Category archives for SPERI Comment

The geopolitics of African urban transformation

Thomas Goodfellow

Africa is undergoing an urban revolution which is taking place in the context of a sea change in global geopolitics Cities are now firmly on the international development agenda. They have a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal – number 11 – as well as UN-HABITAT’s New Urban Agenda, both the product of years of work. Among many other recent programmes of urban research, … Continue reading

15 December 2017 by
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Budget 2017: Facilitating Homeownership to build political support

James Wood

The recent Budget showed the Conservatives following Thatcher’s example of facilitating homeownership as a means to build political support The 2017 Budget introduced a series of policy measures aimed at tackling Britain’s growing owner-occupied housing crisis, which, at its core, is a crisis of affordability. Since the 1980s, house prices have increased in Britain at a faster rate than in … Continue reading

11 December 2017 by
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Capital controls are back on the agenda – but why did Britain scrap them in the 1970s?

Labour and Conservative governments in the 1970s abolished exchange controls and the reasons don’t just lie in free market ideology. Unhindered capital mobility – once understood as an unassailable feature of the modern global economy – has recently been called into question. While The Telegraph’s scare headlines may exaggerate things (‘How to protect your money from Corbyn’s threatened capital controls…’), … Continue reading

7 December 2017 by
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Can the Eurozone resolve its macroeconomic imbalances before the next crisis?

The Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure attempts to prevent future economic crises within the Eurozone by remedying emerging imbalances. Precisely how to achieve this, however, has opened a struggle for the very direction of European governance November kicked off the European Semester, the EU’s annual policy coordination cycle. With the EU economy gathering momentum, but with disparities in living standards among member … Continue reading

6 December 2017 by
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The Taylor Review and pensions: bad news for precarious workers

In order to prevent future pension crises, under-pensioned and precarious workers in the modern economy need a long term and sustainable vehicle for retirement saving, but the Taylor Review missed an opportunity to address this Precarious workers – those in low paid and insecure work, some self-employed, temporary contracts, agency work and zero hours contracts (ZHCs)– have rapidly increased in … Continue reading

5 December 2017 by
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Capitalism doesn’t work? That’s fake news

Sir Keith Burnett

University of Sheffield President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Keith Burnett urges policymakers to stop pretending broken markets can be fixed with more regulation Tory slogans are a gift to those who want to see everything nationalised. They had been ranting about wanting a capitalism ‘that works for all’, now it’s an economy that is ‘fit for the future’. What does … Continue reading

1 December 2017 by
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The Finance Curse research agenda: what we learned

Andrew Baker

A finance curse research agenda involves forensic dissection of financial dysfunction and pathology, helping to illuminate what needs to be put right Earlier this month scholars from seven countries and seven disciplines, representatives from four NGOs, journalists from the Financial Times and Le Monde, and a Bank of England official met in Sheffield to scrutinise and dissect the concept of … Continue reading

27 November 2017 by
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George Osborne’s legacy lives on in Philip Hammond’s latest budget

The Chancellor glossed over terrible forecasts, delivered more hype than substance on industrial strategy, and succumbed to another housing market stimulus. But the Osbornomics bag of budget tricks is delivering diminishing returns for the British economy Philip Hammond lacks the showmanship of George Osborne, but his latest budget taught us, if nothing else, that he is a great deal funnier. … Continue reading

23 November 2017 by
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A critique of proposed solutions to the German trade surplus

Germany’s large trade surplus, especially with the US, has become a significant political issue, but remedying the situation is not straightforward Large trade imbalances have political implications and are very often exploited for political gains. This is certainly true of Germany’s gigantic, and controversial, trade surplus, which in 2016 was around €270 billion ($297 billion) or 8.6% of Germany’s annual … Continue reading

