21st Century Economics

​Today's students, the citizens of 2050, are being taught economics rooted in the 1950s, which are based on the theories of 1850. Kate Raworth argues we need a new, 21st century economics, and proposed its seven key features in "Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st Century Economist" (2017). In many ways the key idea presented in Kate's book preceded its publication, and those following the work of Oxfam over the last few years are already familiar with the doughnut.

The book delves deeper than the doughnut; exploring how dominant ways of thinking came to be, their limitations, and proposing new approaches. At the root of the argument is that "we have economics that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive: what we need are economics that make us thrive, whether or not they grow" (p. 30). For the author, this does just mean new ideas, but also new images and metaphors. For example, from thinking that good equates with "forward-and-up" to good as "thriving-in-balance" (p. 53). An important shift Raworth highlights is the need to think about the long term; "it may sound extraordinary but, despite having adopted GDP growth as the de facto goal of economic policy, the textbooks never actually depict how it is expected to evolve over the long term" (p. 246). And, in so doing, recognizing that we may not – probably cannot – continue to grow indefinitely.

Much of the book is high level visionary thinking, providing thought leadership in how thinking might and could change. There are some key specific issues that Raworth highlights: population, distribution, aspiration, technology and governance" (p. 57). The book offers the most on distribution, technology and governance, which are interwoven, such as: "Rather than wait (in vain) for growth to deliver greater equality, twenty-first century economics will design distributive flow into the very structure of economic interactions from the get-go. Instead of focusing on redistributing income alone, they will also seek to redistribute wealth – be it the power to control land, money creation, enterprise, technology or knowledge – and will harness the market, the commons and the state alike to make it happen. Rather than wait for top-down reform, they will work with bottom-up networks that are already driving a revolution in redistribution. What's more, they will match this revolution in distributive economics with an equally powerful one in regenerative economic design" (p. 205).

A few side notes, I found interesting:

  • On Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs): "economists also uncovered a troubling flip side to the experiment that they had not been expecting. Students who were not selected by the scheme, but had siblings who were, became less likely to attend school regularly – and more likely to drop out – than students from similar families in which no one took part in the scheme. Most strikingly, this was particularly true amongst girls: those with siblings in the scheme were 10% more likely to drop out of school than girls from similar families in which no one was participating. What's more, this unintended negative drop-out effect turned out to be far stronger than the positive effect on attendance and re-enrolment that the scheme was set up to achieve in the first place" (p. 119)
  • On currency: "What kind of currency, then, could be aligned with the living world so that it promoted regenerative investments rather than pursuing endless accumulation? One possibility is a currency bearing demurrage, a small fee incurred for holding money, so that it tends to lose rather than gain in value the longer it is held… demurrage is a word worth knowing because it could just feature in the financial future." (p. 274).

55 Hits

2017-18 Social Science Fellowship

Each year, the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, invites between 20 and 25 scholars to be in residence for the full academic year to pursue their own research. The School welcomes applications in economics, political science, law, psychology, sociology and anthropology. It encourages social scientific work with an historical and humanistic bent and also entertains applications in history, philosophy, literary criticism, literature and linguistics. Applicants must have a Ph.D. at time of application. Each year there is a general thematic focus that provides common ground for roughly half the scholars; for 2017-2018 the focus will be The Social Sciences in a Changing World. The application deadline is November 1, 2016. Applications must be submitted through the Institute's online application system, which opens June 1 and can be found, along with more information about the theme, at www.sss.ias.edu/applications.

296 Hits

Post-Doc: Economics of Climate Services (Ethiopia)

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Post-doctoral Scientist (Economics of Climate Services), to support a USAID funded project on Climate Services for Africa. The project is implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The position seeks to improve methodology and strengthen quantitative evidence to guide investments in climate services across Africa. Climate variability and change place significant stress on food production and availability in Africa and threaten its economic development.

More details.

311 Hits

PhD Scholarship (Targeted Governmental Aid, Health)

Suitably qualified candidates are invited to apply for this fully-funded, 3-year PhD studentship which is a collaboration between the Department of Economics at the University of Sheffield and The Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), one of the largest and most influential multilateral institutions devoted to international development. This innovative research will draw on economic theory and state-of-the-art quantitative methods to investigate government responses to foreign aid targeted to the health sector and its influence on population health.

The Department of Economics has a well-established and successful postgraduate research programme with around 30 students studying for PhD degrees in a wide range of topics. If you choose to study at Sheffield you will become part of this lively community and play a key role in the academic life of the department. All PhD students are given a desk and a computer in the department and offered opportunities for advanced training.

Deadline for scholarship applications: Friday 4th March 2016 at 17:00. See below for application instructions.

More details.

466 Hits

Logan Cochrane


LinkedIn Profile  Academia Profile