Category Archives: Economics

What’s your Google Search Story?

Google have released a new fun tool to enable people to create their own Google “Search Stories”

All you need to do is type in your search terms, choose the search service(s) you wish to use – Books, News, Blogs, Images, Web search etc. – pick some appropriate music and then the video is created automagically.

Here’s an example looking at the economic crisis:

It’s easy to see that with a few tweaks, this could be turned into an educational tool.

For example, in the Internet for Economics VTS tutorial where we look at search strategies on Google it could provide a visual walkthrough of the educational point that:

  • Searching on economic crisis returns many millions of results, all of which contain both the keywords “economic” AND “crisis” (note: Google automatically returns results containing both keywords).
  • Searching for economic OR crisis returns even more records. This is because OR returns all those Web pages that contain either the word “economic”, or the word “crisis”.
  • Searching on “economic crisis” returns fewer results. This is because Google only returns those resources containing the exact phrase. A page about “economic responses to energy crisis” would not be included.

In order to become an educational tool, it would help if:

  • Google Scholar was added to the list searches to add to the videos
  • Users could vary the length of time each search was on screen
  • There was some choice in the “pan and scan” options each search uses

Alas, at the moment – it feels as though you are just creating an advert for Google – and to be fair to them, the inspiration for it did come from their Super Bowl ad about finding love in Paris.

However, there are plenty of videos being uploaded to the Google Search Stories YouTube channel, even if some of them are subverting the system ever so slightly.

Intute features more Internet resources on the economic crisis and more subject specific tutorials in the Virtual Training Suite.

Fear the boom and bust

Fear the boom and bust is the first video from the new website

In the video, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there’s a “boom and bust” cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it.

The website includes a few key links to find out more about Keynes and Hayek, details about the project and even lets you download the Fear the boom and bust rap as an mp3 file.

Intute features more Internet resources on Economics.

Pre-Budget Report 2009

Pre-Budget Report 2009The Pre-Budget Report (PBR) 2009 has been delivered by Alistair Darling.

HM Treasury have produced a microsite that includes highlights and basic information and a brief explanation of what the PBR is in the form of a YouTube video.

They have also produced  a full site with accompanying documentation and data.

The BBC News website has a special section on the Pre-Budget Report bringing together their comment and analysis.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies have brought together their research and commentary resources, as well as promising a briefing analysing the PBR within 24 hours.

Intute features more Internet resources on the topics of Macroeconomic Policy, Budgets and Economics.

Economists Online

Economists Online is a bibliographic reference service for economists produced by the Nereus consortium of economics departments based at a number of European universities. It includes details of institutions, scholars and their academic publications and datasets; based around bibliographic references, many with links to open access full text.

Much of the service is based around a cross search of RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) data from economics researchers, that forms the basis of EconPapers and other services. Users can register for Economists Online to store results, see additions as RSS feeds and view publication lists for individual researchers.

Economists Online will officially launch in 2010 with an international conference on subject repositories, but you can help them develop the service by providing feedback on the current test version.

Intute features more Internet resources on the topic of Economics.

Get Social Science research on your iPhone

The Social Science Research Network is a world wide collaborative of over 800 scholars that is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research.

To that end, they have just released a new app for the iPhone / iPod Touch allowing users to search and read the full text of over 250,000 papers.

They say

“iSSRN, our free iPhone App, was released recently. It provides instant access to the latest Social Science and Humanities research in the SSRN eLibrary from scholars around the world. iSSRN is available from Apple’s iTunes store.

iSSRN allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to search over 250,000 papers and read the full text of the papers directly on their device.”

The app is very easy to install and use, with the PDF versions of papers quite nicely presented and the multi-touch functionality enabling you to zoom in and out of key passages – although there is a limit to the amount of serious reading that you can do on a screen that small.

The SSRN includes a number of subject specific covering Economics, Management, Political Science, Law and other topics.  The networks encourage the early distribution of research results by reviewing and distributing submitted abstracts and by soliciting abstracts of research papers.

Intute features more Internet resources from the Social Sciences.

Economics audio and video

Royal Economic Society logoThis week the Royal Economic Society (RES) annual public lecture will be delivered by Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsay Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge, on ‘Law and Morality in Economic Life’.

The lecture will explore fundamental questions about our world by looking at differences in institutions – cultural, legal, social, political and economic – within which people try to shape their lives. He will argue that the importance of law and morality in economic life follows from the essentiality of trust in the social world. The enormous differences in people’s lives are based in the extent to which they trust one another to comply with agreements.

The RES website features videos of lectures from previous years, while the RES annual conference website features a range of videos of keynote addresses and special sessions from the 2009 conference at the University of Surrey.

The RES are not the only economics related organisation to make lecture videos available. The Economic History Society have published the last three Tawney Memorial Lectures on their website, looking at the Britishness of the Industrial Revolution, the role of nature in economic history and famine in the Twentieth Century.

