Economic Thoughts and Essays

By Rhys Williams

GDP Data Revisions

The importance of accurate GDP data is often understated and there is a need to document carefully the extent of revisions to statistics on economic activity and evaluate how this affects macroeconomic policy as well as examine ways to improve statistical methods. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has a trade-off between providing estimates on Read more about GDP Data Revisions[…]

Why has wage inequality risen?

Wage inequality has increased in many economies in recent decades. Discuss the three leading hypotheses regarding the causes of this increase. What does the empirical evidence tell us about the quantitative importance of each of these factors? The US economy has almost double since the 1970s, and labour productivity has risen over this period. Yet real wages for Read more about Why has wage inequality risen?[…]

The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: A Summary

Acemoglu, Johnson and Robinson (AJR) attempt to measure the effects of institutions on income differences by introducing an exogenous source of variation in institutions to measure their differing outcomes. They begin by pointing out that the history of colonisation resulted in different institutions being formed: some countries received extractive institutions (whereby the coloniser would simply Read more about The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: A Summary[…]

Economic Growth: Where does it come from?

One of the fundamental questions of economics is why are some countries rich and others poor? Why do some countries experience heavy growth which allows them to catch-up with the economic giants of the world, whilst others are relegated to the bottom and are unable to jump on the growth train? Is it due to Read more about Economic Growth: Where does it come from?[…]

Did small scale firms inhibit Victorian Growth?

Britain’s manufacturing firms have been accused of remaining family-run and small scale in the period 1850-1914, so ignoring the benefits of the large corporation evident in the USA. Discuss whether this represents a form of entrepreneurial failure by the owners of British firms. Chandler identifies that corporation’s in America are vertically and horizontally integrated, invested Read more about Did small scale firms inhibit Victorian Growth?[…]

Marshallian Industrial Districts and the Rise of the Internet

Recently I attended a Conference for the 40th Anniversary of the Cambridge Journal of Economics where a talk was given on “Industrial Districts, Organisation & Policy”. This article is a summary of some of the discussion from this talk as well as my further thoughts on extending Marshallian Industrial Districts to incorporate the internet. What Read more about Marshallian Industrial Districts and the Rise of the Internet[…]

Was there a Victorian Failure in Manufacturing?

Comparisons of Britain’s labour productivity in manufacturing with that of other industrialised countries, such as the USA and Germany, from 1850-1914 suggest no dramatic decline in this sector during the period. However, labour productivity performance at the whole economy level was poor in comparison to other countries. (a) How can this be explained (b) Does Read more about Was there a Victorian Failure in Manufacturing?[…]

Brief: Cannibalisation

Cannibalisation occurs when a company reduces the sales of one of its products by introducing a similar, competing product in the same market. Igami and Yang study this phenomenon in relation to burger outlets, pointing out that entry of new outlets harms the profitability of existing stores (cannibalisation) but that this occurs so as to Read more about Brief: Cannibalisation[…]

Strategic Pricing

This article will explore an overview of pricing strategy. We begin by explaining the simple Cournot and Bertrand games, which are game theoretic analyses of a firm’s pricing strategy. With this information we proceed by explaining what strategic complementarities and substitutes are before looking at a paper by Fudenberg and Tirole entitled “The Fat-Cat Effect, Read more about Strategic Pricing[…]

Standards of Living during the Industrial Revolution

The debate about living standards in the Industrial Revolution has recently focused on anthropometric measures, such as height and mortality, and linked these to the ability to work more intensively. Describe how these factors may be related. Discuss what the anthropometric evidence reveals about living standards in this period. Anthropometric measures add a new light Read more about Standards of Living during the Industrial Revolution[…]