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

Articles on MENA jobless rate, Islamic finance, and Estonia

Phil researched and wrote three articles for the latest edition of EMEA Finance magazine looking at issues in the Middle East and eastern Europe.

In a long feature based on a major conference held in Morocco and follow-up interviews, Phil looked at the challenges posed to the North African region from high rates of unemployment, especially among the youth, and what countries and agencies can do to tackle that. It found optimism that bodies such as the EBRD and IMF believe the region can reap the benefits of economic reform. The article is here.

Focusing on the Gulf Cooperation Council region, Phil looked how Islamic banks in the GCC have been enjoying ratings upgrades, reducing real estate exposures, and upping their lending to individuals and firms. In an interview with EMEA Finance, Nitish Bhojnagarwala, Vice President and Senior Analyst at Moody’s, said although Islamic banks’ financial fundamentals were weaker, they had improved and are converging towards the conventional banks. The article is here.

In a profile piece, Phil looked at how Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia, has become the unlikely activist for a new digital age. She was in London in April on a European tour to be a missionary for her small country’s achievement at becoming the world’s first digital state, giving citizens a digital identity enabling them to complete pretty much every municipal or state service online in minutes, as well as offering e-residency that lets anyone start a business from abroad. The article is here.