Ride-hailing platform operator Uber is often accused of undermining labour market regulations and of overpricing at times of peak demand by “surge pricing”. Uber defends itself against such accusations not only by using high-profile lobbyists, but also with the help of top-notch economists, who cooperate in exchange for exclusive data and lucrative consultancy assignments. Even reputable journals publish such sponsored analysis as if it were scholarly research.
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How does Germany’s Monopolies Commission combat market concentration? By making sure that no good data is available
How many companies have merged into corporate groups in Germany? We don’t know. The official figures are completely unconvincing. We have a Monopolies Commission which, together with the German Federal Statistical Office, has the legal mandate to monitor market concentration. Germany’s parliament wanted to ensure that the necessary information about the possible emergence of problematic market power is available, only to discover this no longer fits in with the neoliberal ideology inspired by the Chicago School, which has apparently become the ruling ideology at Germany’s Monopolies Commission.
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Will California’s minimum wage put “non-elite restaurants“ out of business, as “Harvard-Shock-Study” suggests?
Recently, California’s legislature decided that by 2022 the state’s minimum wage will rise to $15 from currently $10. A number of cities, including San Francisco, have already started hiking their own minimum wage. Thus, a Harvard-linked study of the effects of these regional minimum wage hikes on restaurant closures met with great media interest in California and beyond. The popular anarcho-finance website Zero Hedge titled “Harvard Shock Study”. Breitbart found its own anti-elite twist with the headline “Harvard Research: Minimum Wage Hikes Put Non-Elite Restaurants Out of Business”. We take a closer look at the findings of the study.
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The World Bank on the way back to the Washington Consensus – with Chicago Boy Paul Romer
On Monday the World Bank made it official that Paul Romer will be the new chief economist. This nomination can be seen as a big step back toward the infamous Washington Consensus, which World Bank and IMF seemed to have left behind. This is true, even though Paul Romer has learned quite well to hide the market fundamentalist and anti-democratic nature of his pet idea – charter cities – behind a veil of compassionate wording.
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Economics as Superstructure
Presentation for the seminar “Economics and Power” on 23 March 2015, House of Lords, London: Ladies and Gentlemen, To pay tribute to the Marxist jargon, in which Lord Skidelsky has phrased the title of my subject, I would like to start with a quote from Karl Marx: “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas. … The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, … the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance.” In my own words, that means that not all economic ideas are created equal.
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Saving might be a virtue for people, but it is a vice for economies
Fabian Lindner of the German macro-economic research institute IMK has submitted a very timely and well-argued piece to the World Economic Reviw: “Does Saving Increase the Supply of Credit? A Critique of Loanable Funds Theory”. He takes on influential theses of luminaries from Larry Summers, over Ben Bernanke to Hans-Werner Sinn by tracing them back to the loanable-funds-fallacy – a fallacy which still rules standard textbooks. His main proposition is simple and not refutable: firms and economies do not operate at full capacity. All research and surveys show that
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