Academic Article

Colin Mayer on Finance, Wealth, Tech, and Regulation

There is a large body of evidence on the relationship between financial systems and wealth creation. Colin Mayer discusses how the technological revolution is transforming finance and how regulation is responding to it. He argues that there are fundamental defects in regulation that are giving rise to regulatory arbitrage and the emergence of a parallel, unregulated financial system.

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Dimitri Zenghelis on Cities and Wealth

Over the next fifty years, most new wealth will be accumulated in cities; this includes physical infrastructure (road, rail, electricity, telecommunications and sanitation), productive capital (houses, offices and factories) and knowledge capital (skills, knowhow and ideas). The development of cities will also determine humanity’s ability to preserve natural capital. Consequently, urbanisation deserves urgent attention from policymakers, academics and businesses worldwide. Dimitri Zenghelis discusses how well-governed, connected, clean cities are likely to attract productive capital, talent, and creativity; while bad governance and inaction over planning can erode progress for decades to centuries.


Dieter Helm on Natural Capital and Sustainable Growth

Recognizing environmental constraints, and in particular recognizing that many natural assets are close to falling below their thresholds for sustainability does not imply that economic growth must stop or even slow down. Dieter Helm discusses how it is possible to have economic growth while protecting aggregate natural capital.


Michael Klein on Infrastructure and Wealth Creation

Infrastructure services in energy, transport, water and telecommunications services underpin the wealth of modern nations. Yet, inefficiencies abound. In developing nations hundreds of millions of people lack access to modern infrastructure services. Globally as much as 40% of expenditures on infrastructure may constitute waste, equivalent to some 1 to 2 % of global GDP. Michael Klein discusses infrastructure development, links between infrastructure, wealth and economic growth, and more.


Rolando Ossowski and Håvard Halland on the Economics of Sovereign Wealth Funds

Many countries have set up sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) as vehicles for public saving and wealth management. The majority of SWFs are in resource-exporting countries; frequent objectives are macroeconomic and fiscal stabilisation, inter-temporal transfer of wealth, and national development. Some resource funds hold assets equivalent to several multiples of GDP, but many funds are relatively small. The evidence shows that the design and operation of a SWF can help or encumber economic management and wealth preservation.


Philippe Van Kerm on Wealth, Top Incomes, and Inequality

Although it is heartening to see wealth inequality being taken seriously, key concepts are often muddled, including the distinction between income and wealth, what is included in “wealth”, and facts about wealth distributions. Philippe Van Kerm discusses research (conducted with Frank Cowell, Brian Nolan, and Javier Olivera) that highlights the issues arising in making ideas and facts about wealth inequality precise, and presents newly-available data taking a fresh look at wealth and wealth inequality in a comparative perspective.


Mariana Mazzucato on Wealth Creation and the State

The state is often seen as facilitating the process of wealth creation, rather than being a key driver of the process itself. A better understanding of the role that the state has and can play in the wealth creation process is the starting point for policy solutions that can increase the rate of wealth creation, while reducing rent-seeking and ensuring a fairer distribution of that co-created wealth.


Panel on Wealth Accounts: Concepts, Economics, and Policy

Wealth is a stock, not a flow. The country with the highest flow of GDP in a particular year is not necessarily the richest country. The richest country has the highest capital stock, whether endowed or accumulated. While this should in theory be obvious, it is often ignored. A focus on wealth, and changes in wealth, would lead to attention to investment in important assets – whether natural, produced, human, institutional or financial – and sharper attention to sustainability. In this discussion, the panelists consider wealth accounts and policy implications.