Newsletter Online January 2012

Issue 1

Corresponds to RES Newsletter (Print Version) no. 156, January 2012

In this issue

Alan Kirman’s Letter from France

The politics of nuclear energy: In France, which generates most of its electricity from nuclear sources, the recent accident at Fukushima has provoked strong reactions. In his latest letter, Alan Kirman explains how the French electoral system is likely to turn the future of nuclear energy into a critical political issue.

An address by Ray Rees

In November 2011 the CESifo Prize Fellowship was awarded to Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, a past-president of the Society at Spatenhaus, Munich. This is an edited version of the address given by Ray Rees to mark the occasion.

On the Side of the Angels? Economists, Protest and Positional Rents, by David Collard

At a time when rewards to top bankers and others are subject to popular protest, David Collard, at the University of Bath, argues that economists should be less keen to defend the status quo by showing more awareness of the role of economic rent in the setting of higher level rewards.

Obituaries

Pro Bono Economics - an update by Sue Holloway

In the 146th issue of the Newsletter, July 2009, we highlighted an initiative by Martin Brookes and Andrew Haldane to launch this service whereby professional economists could make their skills available to charities on a ‘pro bono’ basis. Sue Holloway, Managing Director of Pro Bono Economics has sent us this update.

The National Debt in Perspective, by Robert Neild

The nation is now being persuaded that the problem of the national debt is so bad that we cannot avoid years of misery. A look at the history of the debt suggests a rather different picture. Prof Robert Neild, University of Cambridge, provides a historical perspective.

The Economics Network, Shaping tomorrow's economics graduates, by Ashley Lait

The Network has spoken to a number of UK departments to find out about changes in teaching practice. These conversations showed that universities are focusing on two key areas: developing students’ critical skills and employability; and improving the learning experience and assessment process.

The Adam Smith Tartan, by Robert Wright

The Scottish Economics Society has created a new corporate tartan that honours the great Scottish economist and philosopher, Adam Smith. This note was prepared by Robert Wright, a past President of the Society and Keeper of the Tartan.

A haircut every year, by Thomas Colignatus

Governments in the European Union suffer under high rates of interest. Components of interest are: (1) the risk free rate like Germany has; (2) the liquidity premium that we can determine from, say, the difference between Germany and Holland or Finland; (3) the risk of default that applies to Greece; and (4) stigma that consists of irrational factors that become rational since they are rewarded. Thomas Colignatus1 suggests a new rule helps to reduce (4) and to prevent it developing into (3).

A report on Robert Chote’s RES Public Lecture

Why do governments tax, spend, lend and borrow? At a time when fiscal management is under intense scrutiny around the world, Robert Chote, Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), explored this fundamental question for understanding the nation’s public finances.

Editorial Contact

The RES Newsletter Editor is Professor Peter Howells.

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