EconDialog

Situated between research and society, the EconDialog department works along 4 axes: knowledge sharing, the creation of instruments to help non-specialists understand current developments, public debates, and training. It operates via expertise provided to organisations and public bodies, lectures and forthcoming digital animation films.
Its review « Economic Dialogues », brings tools to understand economic mechanisms offering knowledge as a common good accessible to everyone. It is in partnership with the UCL review Regards économiques.
  • Economic dialogues

Do mothers always bring happiness?

When is a mother « the mother of all evils »? According to the book « the origin of happiness », written by A. Clark, S. Flèche, R. Layard, N. Powdthavee et G. Ward, a child’s happiness relies on the mother’s mental health. Misery crosses generations and the consequences last into adulthood. To address this issue, the authors call for more attention to mental well-being and recommend preventing depression from an early age.
Reference: Clark, A E, S Flèche, R Layard, N Powdthavee and G Ward, The Origins of Happiness, Princeton University Press.
June 05th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

Economy holds the keys to happiness

While depression continues to grow in developed countries, a new paradigm is emerging: not wealth-creation, but the creation of well-being. Isn’t that every government’s main goal? Meeting this objective means investigating what determines fulfilment. In “The Origins of Happiness” Andrew Clark, Sarah Fleche, Richard Layard, Nattavudh Powdthavee and George Ward conclude that mental health makes us happier than money.
Reference: "The Origins of Happiness” A. Clark, S. Fleche, R. Layard, N. Powdthavee and G. Ward
May 08th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

Violence in Africa: multinationals take some of the blame

Multinationals don’t find it easy to trace the origin of minerals produced in conflict-prone areas, but firms are held liable for human and social damage. In a recent scientific article, Nicolas Berman, Mathieu Couttenier, Dominic Rohner and Mathias Thoenig show that the violence induced by variations in mineral prices is associated mainly with foreign-owned firms. For some time now, companies, NGOs and States have been implementing transparency measures. The authors examine their impact on the regions’ stability.
Reference: N. Berman, M. Couttenier, D. Rohner, et M. Thoenig, American Economic Review 2017
April 26th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

How the commodity boom encourages violence in Africa

The rise in mineral prices often has bloody consequences for Africa. This was the conclusion of Nicolas Berman, Mathieu Couttenier, Dominic Rohner, and Mathias Thoenig in a recent pan-African survey. The 2000s commodity boom accounted for up to one-fourth of the conflicts across African countries over the 2000-2009 period. Worse still, local battles escalate into regional ones because mines make rebellions financially feasible, spreading conflicts across space and time.
Reference: N. Berman, M. Couttenier, D. Rohner, et M. Thoenig, American Economic Review 2017
April 24th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

The "Cold Rush": which countries will save us from climate disaster?

Norway made a historic decision by refusing oil exploration in the Lofoten archipelagos, north of the Arctic circle. It paves the way for preserving the environment for other countries that could be tempted to give in to the Cold Rush. The region is full of oil reserves that have many licking their lips, especially Russia. For the moment, the extreme arctic drilling conditions are a technological challenge that prevents its exploration. By banning arctic drilling as Norway has, other member states of the Arctic Council can save the Arctic sea ice. Their force lies in their unity.
Reference: J. Leroux, D. Spiro, Resource and energy Economics, 2018
April 10th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

Is altruism a more reliable provider than the state?  

Altruism appears to be absent from regular economic debate. However, money flows within relationships, and parents or friends can usually be counted on to lend a helping hand. These private transfers represent an even larger share of redistribution in developing economies. When the Welfare State is weak, informal transfers are a wild card for the poorest. Even social welfare policies could prove counter-productive when there is a good altruistic network in place!
March 13th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

The boycott of Israel: the poor man's weapon, or a weapon of massive exclusion?

Between 1962 and 2012, 36 States banned trade with Israel. No products, no services, no exchange… radio silence! Well, not exactly. Economists Lorenzo Rotunno and Pierre Louis Vézina found that during this period, Israel exported up to $6.4 billion-worth to those countries. From official to informal flows, the commercial boycott of Israel is clearly less than complete. The authors take a look at the mechanisms behind these secret exchanges and check what remains of the boycott’s intentions.
February 27th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

Influence network between ministers and municipalities

Appointing a minister increases by 45% the investment grants allocated to the municipality in which he or she has held a local mandate. This gift – valued at 30 million euros per year !- illustrates the importance of the relationships ministers build over the course of their political careers. Brice Fabre and Marc Sangnier shed light on the reasons for such generosity.
January 30th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

The State’s role in optimal schooling, as related to age-structure and longevity

A study conducted by Bonneuil and Boucekkine underlines how the State can influence education in line with demographic transition. As life expectancy increases, the State can increase school life expectancy to maximize citizens’ well-being.
January 16th 2019
  • Economic dialogues

Is power of veto vital to international cooperation?

The UN Security Council has been the subject of wide-ranging debate about whether it should open its doors to other permanent members. Many countries wish to join this select group to gain the power of veto that goes along with membership. Because of the inequalities it introduces and its ability to obstruct negotiations, veto power has been a tricky issue so far. Yet it may also be vital to international cooperation, to counteract the existing balance of power between nations.
January 15th 2019