Monthly Archives: October 2015

Was Gold a hedge against inflation? When? For how long?

Recent research has begun to cast some doubt upon the inflation Hedge capacity of gold. When you think of it, the inflation experience over the last 40 years, since gold began to float freely, has been very mixed. In the 1970s we were concerned in relation to inflation, perhaps even fears of hyperinflation; not the talk is of deflation or disinflation.  So was gold a hedge against inflation? Is it now? Continue reading

Slim chance for a second Digicel IPO

Denis-OBrien-Enda-Kenny-701x410Mention “pulled IPO” to irish finance professionals, professors or journalists of a certain age and Guinness Peat Aviation comes to mind. GPA tried, but failed, to float, in 1991. Amongst those who lost money were, famously, Garret Fitzgerald (who had a chunk of his debts forgiven).  It subsequently went belly up, but in fairness out of its experience and assets were born many other, ultimately successful aviation leasing companies. And now we have Digicel – what will its afterlife be? 
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The Irish Revealed Preference for Dysfunctional Institutions

British Prime Minister Harold McMillian famously replied to the question of what was most likely to trip up governments with “Events, dear boy, Events”, demonstrating the random way in which small things can spiral. Who would have thought that a government could fall on foot of children’s shoes, or because of the appointment of a judge..And yet. Angus Deaton this last week won the Nobel Prize in Economics for a lifetime theorising and evaluating development and the role of  institutions and for looking at how consumption and income are related.  The way in which the Government has reacted and acted shows that these issues are related.

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What is the impact of publicly funded science research?

Well, we dont know… BUT we are going to try to shed some light on it.

A debate, a colloquium, a discussion. A group of local and international analysts, funders and policymakers will discuss this on 13 November 2015, RCPI Dublin.

Details here:  Open Policy Debate on Measuring Impact Programme Outline.

Booking (free) here:

Do we need more financial literacy?

A number of years ago I found myself, in collaboration with Constantin Gurdgiev,  in the back of a taxi, in Dublin, with a US journalist. We were spending the afternoon taking taxis at random, with the journalist asking the taxi   his or her  views and knowledge on various financial and economic concepts.  A piece subsequently appeared which noted that so bad was the financial mess we’re in that Irish taxis were capable of discussing credit default swap pricing and the arcane of ratings agencies, which was seen to be in some way better than the usual fare of weather and football

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Could Big Data Save Irish Water?


We are not good, in Ireland, at joined up thinking. This is particularly evident when one looks at government. It’s a pity, because some times a bit of joined up, and perhaps outside the box, thinking might provide solutions to a number of interlinked problems. Take Irish  water …. yes, yes, we know the joke Continue reading