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Measuring the Impact of the Internet on Retailing
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Julian Gough, World Economics, December 2017
The internet has radically changed the purchasing of goods and services leading to a rapid expansion of online retailers and a decline of many traditional shops on the high street. The UK is the leading nation in Europe in terms of online sales, after a remarkable change in consumers’ spending patterns, with a value of £67bn in 2017, 18% of total retail sales. Economists have neglected retailing as a subject area, perhaps reflecting the complexity of its operations, but it is possible to construct a model of retailing by adapting the conventional marginal theory of the firm. Online retailing has benefits—the ability to view, compare and choose products at competitive prices on screen, pay online with fast home delivery—and costs—the disappearance of small local shops with after-sales service.
Dissecting China’s Property Market Data
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Meiping (Aggie) Sun, World Economics, March 2016
This paper analyses Chinese property market data to evaluate recent trends in the market and to make prognoses for the future. It considers whether or not the existence of high prices and at the same time an enormous rise in residential supply in terms of floor space under construction means that there is a ``bubble'' in China's property market which may burst, similar to what happened in Japan in the early 1990s. Evidence that the price of new homes moves almost perfectly with sales of new residential floor space rather than with completed floor space suggests that the housing market is behaving normally and follows mini boom and bust cycles like other industries. The analysis finds that there are low maintenance costs for buyers after purchase due to the lack of annual property tax and negligible depreciation of bare-shelled housing units which limits the risk of default. Although recently developers are under pressure to raise more revenue mainly due to high interest-rate borrowing from shadow banks, the author considers that the probability of a systemic collapse of housing market is minimal given existing taxation systems, easing monetary policy and the continuing urbanization process.
America’s Dangerously Opaque Public Accounting Systems
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Avantika Chilkoti, World Economics, March 2012
The current global economic crisis has highlighted the problems that result from governments’ archaic and erroneous accounting practices. The Financial Report of the United States Government is scrutinised with the same pedantry that an auditor or long-term investor uses when studying the financial statements of a listed company. What emerges is an all too clear picture of the extent and the root of America’s economic crisis. USA Inc. is found to have a net worth of minus $44 trillion, a symptom of unfunded liabilities that have grown as entitlement expenditure has rocketed. As well as changes in policy, it is the external auditing of government accounts that is suggested as a potential panacea for this global epidemic.

Displaying: 1-3 of 3