Euro-nomics; European Safe Bonds (ESBies)

For the past six months, I have been working on the euro crisis with an international group of colleagues. We have now set up a website, where you can learn more about our project.

We have also released a proposal for the creation of European Safe Bonds (ESBies), which is available here.

We provide an overview of the proposal in this WSJ article.

I have also written a broader article for the Irish Times on the desirability of a unified banking system for the euro area.

Do college rankings matter for student choice?

A guest post by Kevin Denny

The recent publication of the QS world rankings generated a lot of interest as well as criticism from various people, including me. A common response to such criticisms is to say “Like it or not, they matter to people so we need to pay attention to them”.  But do they matter?

This paper looks at how the publication of US college rankings influences the demand for places but only when colleges are not listed alphabetically.

Salience in Quality Disclosure: Evidence from the U.S. News College Rankings

M. Luca & J. Smith

How do rankings affect demand? This paper investigates the impact of college rankings, and the visibility of those rankings, on students’ application decisions. Using natural experiments from U.S. News and World Report College Rankings, we present two main findings. First, we identify a causal impact of rankings on application decisions. When explicit rankings of colleges are published in U.S. News, a one-rank improvement leads to a 1-percentage-point increase in the number of applications to that college. Second, we show that the response to the information represented in rankings depends on the way in which that information is presented. Rankings have no effect on application decisions when colleges are listed alphabetically, even when readers are provided data on college quality and the methodology used to calculate rankings. This finding provides evidence that the salience of information is a central determinant of a firm’s demand function, even for purchases as large as college attendance.

[NOTE: The “rankings” tag leads to previous posts on this topic.]

UPDATE: Glenn Ellison has a cool paper that’s related:


A large literature following Hirsch (2005) has proposed citation-based indexes that could be used to rank academics. This paper examines how well several such indexes match labor market outcomes using data on the citation records of young tenured economists at 25 U.S. departments. Variants of Hirsch’s index that emphasize smaller numbers of highly-cited papers perform better than Hirsch’s original index and have substantial power to explain which economists are tenured at which departments. Adjustment factors for differences across fields and years of experience are presented.

Income Inequality and Poverty: Crisis Dynamics

Brian Nolan writes on the dynamics of income inequality and poverty during the crisis in this Irish Times article.

The Crisis Resolution Plan?

This Sunday Telegraph article provides an outline of what might happen next.

Gavin Kostick: Tiny Plays for Ireland

This guest post is by Gavin Kostick

When I started reading The Irish Economy it was partly because I had in mind to write a play about the night of the bank guarantee and particularly the inclusion of Anglo. I had a title: ‘The Best Bank in the World’, but not enough inside knowledge. I still think there’s a great play to come about that night.

As I went on though, I became more interested in the range of thoughts, insights and viewpoints and, indeed, characters, all jostling through the threads. The thought came to me that if the job for drama is to talk
about where we are now in Ireland – including how we got here and where we might be going – then perhaps instead of one big play, what was required was loads of tiny plays from loads of writers, which put
together might move, inform, challenge, provide space for debate – all the things the theatre is good at.

So Jim Culleton, Fishamble’s artistic director, and I developed things abit and went to the ‘Irish Times’ and I’m pleased to say, ‘Tiny Plays for Ireland’ was launched in the Saturday, 24th edition, and can be read here.

I won’t rehash too much what is in the article, but will emphasise thatwhat we’re looking for really is a variety of short works from writers who have something they feel passionate about saying and that they think
the public needs to hear.

As this blog is one of the starting points for the idea, it would be great to see you entering. Selected submissions will get printed in the ‘Irish Times’, a production in Project Arts Centre, March 2012, and
about as much money as PR Guy could blow in a mini-bar in one evening.

I was thinking about it, and we will accept pseudonymous entries, as long as you don’t mind your modest cheque being made out to: ‘Mr Grumpy of Grumpington Villas’.

I won’t comment on submitted entries, but if people would like tips or further info., I will answer as well as I can in comments.

You might also want to have a look at the Fishamble website