Monthly Archives: April 2012

Rock Bottom?

Much play has been made of the latest CSO data on property prices, which showed prices avoiding a fall in March for only the second month since  their peak in September 2007. Just as one swallow doesn’t make a summer, however, one month’s data doesn’t make a trend.


Overall, average house prices nationwide have fallen by49% since their peak according to the CSO, whose data is compiled on the basis of mortgage drawdowns. This likely understates the extent of the collapse in house prices, as it discounts cash transactions which have become increasingly important in recent years. Continue reading

Building Better Global Economic Governance

Today marks the launch of Columbia’s Center on Global Economic Governance (CGEG), with Alan Krueger, Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers delivering the keynote address at its opening conference.

The concept behind CGEG is to bring together the best minds, from Columbia faculty and from outside, to focus on key issues in global economic governance and develop effective policy approaches.

With developed economies largely stagnant, emerging markets facing their own challenges, and growing intra-national equality the world over, we need now more than ever a new approach to global economic governance that puts people first. The advent of the G20 as the premier forum for global governance widened the circle beyond the traditional G7/G8 configuration, but its initial impetus has dissipated, while issues of legitimacy remain to be addressed.

With Jeffrey Sachs and PEPM’s own Guillermo Calvo on the panel alongside Krueger and others on the panel, I’m really looking forward to the opening conference.

You can watch the livestream here from 9am EST / 2pm GMT.

You can find my own recent thoughts on the evolution of Global Economic Governance here.

Paradigm Lost

Last weekend, I had the great privilege of attending, as part of the Young Scholars’ Initiative, a sublime conference organized by the Institute of New Economic Thinking:

Paradigm Lost: Re-thinking Economics & Politics.

Leading lights of the economics profession came together with top policymakers and journalists to appraise the state of current economic thinking, and to chart a better way forward.

Conference highlights are viewable here. Continue reading

“Where’s My Bailout?”

“It’s the economy stupid” was the maxim that propelled Bill Clinton to office in 1992. Clinton is a big believer in Ireland’s recovery story, but when he visited last year his chief caveat was on personal debt.

With what must have sounded like music to the ears of the many Irish people drowning in debt, he said that writing down personal debt more aggressively would speed recovery. Many activists and economists are in agreement on this, and the IMF recently weighed in with its support. Continue reading

Life is a Rollercoaster

The IMF today published its latest World Economic Outlook. According to Chief Economist, Oliver Blanchard, the world economy has been on a rollercoaster these past six months. Recent market jitters over Spain, and collective schizophrenia between growth and austerity, would suggest that we have just come over the crest of a peak rather than having reached the end of the ride.

Upgrades to growth forecasts for several economic regions are welcome, but risks of derailment continue to clutter the path ahead. Europe’s economy is expected to contract in 2012, while a spike in oil prices and a Chinese slowdown also pose downside risks to global growth.

A Great Little Documentary on Financial Instability

Is Germany Coining It From the Euro Crisis?

It may come as some surprise to the German public, media and political class, but the Eurozone crisis hasn’t cost them a single cent to date.

If anything the crisis has boosted German exporters, by keeping the Euro itself weaker than it would otherwise be, while Germany can now borrow at record low rates because the crisis has given rise to a ‘flight to safety’ in the sovereign bond market.

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The Boom-Bust Life Cycle of Ireland’s Balance of Payments and Net Foreign Assets



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