The recent Growth Week at the International Growth Centre at the LSE included a range of audio and video recordings of speakers, including: Esther Duflo (MIT) on ‘Developing Rural Areas’, Nicholas Sterm on ‘Green Growth’, Tim Besley (LSE) on ‘The Political Economic of Development’ and Paul Collier (Oxford) on ‘Natural Resource Management’.

… and if that is not enough, then there are regular audio interviews with leading economists available as Vox Talks from the Centre for Economic Policy Research and the podcasts from the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol.

Intute has an archive of Economics podcasts from RES conferences and other Internet resources on the topic of Economics.

Deal or No Deal for economics teaching

The popular TV game show Deal or No Deal has been turned into an economics classroom experiment by John Sloman, Director of the Economics Network.

The game can be used to demonstrate expected value and risk attitudes and students can use it to make calculations. It can also demonstrate the diminishing marginal utility of income.

An Excel file can be used by the lecturer to control the game and play the part of the banker, while students discuss the risks, psychology and odds at each stage of the game.

Deal or No Deal has been a topic for a number of popular economics articles available via EconPapers and Google Scholar that explore topics such as decision making, risk and rationality.

The Economics Network features a range of classroom experiments and games for use in the classroom.

Intute features more Internet resources on the topic of Economics.

Economic governance theme for Nobel Economists

The 2009 Nobel Prize for Economics has been awarded to Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson for their work in the area of economic governance.

The Committee outlined the importance of their work:

This year’s Laureates have been instrumental in establishing economic governance as a field of research. Elinor Ostrom has provided evidence on the rules and enforcement mechanisms that govern the exploitation of common pools by associations of users. Oliver Williamson has proposed a theory to clarify why some transactions take place inside firms and not in markets. Both scholars have greatly enhanced our understanding of non-market institutions.

The Nobel Prize website includes Information For The Public to explain their work to a lay audience, more on the Scientific Background to their work for those with Economics knowledge and Links / Further Reading for those wanting to know more about the Laureates.

Find out more about the academic work of Elinor Ostrom and also Oliver Williamson or the topic of economic governance via EconPapers which includes working papers, links to full text documents and bibliographic references.

The Nobel Prize website also features information on previous winners, as well as videos of the Nobel Laureate lectures and video interviews with the winners.

Intute features more Internet resources on the topics of economics, the Nobel Prizes and economic governance.

New to studying or economics?

Studying EconomicsStudying Economics is a new site developed by the Economics Network as part of their Why Study Economics initiative. It is aimed at economics undergraduates who are looking for advice, help and information.

While the site contains information that is specific to economics, such as guidance on module options or data and research links, much of the advice is applicable to all students. If you need some tips for working efficiently or an overview on doing a dissertation there’s help at hand.

The advice comes from current and formers students, so it is guaranteed to be relevant. The Economics Network takes on a student placement officer each year and they have produced the site to help out their fellow undergraduates.

Follow the guide to scholarly success
Follow the guide to scholarly success

Intute features more Internet resources about Economics, as well as our 55 Essential Economics websites. Or if you are trying to get to grips with using the Internet for academic research – the Internet for Economics is a tutorial designed to help Economics students .

Recession Britain and the fiscal squeeze

This week has seen some rather bizarre coverage of the latest turns in the global financial crisis, but what do academics have to say about where we go next?

While those inside the Westminster Village got quite excited about Gordon brown using the C word – cuts – two new reports attempt to get to grips with what is happening in the real world and explore whether there needs to be cuts in spending, rising taxes or both.

Recession Britain by Romesh Vaitilingam is a summary of the key findings of academic economists in the UK with regard to the effect of the global financial crisis on Britain.

It explores what can be learned from evidence on previous recessions: the three that Britain has experienced most recently, in the mid-1970s, the early 1980s and the early 1990s as well as recessions elsewhere in the world, and the global recessionary period to which current times have often been compared, the 1930s.

The report draws on analysis of a broad range of data sources and the work of numerous researchers and research institutions, many of them centres, programmes and individual scholars funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The Forty Key Findings look at Britain in recession, the impact on jobs, the impact on people’s lives, the impact on business and the world in recession. It forms part of the ESRC’s wider coverage of the global financial crisis, that includes details of researchers, programmes and centres working in this area.

Britain’s fiscal squeeze: the choices ahead is the latest briefing note from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and analyses the financial situation the country is in and presents the key choices that politicians will have to face.

It concludes that the rise in spending on public services as a share of national income may need to be completely reversed to fill the hole in the public finances – unless there are further tax increases or cuts in welfare payments.

Speaking at the recent Developments in Economics Education conference, IFS Director Robert Chote claimed that the country is in for “two Parliaments of pain” and that even in this scenario, cuts in public spending will be akin to those in the 1970s, when Britain was reliant on loans from the IMF.

Chote suggested that 80% of the revenue needed to return the economy to balance will come from cuts in public spending and only 20% will come from increased taxes. Tough choice seem to lie ahead, regardless of who is controlling the purse strings of the nation.

Intute features more Internet resources on the issues of economics and the financial crisis.