22 November 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 9: Conclusion

The East Asian developmental state was a phenomenon of its time that hasn’t been precisely replicated, but state developmentalism as a strategy for national insertion into the global order remains necessary Well, it turned out to be worthwhile revisiting the concept of the developmental state, didn’t it?  Our contributors have performed splendidly in providing a succession of incisive yet pithy … Continue reading

21 November 2017 by
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From Berlusconi to Weinstein to Westminster: Why we need a feminist political economy

Feminist political economy can help to reveal subordination in a labour market built on gendered economic relations Hollywood is being rocked by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein. Almost every day new people are coming forward to tell their stories of harassment and violence. And, as many filmmakers and actors have made clear, everyone knew what was going on, but no-one … Continue reading

20 November 2017 by
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Don’t depoliticise inclusive growth!

Tony Payne

The endeavour to set out and implement a new vision for more inclusive growth will fail if it is not treated fundamentally as a matter of political economy, rather than an aspect of social policy The inclusive growth agenda is undoubtedly being talked about in a more mainstream way than was the case even a few years ago when the … Continue reading

16 November 2017 by
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Public aid is driving financial innovation to support international development

Gail Hurley

International development is increasingly being financed in innovative new ways. Public aid money is critical and its role should be celebrated more I was delighted to read that Professor Mariana Mazzucato has recently launched a new Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP) at University College London. The Institute describes its mission as to ‘rethink how public value is created, … Continue reading

15 November 2017 by
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The Finance Curse: Building a new knowledge network

Andrew Baker

A workshop in Sheffield this week will examine the symptoms of a phenomenon known as the ‘finance curse’, establish a future research agenda and discuss potential responses This week, SPERI, with the Tax Justice Network and collaborators from Copenhagen Business School, will co-host a workshop on ‘the Finance Curse’. The idea that a ‘finance curse’ – a more complex version … Continue reading

14 November 2017 by
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Revisiting the developmental state 8: the new challenges of Asia’s latecomer industrialisation

Industrial policy needs to be rethought if it is to remain effective in promoting economic development in a highly globalised world economy When South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore were ‘catching up’ through state-led industrialisation in the 1960s and the 1970s, their only benchmark was the first movers in the existing advanced industrialised economies.  However, in the context of today’s intensified … Continue reading

14 November 2017 by
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Macron’s labour reforms are a major test for France’s trade unions

Heather Connolly

President Macron’s extensive labour reforms are part of a programme of state-led liberalization which will shift the balance of power towards employers and test trade union strength and unity It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the current labour reforms in France, for employers, workers and their representatives. The Government seems fully aware of the significance and the potential … Continue reading

13 November 2017 by
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Competition without competitors?

Coordinated policy actions are needed to tame dominant corporate power and rent-seeking The Trade and Development Report 2017 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlights the extent of some of the most worrisome structural changes in the global political economy since the crisis, and should be read as a warning for policymakers and citizens alike. For … Continue reading

10 November 2017 by
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Disgorging the social settlement: What the Paradise Papers tell us about firms

The Paradise Papers reveal how debt and other financial mechanisms are used to move funds offshore and avoid tax. New constraints on firms and managers are needed Back in the 1980s, concern about lagging competitiveness in publicly listed firms led to the popularity of agency theory explanations for underperformance. Authors like Michael Jensen told a very simple, yet seductive story … Continue reading

10 November 2017 by
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Understanding migrant trajectories through the lens of differentiated embedding

In the evolving context of Brexit, a new framework can help explain the factors that shape migrants’ choices to stay in the UK or to leave Over the last decade or so it has become increasingly apparent that despite initial claims to transience, temporariness and short term stays, many EU migrants have stayed longer in the UK than originally planned. … Continue reading

9 November 2017 by
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Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram: their first six months working with the combined authorities

Six months have passed since Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region elected metro-mayors. In this first of a series of three blogs we assess their progress so far The English metro-mayors elected in May 2017 have been in office for six months but to what extent has this political milestone gone unnoticed? With much of the national political agenda taken … Continue reading

8 November 2017 by
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