Does economics have a problem with women?

When Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to receive the Nobel memorial prize in economics, in 2009, she quipped: “I won’t be the last.” Although she has since been proved right, it was nonetheless astonishingly late in the day for such a landmark. Adding to the...

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Pinker, Von Neumann, and how to be decent

Various exciting books are now out, or imminent. Steven Pinker's "Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce" is just around the corner, and as you might expect it is erudite, entertaining, and packed full of ideas (some new to me and some not). I'm doing an event...

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Back to school

I hope you've had a wonderful summer - or winter, if you're reading this in the southern hemisphere, or in early 2022. I've held off posting lots of August updates but now I'm back, and with a lovely little review of The Next Fifty Things That Made The Modern Economy...

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Espionage, assassination, and the modern factory

Piedmont, in North West Italy, is celebrated for its fine wine. But when a young Englishman, John Lombe, travelled there in the early eighteenth century, he wasn’t going to savour a glass of Barolo. His purpose was industrial espionage. Lombe wished to figure out how...

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The stamp at the bottom of the pyramid

‘It should be remembered, that in few departments have important reforms been effected by those trained up in practical familiarity with their details. The men to detect blemishes and defects are among those who have not, by long familiarity, been made insensible to...

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