Economic Thoughts and Essays

By Rhys Williams

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[…]

Negative Interest Rate Policy and the Zero Lower Bound

Neoclassical Story of the Monetary Policy Transmission Mechanism The traditional orthodox story tells us that interest rates affect the economy through a number of channels including (i) the investment channel whereby higher interest rates reduce investment, as it becomes more costly to invest thereby inducing firms to either invest with retained earnings or forego investment Read more about Negative Interest Rate Policy and the Zero Lower Bound[…]

International Trade and Economic Growth

Does international trade increase economic growth? In this context, what are the trade policies that have been followed by developing countries? Standard textbook economic theory tells us that international trade benefits both parties in the trade, based on the gains from comparative advantage as laid out by David Ricardo. However, recent research into New Trade Read more about International Trade and Economic Growth[…]

What is the WACC?

The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is simply an average cost of the two types of capital: debt and equity. It tells us the amount an investor would need in compensation to invest in a project. Therefore if we were to offer a lower return than the WACC, we would find that we have Read more about What is the WACC?[…]

What is economic development?

‘What is economic development and how would you measure it? Does an increase in per capita national income always constitute an increase in the standard of living?’ Economic development is hard to define, but is an improvement in the living conditions of the population as a whole. Whilst closely linked with economic growth – high Read more about What is economic development?[…]

Unemployment during the Inter-War period

The 1919-20 reduction in working hours accompanied by the maintenance of the weekly wage has been argued to underlie the rapid rise in unemployment in Britain in the early 1920s and some of the persistence of unemployment through to 1939. To what extent can these aspects of interwar unemployment be attributed to this supply-side change? Read more about Unemployment during the Inter-War period[…]

A letter to my children

In Cambridge we have the weird tradition of a parenting system, where 2nd years can get college children: it’s basically a buddy system to help freshers integrate into Cambridge life. Below is info for Girton Economists, but most should apply for Cambridge Economists. Dear Kids, Hi, my name is Rhys and I’m your college father. Read more about A letter to my children[…]