Duncan’s Economic Blog

Reading lists

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on March 26, 2009

Labour and Capital notes that the FSA, in the Turner Review, has provided a good reading list for the crisis.

Here it is:

John Maynard Keynes – General Theory (1936).
Hyman Minsky – Stabilising an Unstable Economy (1986).
Charles Kindelberger – Manias, panics and markets (1978).
Robert Shiller – Irrational Exuberance (2000)
An institutional theory of momentum and reversal – Vayanos and Woolley LSE, (November 2008).
George Soros – The new paradigm for financial markets (2008)
Kahneman, Slovic and Tversky – Judgment under uncertainty: heuristics and bias(1982)
The Great Contraction in Friedman and Schwartz – A monetary history of the United States 1867-1960 (1963).
Benoit Mandelbrot – The Misbehaviour of Markets(2004)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb – The Black Swan: the Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007)
Andrew Haldane – Why banks failed the stress test (February 2009)
Frank Knight – Risk, Uncertainty,and Profit (1921)
Adair Turner – Uncertainty and Risk: reflections on a turbulent year
Daniel Tarullo – Banking on Basel (2008)

There’s a couple there I don’t know and will try and look up.

If I was to strongly recommend one, it’d be Minsky’s ‘Stabilising an unstable economy‘.

Minsky is a vastly unappreciated economist, well worth a read. Good wiki article here.

Does anyone have any other good reading suggestions?


Gilts, again.

Posted in Uncategorized by duncanseconomicblog on March 26, 2009

I ranted about the ‘failed gilt auction’ yesterday. Please forgive a second, hopefully brief rant today.

As is entirely predictable Fraser over at the Spectator has become a excited and is once more preaching doom.

More reasoned commentary can be found at the FT:

Most analysts believe Wednesday’s failure was due to a combination of unfortunate circumstances, suggesting it was more of a one-off than the beginning of a damaging trend.

John Wraith, head of sterling rates product development at RBC Capital Markets, said there was a danger that the auction failure could be repeated. But, he said: “I think we can be relatively relaxed about it, particularly as the DMO and most analysts have expected an auction failure at some point.

“There were a set of circumstances that undermined demand, and the auction did not fail by much.”

These unfortunate circumstances included comments on Tuesday by Mervyn King, Bank of England governor, that the government should hold back from announcing another stimulus programme in next month’s Budget, which coincided with poor inflation figures published on the same day.

And at Bloomberg.

But, again here are my thoughts.

(i) Getting away £1.6bn of debt, on forty year terms, at 4.5% is not a failure.

(ii) The yield on 10 year gilts is still sub 3.5%. 3.32% as I type.

(iii) As long as we can keep selling 10 year gilts at anything below 4.5% we do not face a funding problem. Remember yields were over 12% in the early 90s.

(iv) The Governor’s comments on Tuesday directly contributed to the failed auction.

I still think we need a fiscal stimulus. I still think we can fund it. People from all wings of the party, from John McDonnell to Luke Akehurst recognize that a fiscal stimulus is necessary and desirable. The coming budget needs to be bold.