Saturday, May 28, 2016

Business Strategy and evolution

Really lovely post from Stumbling and Mumbling that links the mico aspect of firm strategy with the more macro elements of the business cycle.

"It’s not just change in the environment over time that can lead to maladaption, corporate death and downturns. A similar problem occurs when businessmen move from one environment to another. For example, the market in sportswear selected in favour of Mike Ashley’s ruthless cost-cutting. But that strategy when applied to Newcastle United proved less successful*. Or to take a more outlandish example, the market selects in favour of property developers who “restructure” their debts and dodge taxes. But it’s not so clear that such strategies are a good way of handling the government’s finances."
I would like to emphasis this link between some of the inefficiencies at the micro level and their implications at the marco sphere more fully, just as the new economic thinking takes issues like political power and distributions and uses them to enhance understanding of some micro interactions.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

‘Blockchain could be totally transformative for fund industry’ — FT.com

FT reports survey that suggests that ‘Blockchain could be totally transformative for fund industry’:

"According to a survey of 125 asset management professionals across fund houses, custodian banks and consultancies, blockchain is expected to be a very disruptive force within the fund industry.

Asked which areas of financial technology will have the biggest impact on the fund industry, 42 per cent of those polled listed blockchain, while 43 per cent nominated big-data analytics, where large sets of information are analysed to uncover market trends or other useful information.

In contrast, only a fifth listed robo-advisers, which provide automated online investment services."



Investors fear a summer of discontent — FT.com

Investors fear a summer of discontent — FT.com: "“Sell in May and go away” is one of the most overused clichés in markets commentary. But, like so many clichés, it contains a kernel of truth — and investors are right to be nervous ahead of this summer."



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Friday, May 20, 2016

EU referendum: “remain” on course for clear victory – The Politics Counter

EU referendum: “remain” on course for clear victory – The Politics Counter assess the EU polls and the discrepancy between the telephone polls and those conducted on line. There is a good discussion of polling issues.

"The reason why our leading polling companies are so good, so often is that they go to great lengths to make their samples match the country’s population – by age, gender, region, social class, past vote and so on. Usually this process generates accurate results. But sometimes it doesn’t, either because the silent, unpolled, majority, differs from the poll-friendly minority in some way that is not captured even by the smartest demographic sampling – or because of “mode effects”, in which the way a poll is conducted prompts some respondents to conceal their true feelings."


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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Get Ready for High-Frequency Lawyers - Bloomberg View

Get Ready for High-Frequency Lawyers - Bloomberg View: Machine-driven optimisation.

"Picture supply chains managed by algorithms, with purchasing contracts adjusted at high frequencies in response to constant flows of data about sales, shipping times, manufacturing costs, and so on. Imagine demand shifting back and forth across continents at close to the speed of light, switching small-batch production and shipping orders from one bidder to the next. Instead of high-frequency traders, imagine high-frequency lawyers, adjusting contracts to reward contractors appropriately for tiny improvements in efficiency, using sophisticated statistical analysis to figure out whether performance is being driven by outside conditions or by the contractor’s skill and effort. Of course, in this sci-fi vision, the contractor will also be a robot, using equally sophisticated procedures to optimize its payment relative to its cost."


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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Discussion of economic research methods

Equitable Growth in Conversation: An interview with David Card and Alan Krueger - Equitable Growth: "avid Card: There are several origin stories that meet sometime in the late ’80s, I would say, in Princeton. One part of the origin story would be Bob LaLonde’s paper on evaluating the evaluation methodologies. So, in the 1970s, if you were taking a class in labor economics, you would spend a huge amount of time going through the modeling section and the econometric method. And ordinarily, you wouldn’t even talk about the tables. No one would even really think of that as the important part of the paper. The important part of the paper was laying out exactly what the method was.

But there was an underlying current of how believable are these estimates, what exactly are we missing. And some of that came to the fore in LaLonde’s paper."



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How Argentina Settled a Billion-Dollar Debt Dispute With Hedge Funds - The New York Times

How Argentina Settled a Billion-Dollar Debt Dispute With Hedge Funds - The New York Times: "In a hotel conference room, a top Argentine politician drank coffee with two hedge fund executives — a meeting that was nothing short of remarkable after more than a decade of bitter legal skirmishes between Argentina and a group of disgruntled debt holders who at one point seized an Argentine Navy ship. The previous Buenos Aires government reviled the hedge funds as “vultures.”"



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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Technology: Breaking the law — FT.com

Machines beats the lawyers. FT.com looks at the scope for uberisation of the law:

"Over a decade ago, a group of US academics set up a contest: humans against the machine. Each side would attempt to predict the decisions of the US Supreme Court in the 2002 term. A group of experts used their knowledge of the law and of the justices’ behaviour to forecast the outcomes. The researchers fed data from 628 cases into their computer model. The results were startling. The experts’ correctly predicted 59.1 per cent of the court’s decisions, but the model got 75 per cent of them right."

Friday, April 01, 2016

The welfare state is a piggy bank for life — FT.com

The welfare state is a piggy bank for life — FT.com: "Third, in the course of adult life, only 7 per cent of individuals receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes, even though 36 per cent of people receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes in any given year."



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