Six Economic Ideas that Changed the World

Over the summer, The Economist magazine published independent pieces on six big economic ideas that changed the world (or at least modern finance). These have now been collected into a a single brief. Economic students will recognize many, but these should be read by anyone interested in why markets work (or don't work) in unexpected ways. Among the best are the…

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Heads: do it. Tails: do it!

We're big fans of behavioral economics, so the idea that you can make better decisions by flipping a coin naturally caught our eye. The author of a working paper that makes this claim is none other than Steven Levitt, of Freakonomist fame. Levitt recruited people who were struggling to make a big decision and were willing to allow their choice to be governed…

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PE Partnership Transitions: Greed vs. Legacy

Leadership transitions within private equity firms are icebergs: sometimes the tips are spotted in the distance, but the vast majority are usually out of sight and only significant in a catastrophe. Large crashes became well-known, but even then information is largely anecdotal -- stories passed around with cocktail glasses. Most leadership transitions float past, largely hidden from view. However a working paper from researchers at Harvard…

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Blockchain

Important stuff can be hard. So, somewhat against our better judgement, we are covering a pretty technical subject, but one that has enormous potential: Blockchain. Best known as the technology underlying Bitcoin (which we covered here), a blockchain is essentially a distributed database of transactions which can be applied to almost any series of related events involving the same assets --…

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News Moves

News junkies everywhere know that it is the best of times, as news is presented in various forms through a multitude of channels, often in real time — but fear the worst of times, as the implosion of the former monolith of print news threatens the existence of journalism as a profession. Clay Shirky writes a very sage and direct…

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Venture Alignment

Do venture capitalists get paid very well to lose other people’s money? That is the thesis of a piece by Diane Mulchay, director of private equity at the Kaufmann Foundation. Along with misaligned fee structures and the limited downside risk, the core of her critique is particularly brutal: despite a claimed expertise to recognize and reward new ideas, the venture…

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Price Imperfect

As comfortable as an Uber ride is, it sure seems to cause a lot of distress. Recently protests against Uber rolled Europe, even as the company was flexing its muscle with an $1.2 billion capital raise at a valuation in excess of $18 billion. Uber's international expansion has been remarkable, as this graph illustrates. And not to be outdone with Taxi…

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World Cupenomics

We are big fans of the global game, so this is a month to relish - and a tremendous start.  As enthralling as the competition is, the cultural implications of futball are equally captivating.  Some of the best writing on the game off the field -- and which deserves a read no matter your sport  -- is in The Economist, who…

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Strong Signs in Weak Signals

The ceaseless flow of information and data running through most businesses now has made it easier to spot big trends, but also threatens to wash over smaller pieces of critical information. But increasingly, it is these small snippets of data that carry important insights - key pieces of information floating along in the fast-paced stream of social data. McKinsey recently…

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Bitcoin of the Realm

2013 in a word? According to at least one economist it was: Bitcoin - a secure peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency created in 2009. New Bitcoins are mined by software programmers, and although users can remain anonymous, central to the system is a public database and sequential record of all transactions (as if one could track the use of…

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