Insight into first-year econ undergrads’ key priorities

Every year the CORE Project, the team behind the campaign to radically transformed economics education, asks teachers at the universities that use their free textbooks to survey their first-years about what they see as the key economic issues.

This year the top issue is inequality, as it has been since the starting polling in 2016. This year that was closely followed by Covid-19, climate change, and unemployment – reflecting the problems that they hope the economics profession can explain and solve. Note that the traditional obsessions of orthodox economists (inflation, equilibrium,supply/demand, inflation) are way down the list.

COREproduce word clouds for the aggregate conclusions from all 17 universities that took part as well as individual word clouds from the cohorts from North America, Europe and Asia. My blog summarising the findings can be found here

Impact of President-elect Biden on multilateral banks

The imminent departure of Donald Trump from the White House has raised the question of the role that Joe Biden will play as the leader of the single largest shareholder in the multilateral financial institutions. These include the International Monetary Fund, World Bank Group and the regional development banks. Leading analysts told me there are grounds for optimism over enhanced debt relief for the poorest countries, recapitalisation of many IFIs and further action on the climate change agenda. The article is here.

Climate change, green power, and longevity for EMEAfinance

Phil Thornton researched and wrote three detailed features for the 2017 winter edition of the EMEAfinance magazine.

The cover story was an analysis on the impacts for businesses and government sin emerging markets of the agreement on climate change signed in Paris in Deceber 2015. He spoke to a number of senior figures at the a business summit that was part of the COP22 conference in Marrakesh in November 2016. The election of Donald Trump cast a shadow over the summit. However, experts told him that a collective commitment to build on the momentum of the last two decades meant further innovation in tackling global warming was inevitable. The story is here.

While in Marrakesh Phil had an indepth interview with Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power. Under his leadership ACWA Power has built up its share of renewables from zero to 15%. He reveals how he would like to see a carbon price of $100 a tonne, how governments should set out the amount of energy they intend to procure over the next five years and the energy mix they envisage, and the challenge of the industry is to go beyond the successes in photovoltaic (PV) and wind power and develop the renewable technologies that will put control of global warning in sight. The interview is here.

Phil also met a number of senior figures who are studying or investing in products related to the growing longevity crisis that is threatening Europe and particularly countries in the east of the continent. They urged policymakers in emerging economies to learn lessons from developed countries to tackle the issue before it hits their economies. The story is here.