Breakingviews

Review: The misbehaviour of behavioural economics

By Edward Chancellor
June 19, 2015

Richard Thaler’s “Misbehaving” is the story of a supposedly new approach to people’s economic decision-making. The great insight is that we’re often funny about money. Entertaining anecdotes have helped this specialized field gain attention. The science of nudge has little to offer.

Missing motorbikes point to Indonesian demand hole

June 19, 2015

A 36 percent slide in motorcycle sales in May shows just how fast falling commodity prices are eroding purchasing power. More worrying, however, is President Joko Widodo’s failure to offset the shortfall by boosting investment. A weakening currency is compounding the challenge.

Edward Hadas: Bring on kitchen economics

By Edward Hadas
June 17, 2015

A distinguished professor accuses his academic opponents of “mathiness”. It is wrong to use fancy formulas to justify intellectual prejudice. The discipline is poisoned by models created with mathematical abstractions. Equations muddy almost all economic debates.

Hugo Dixon: Greek negotiations need extra time

By Hugo Dixon
June 17, 2015

Despite the inflammatory rhetoric and lack of trust, Athens and its creditors might still be able to do a deal. But to get an agreement, a little more time may be needed. The creditors shouldn’t truncate the talks.

Fed might fret about emerging market “spillback”

June 16, 2015

Weak investment and import demand in developing nations is threatening to drag down U.S. growth just as the Federal Reserve mulls raising interest rates. The central bank was able ignore the effects of its bond-buying on others. But a spillback could choke the American recovery.

Hugo Dixon: What sort of man is Tsipras?

By Hugo Dixon
June 8, 2015

The next days will define Greece’s PM. He must choose between saving his country and sticking with a bankrupt ideology. If he is brave and smart, he can secure a few more concessions from creditors and a goodish deal for Greece. If not, he will drag Greece into the abyss.

Japan’s GDP lift is bounty from currency war

June 8, 2015

Output grew 3.9 percent in the first quarter, much faster than the 2.4 percent rate previously estimated. Investments made all the difference. Japanese exporters are ramping up capacity as they use the weak yen to fight for market share. Higher wages may be the next hopeful sign.

Hugo Dixon: Greek ultimatum is a bad idea

By Hugo Dixon
June 1, 2015

Some say the euro zone and IMF should present Greece with a take-it-or-leave-it offer, set a deadline, and threaten to cut off its banks if it doesn’t agree. This could play into the hands of Greek nationalists who would argue that foreigners were again bullying Athens.

Bankers get ammo but no ally in regulation tussle

May 22, 2015

Financiers unhappy with tougher regulation can cite new analysis from the BIS. The central banks’ own central bank says new standards will probably change how economies and markets work. But the BIS is firmly focussed on coping with the new paradigm, not returning to the old one.

Renzi is still dodging big Italian pension fight

May 21, 2015

The prime minister has found a clever way to blunt a constitutional court ruling on pensions that threatened to blow a hole in Italy’s budget. That avoids a conflict with Brussels. But he hasn’t bitten the bullet on the bigger pension issue: bloated spending that stifles growth.