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'Positive Linking' is now available in paperback

My latest book Positive Linking: How Networks and Incentives Can Revolutionise the World, published by Faber and Faber is now available in paperback. Read the Financial Times review here, Bryan Appleyard’s Sunday Times review here and the Guardian review here. Order your copy here.

It is based on my Royal Society of Arts pamphlet ‘N squared: public policy and the power of networks’, available here. A podcast of my talk on this at the RSA in November 2010 is here. There is a Financial Times op-ed piece here.


In April this year I wrote a long review article of Richard Thaler’s book on behavioural economics Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics for the Institute of Economic Affairs in their “Economic Affairs” February 2016 issue. You can read the article here.  Although behavioural economics has useful empirical insights, it is by no means the panacea which it is often claimed to be.

I started life as an economic forecaster, and it has remained an interest of mine.  The track record of predictions is of course very poor.  But here  is a recent paper in which I show that the use of modern machine learning algorithms could improve predictions of the macro economy, and specifically of recessions.

I have interacted with physicists interested in the economy (“econophysics”) for nearly 20 years.  Ten years ago, with a small group of economist, I wrote a friendly critique of econophysics for the leading statistical physics journal Physica A.  I was invited by the European Physics Journal to update my thoughts on this, and the paper is here.

I have had a long association with Bob Rowthorn, former Head of the Economics Department at Cambridge.  He was one of my teachers when I was a student there.  It was a particular pleasure to write an appreciation of his very distinguished work for the forthcoming Palgrave Dictionary of Cambridge Economists is here.

I have continued my decade-long connection with the University of Durham in the UK.  Here is a paper I wrote with Camila Caiado of the maths department, published in the Review of Behavioral Economics on the evolution of market structure in popular culture and web based markets.

The economies of the Mediterranean countries have still not recovered the level of output (GDP) which they had immediately prior to the financial crisis in 2007.  The Euro is widely blamed for this.  Here I confirm that this is the case.  But the most important reason they have failed to recover is because of their high levels of corruption, which limits their ability to restructure.

I was invited in the autumn to give a presentation to the Hobby Business School at the University of Houston on emotions and uncertainty in decision making, and here are the slides.