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Data, Deceit, and the Defence of Truth
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Stuart P.M. Mackintosh, World Economics, September 2018
Attacks on experts and professionals using available facts, are rising in the USA, with troubling implications for economics, for the collection of statistical data, and for the future integrity of the policymaking process. The Trump Administration is undermining fact-based decision making in a number of discreet interventions: Citizenship questions for the upcoming decennial census and in attacks on the work of an economist in the US Congressional Budget Office on healthcare costs. In Argentina from 2002 until 2015 the Kirchner government twisted the output of the official statistical agency to their own aims, publishing bogus data on inflation, GDP, and poverty. In Greece the efforts of Andreas Georgiou from 2010 to 2015 to correct the biased output on GDP and government expenditure data at the Greek Statistical Agency led a judicial persecution all the way to the Greek Supreme Court.
Measuring the Impact of Terror
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Piotr Konwicki, World Economics, March 2018
Events observed in Israel include terror attacks, controversial elections and unexpected wars, the impact of which can be analysed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in terms of abnormal returns. Results show that defence and high-tech industries react positively to these events while other industries have a negative reaction. Recent data demonstrate that these events create positive abnormal market reactions when Israel is at war with Palestine and Lebanon because of the high number of defence and high-tech companies listed on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. A phenomenon of the ‘normalisation of terror’ can be observed in the stock exchange, as the market reacted negatively to events in 2002 but has become more resilient to recent events.
The Poverty of Statistics: Military Power, Defence Expenditure and Strategic Balance
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Jan Ludvík, World Economics, March 2015
Military expenditure and the number of service personnel are the two features most commonly used to compare national military power. The question remains, however, to what extent these reflect the real-world situation. This study aims to provide an answer by using economic and military data about conflicts between great powers over the last 160 years. Correlations of War data are employed to show that the relationship between pre-war military expenditure and army size on the one hand and outcomes of war on the other, is blurry to say the least. States with higher military expenditure prevailed in only six of the nine conflicts between great powers examined in this research. Only four of the nine were won by the state with the larger peacetime army. Using the case of the Franco-Prussian War, this work illustrates that even the superiority of both mentioned variables cannot ward off a crushing defeat, let alone ensure victory. A nation’s military power stems from its ability to adapt effectively to the realities of modern warfare. This is what neither high military expenditure nor sheer soldier numbers can guarantee.
False Perspective: The UNDP View of the World
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David Henderson, World Economics, March 2000
Despite some searching and unanswered criticisms of its treatment of statistical evidence, the UNDP Human Development Report has become established as a widely-quoted and influential survey of the world scene. The 1999 Report, reviewed here, focuses on ‘globalization’. This is described as a dominant influence on the recent economic fortunes of developing countries in particular, and as a primary cause of continuing poverty and growing inequality in the world. The author argues that the Report provides neither argument nor evidence in support of this thesis; that it takes no account of other factors that have strongly influenced economic performance; that its main prescription for the world, of reforms in ‘global governance’, is largely beside the point; and that its whole approach is crudely anti-liberal. The author concludes by placing the Report, as also the economists who have aligned themselves with it, in the wider context of anti-liberalism today.



Displaying: 1-4 of 4