me in the waters of the Komodo National Park. The second: wondering how I managed to find my legs tangled over my head amid sounds from the rainforest, the smell of incense and a light breeze, as I did my first yoga class in 15 years. The third: feeling despondent about how divisive politics have

Andrew Harris

Labour economists — all you need is love?

19 October 2018|

What do economists know about relationships? After all, you “Can’t buy me love” as the Beatles said. But perhaps listening to an economist’s views isn’t so crazy. Ultimately, many economic models of relationships are founded on the same key theme as any Mills & Boon novel — that is, the idea that ‘coupling up’ provides some kind of additional benefit to both parties.[1] To the average paperback writer, this benefit might simply be the additional joy that a relationship can

Andrea Zazzarelli

Spoilt for choice

12 October 2018|

At Fathom, writing the TFiF blog is always greeted with a mixture of anticipation and dread. Picking a suitable topic tends to be half the struggle. I would obviously love to write exclusively, as I did last time, about exotic holidays, but I’ll leave this privilege to one of my colleagues returning from a one-year sabbatical trip around the world. Not that I’m jealous (I am!), but the hard-biting reality of middle agedness tends to steer me towards a choice

Joanna Davies

The trouble and strife of becoming a wife

5 October 2018|

Visiting family last weekend, I found myself having to answer a question that I’ve heard on a regular basis since my engagement a little over two years ago, and which has become even more pressing in the eyes of my mother-in-law since the wedding last month: do I intend to change my surname? The answer is “no”. I’m not entirely sure why, and I’m even less sure how to explain that to my mother-in-law. Perhaps I’ve over-binged on the television

Kevin Loane

Don’t call it a trade war

28 September 2018|

In Tupac Shakur’s social justice battle cry, Changes, the late rapper criticised his government’s priorities: “instead of a war on poverty, they got a war on drugs, so the police can bother me”. More than twenty years after his death, the war on drugs — or poverty for that matter — is little closer to being won.[1]. Meanwhile, the American government has fired the opening salvo in a different kind of battle: one against existing trade arrangements. Donald Trump is

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