Christmas Economics Books

This Christmas, along with the usual socks, ties, and shoe polishing kits (no, not really), my presents given and received included quite a few economics books, and book vouchers. Here are the ones I got as presents–which ones do you think we should all look at in the next few months? Put a link (and just one link, as comments with more than one link need to be approved) in the comments.

The Battle of Bretton Woods. This book by Benn Steil shows us the story of how Bretton Woods negotiations evolved, how Keynes and US bureaucrat Harry Dexter White fought over the design of the post war international economy, and how White turned out, in the end, to be a Soviet spy. The book is riveting so far.

Political Arithmetic: Simon Kuznets and the Empirical Tradition in Economics. This book is a scientific biography of Nobellist Simon Kuznets and a trip through the development of national income accounting. The writing is somewhat turgid in places, but in fairness, it is hard to make the NIPA sexy.

The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. This is an attempt to understand why prizes proliferate in modern society, and why they are so important as signalling devices. The writing is great and it is an ambitious work of sociology.

Jan 31st Conference on Economic Policy

On January 31st 2014, the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), the Department of Economics at the University of Limerick (UL) and the Geary Institute at UCD are hosting a conference on Irish economy policy at the Institute of Bankers.

The conference will explore current issues in economic policy in key areas:  Industrial Relations, Housing Debt, Banking, Fiscal Policy, Migration and the teaching of Economics. The outline programme is set out below.

The conference aims to provide a forum for discussion of new ideas on the conduct of Irish economic policy, including the extent to which economics and related disciplines can make a greater contribution to the conduct of economic policy in Ireland, and the extent to which policy can be designed more effectively. The speakers and chairs come from a range of institutions and disciplines and there also be online access to presentations to ensure to enable debate through blogs and twitter.  There will be a registration charge of €20. There is no charge for student participants. Coffee will be provided mid-morning and there will be a break at 12.45 to enable participants to take lunch.

Registration will open early in the New Year.

Irish Economic Policy Conference 2014


Theme:           Economic Policy after the Bailout

Venue: The Institute of Bankers

Date: 31st January 2013


Session 1         9:30 – 10:50

1A.       The Impact of the Crisis on Industrial Relations

Chair:  TBC

Kieran Mulvey (DJEI)

Shay Cody (Impact)

Michelle O’Sullivan/Tom Turner (UL)

1B.       Economics: Teaching and Practice

Chair: Ronan Gallagher(DPER)

Brian Lucey (TCD): Economics and Finance Education Before and After the Crash

Liam Delaney (Stirling): Graduate Economics Education

Third Speaker TBC


Session 2         11:20 – 1:00

2A.       Migration and the Labour Market

Chair: Philip O’Connell(UCD)

Piaras MacÉinri (UCC)

Peter Muhlau (TCD)

Alan Barrett/Irene Mosca (TCD)

2B.       Debt and Default

Chair:  Fiona Muldoon (CBI)

Greg Connor (NUIM)

Ronan Lyons (TCD)

Third Speaker TBC

Session 3         2:10 – 3:30

3A.       Health and Recovery

Chair: TBC

David Madden (UCD)

Charles Normand/Anne Nolan (TCD/ESRI)

Paul Gorecki (ESRI)

3B.       Fiscal Policy

Chair: Stephen Kinsella (UL)

Seamus Coffey (UCC): “The continuing constraints on Irish fiscal policy”

Diarmuid Smyth (IFAC)

Third speaker TBC


Session 4         3:50 – 5:00

Plenary Session: Future of Banking

An Irish Economy Christmas Carol by Gavin Kostick

An Irish Economy Christmas Carol

Part One

Old Trichet was dead. This fact must be distinct or nothing of the wonder of what follows is to be understood. As dead as the French Franc.

Ebeneezer Draghi certainly understood it. He had helped to carry Old Trichet’s coffin, had buried him and now had his picture on the wall in his cramped office at Frankfurt Towers.

It was a bitingly savage Christmas Eve, and outside the windows the winds howled and boomed like giants at some kind of utterly destructive, savage play.

The markets, thought Draghi gloomily, they don’t like Christmas. They don’t like the idea of a day off, why any moment now –

“Snr, Draghi?”

And there it was: Shay Crachit was looking up expectantly from his desk.

“What is it Mr Crachit?”

“About tomorrow. Christmas Day.”

“What about it?”

“I was thinking perhaps I might have the morning off.”

“With pay I suppose.”

“It is customary, sir.”

“Certainly, Mr Crachit, now you mention it, you may have the whole day off.”

“Why thank you, sir.”

“And the whole week, and the whole month. I’m putting you on a zero hour contract.”

“What’s that, sir?”

“It’s what we’re giving everyone. No guarantee of work, no guarantee of pay, but you have to be available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and no holidays. What do you say to that Mr. Crachit?”

“Sounds most fair sir, we workers must be grateful for what the bosses chose to create for us what with their creative ability to magic up wealth which we so sadly lack.”

“Less of the class politics, Shay. Besides, there’s no workers now.”

“Destroyed them all have we, sir?”

“No, we’re all taxpayers now. Except the bloodsucking idlers.”

Continue reading “An Irish Economy Christmas Carol by Gavin Kostick”

Irish Economic Association Annual Conference: Call for Papers

The 28th annual Irish Economic Association Conference will be held at the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick on Thursday May 8th and Friday May 9th, 2014. The ESR guest lecture will be given by Rachel Griffith (Manchester) and the Edgeworth Lecture by Jordi Gali (CREI). Submissions can be made through this site, the deadline for submitted articles is February 7th, 2014.