Book Bits | 4 January 2020

The Rise of Carry: The Dangerous Consequences of Volatility Suppression and the New Financial Order of Decaying Growth and Recurring Crisis
By Tim Lee, et al.
Summary via publisher (McGraw-Hill)
Protect yourself from the next financial meltdown with this game-changing primer on financial markets, the economy—and the meteoric rise of carry. The financial shelves are filled with books that explain how popular carry trading has become in recent years. But none has revealed just how significant a role it plays in the global economy—until now. The Rise of Carry explains how carry trading has virtually shaped the global economic picture—one of decaying economic growth, recurring crises, wealth disparity, and, in too many places, social and political upheaval. The authors explain how carry trades work—particularly in the currency and stock markets—and provide a compelling case for how carry trades have come to dominate the entire global business cycle.

The Paradox of Fiscal Austerity: How Cutting Deficits Saved the Modern World
By Justin Vélez-Hagan
Summary via publisher (Lexington Books)
If governments followed the optimal fiscal policy path, surpluses in good times would counter necessary deficits during economic downturns, leading to worldwide balance. The world, however, has chosen to go in a different direction in recent decades, avoiding thrift in light of a decidedly more indebted future. When financial crises kicked off a global recession in 2008, the spotlight placed on countries’ fiscal conditions put pressure on policymakers around the globe to find a way to slow the growth of deficits and debt by imposing fiscal consolidations (or, more simply, austerity). How have these policies fared across the developed world? Were they even necessary to begin with? This book examines the many factors that have contributed to the success (or failure) of such policies, including timing, magnitude, accompanying policies, composition, and more, while explaining the economic rationale behind their choices.

Why Austerity Persists
By Jon Shefner and Cory Blad
Summary via publisher (Polity)
Several nations in the Global North have turned to austerity policies in an effort to resolve recent financial ills. What many failed to recognize is the longer history and varied pattern of such policies in the Global South over preceding decades – policies which had largely proven to fail. Shefner and Blad trace the 45-year history of austerity and how it became the go-to policy to resolve a host of economic problems. The authors use a variety of international cases to address how austerity has been implemented, who has been hurt, and who has benefited. They argue that the policy has been used to address very different kinds of crises, making states and polities responsible for a variety of errors and misdeeds of private actors. The book answers a number of important questions: why austerity persists as a policy aimed at resolving national crises despite evidence that it often does not work; how the policy has evolved over recent decades; and which powerful people and institutions have helped impose it across the globe.

Women vs. Capitalism: Why We Can’t Have It All in a Free Market Economy
By Vicky Pryce
Review via The Guardian
Markets are good at finding the value of some things, but not others. Women are one of those “others”. As Vicky Pryce puts it in her new book, Women vs Capitalism, “women are a valuable resource, whose true value is not understood or reflected in market prices”. This book shines a much-needed light on discrimination that still holds too many women back – and what we can do about it.

Fund Managers: The Complete Guide (Wiley Finance)
By Matthew Hudson
Summary via publisher (Wiley)
und Managers: The Complete Guide is an all-encompassing overview of fund and asset managers around the globe. The only comprehensive guide on the subject, this book covers both the fund manager and the market as a whole while providing insights from current and future fund managers and leaders in the technology industry from the UK, EU and US. Focused examination of the fund managers and their investors – the categories of manager, the asset classes they participate in, how they are using technology and their views on the market – complements a wider survey of the market that includes upcoming changes to regulation, taxation and political shifts in the Western world.

Behavioural Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy
By Paul De Grauwe and Yuemei Ji
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
Modern macroeconomics has been based on the paradigm of the rational individual capable of understanding the complexity of the world. This has created a very shallow theory of the business cycle in which nothing happens in the macroeconomy unless shocks occur from outside. Behavioural Macroeconomics: Theory and Policy uses a different paradigm. It assumes that individual agents experience cognitive limitations preventing them from having rational expectations. Instead these individuals use simple rules of behaviour.

Edited by Robert M. Solow
Summary via publisher (Yale University Press)
Providing illuminating profiles of ninety of the world’s most prominent economists—from Nobel Prize winners and former Federal Reserve chairs to young scholars charting the future of the field—this stunning volume pairs full-page portraits by acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook with short essays written by the sitters in response to questions posed by Nobel Laureate Robert M. Solow about their work. Together, the words and photographs offer a unique look into the world of economists and serve as an accessible entry point into the views shaping policy and research decisions by such luminaries as Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, Mario Draghi, Steven Levitt, Robert Shiller, Esther Duflo, Paul Krugman, and Susan Athey, among many others.