Book Bits | 4 November 2017

The Myth of Millionaire Tax Flight: How Place Still Matters for the Rich
By Cristobal Young
Summary via publisher (Stanford University Press)
In this age of globalization, many countries and U.S. states are worried about the tax flight of the rich. As income inequality grows and U.S. states consider raising taxes on their wealthiest residents, there is a palpable concern that these high rollers will board their private jets and fly away, taking their wealth with them. Many assume that the importance of location to a person’s success is at an all-time low. Cristobal Young, however, makes the surprising argument that location is very important to the world’s richest people. Frequently, he says, place has a great deal to do with how they make their millions.

Straight Talk on Trade: Ideas for a Sane World Economy
By Dani Rodrik
Review via Kirkus Review
Rodrik ventures that the idea of a “free market” is itself problematic, inasmuch as in the U.S. there has historically been a great deal of government infrastructural and financial support for private initiatives, with companies such as Apple and Intel benefiting from federal largesse in their early years. The author makes a point of distinguishing free trade and fair trade as two different things, with fair trade combatting protectionism while also restraining globalizers “from gaining the upper hand in cases in which international trade and finance are a backdoor for eroding widely accepted standards at home”—a living wage, say.

Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance
By Frank Ackerman
Summary via publisher (Anthem Press)
Worst-case scenarios are all too real, and all too common. The financial crisis of 2008 was not the first or the last to destroy jobs, homeownership and the savings of millions of people. Hurricanes clobber communities from New York to Bangladesh. How bad will the next catastrophe be, and how soon will it happen? Climate and financial crises are serious events, requiring vigorous responses. Yet public policy is trapped in an obsolete framework, with a simplistic focus on average or likely outcomes rather than dangerous extremes. What would it take to create better analyses of extreme events in climate and finance, and an appropriate policy framework for worst-case risks? ‘Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance’ offers accessible and surprising answers to these crucial questions.

Financial Decisions and Markets: A Course in Asset Pricing
By John Y. Campbell
Summary via publisher (Princeton University Press)
In Financial Decisions and Markets, John Campbell, one of the field’s most respected authorities, provides a broad graduate-level overview of asset pricing. He introduces students to leading theories of portfolio choice, their implications for asset prices, and empirical patterns of risk and return in financial markets. Campbell emphasizes the interplay of theory and evidence, as theorists respond to empirical puzzles by developing models with new testable implications. The book shows how models make predictions not only about asset prices but also about investors’ financial positions, and how they often draw on insights from behavioral economics.

Ethical Asset Valuation and the Good Society
By Christian Gollier
Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press)
For all of their focus on asset prices, financial economists rarely ask if assets are priced ethically—that is, if their prices are compatible with the public good. Yet in a world facing major, possibly catastrophic problems—global warming, for instance, and growing inequality—it is now more important than ever that we allocate capital to projects that will benefit society as a whole, not just today but far into the future. In this book, Christian Gollier develops a powerful method for transforming our societal goals of collective prosperity into the cornerstone of our financial decision making.