Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Greece’s Spillover Across Euro Area Will Probably Be Contained This Time

Greece's flirtation with an exit from the euro in 2011 and two cliffhanger elections in 2012 prompted the darkest days of the debt crisis, halted only by the European Central Bank's pledge to save the currency come what may.

Now, with the collapse of another Greek government, Europe's leaders, its more vulnerable economies and financial markets are better prepared. While euro in-or-out threats will echo through the Greek election campaign, the spillover across Europe this time is likely to be contained.

"We're looking at a Greece problem -- the euro crisis is over," Holger Schmieding, chief economist at Berenberg Bank inLondon, said by phone. "The euro crisis was all about contagion risk. I do not expect markets to seriously contest the contagion defenses of Europe."

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

World economy: Past and future tense

A FINANCIAL crash in Russia; falling oil prices and a strong dollar; a new gold rush in Silicon Valley and a resurgent American economy; weakness in Germany and Japan; tumbling currencies in emerging markets from Brazil to Indonesia; an embattled Democrat in the White House. Is that a forecast of the world in 2015 or a portrait of the late 1990s?  

Recent economic history has been so dominated by the credit crunch of 2008-09 that it is easy to forget what happened in the decades before. But looking back 15 years or so is instructive—in terms of both what to do and what to avoid.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

The Economics of Brains

The idea that understanding the brain can inform economics is controversial but not new; for 20 years, behavioral economists have argued that psychology should have a greater influence on the development of economic models. What is new is the use of technology: economists, like other researchers, now have at their disposal powerful tools for observing the brain at work. The most popular tool, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), has been around since the late 1980s; but only in the past few years has it been used to study decision-making, which is the crux of economic theory.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The 17 most corrupt countries in the world

Transparency International has published its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranked 175 countries and territories based on how corrupt their administrative and political institutions are perceived to be on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to a 100 (very clean).

Compiled from a combination of surveys and assessments of "the abuse of entrusted power for private gain," the CPI is the most widely used indicator of corruption worldwide.

Here are the 17 most corrupt countries, according to the index:

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