A student peruses the books  in Oxford. Oxford University has a student population in excess of 20,000 taken from over 140 countries around the world. Photo: Getty Images

One of my favourite textbooks offers the following opinion about intellectual progress: “today’s undergraduates study the material covered in yesterda(...)

Mario Draghi: until the ECB president’s most recent speech there has been no acknowledgement of the need to run growth at a higher rate or even of the possibility that fiscal austerity can damage growth in the short-term.

Economists often complain that they can’t do laboratory experiments, something which explains why the profession only pretends to be a science. Becaus(...)

European policy makers “are doing everything they can to stop recovery taking off, so they should not be surprised if there is in fact no take-off. It is balanced-budget fundamentalism, and it has become religious”.

John Maynard Keynes famously argued that politicians and policy makers are often “slaves to some defunct economist”. I think he was only partially cor(...)

Traders working at their desks in front of the DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange yesterday. Photograph: Reuters

The German economy’s loss of momentum and its 0.2 per cent contraction in the second quarter has hit the headlines. However, quarterly swings in growt(...)

The ECB is always calling for structural reforms. Structural reforms are always politically difficult. They are only ever implemented by politicians brave and decent enough to think beyond the next election. So we hardly ever see them. Photograph: EPA

What beliefs, if any, inform European economic policy- makers? Is there a coherent framework that drives fiscal and monetary policy? Perhaps the answe(...)

The European Central Bank  in Frankfurt Main, Germany – weak and disappointing European growth has become one of life’s constants: one that leaves the euro area extremely vulnerable to shocks, even small ones. EPA/Boris Roessler

Hints of economic recovery are turning into solid evidence. For a while now, various short-term indicators have been suggestive of something of a pick(...)

Thomas Piketty, the French economist whose work has fueled fierce debates about inequality. Photograph: Ed Alcock/The New York Times

In the wake of my most recent musings on inequality, some of my critics, for once, were happy to identify themselves. One or two even wrote letters to(...)

Patrick Honohan, governor of the Central Bank of Ireland: “the recovery in economic activity is showing a somewhat stronger trend overall than previously signalled”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The language used by central bankers is usually terse, always reserved and, for the most part, cautious. Lucrative financial market career paths lie i(...)

Despite the swooning over French economist Thomas Piketty, little of his analysis and conclusions on income inequality actually apply to Ireland. (Photograph: Ed Alcock/The New York Times)

If you are ever unlucky enough to be spending some leisure time with an economist, a way of livening up the proceedings is to challenge him or her on (...)

It is surely not beyond the wit of Brussels to devise policies that boost regional capital spending while keeping a lid on the more fiscally irresponsible ambitions of local politicians. Photograph: Reuters

Mixed messages from economic data are nothing new. Anyone looking for a steer from the most recent run of numbers will be forgiven for being confused.(...)