Category: Podcasts and Webcasts

This podcast is from the Guardian. The first part consists of a report by Anna Dixon, Director of Policy at the King’s Fund (an independent ‘think tank’). The podcast considers “the economics of healthcare. Why are the Americans so opposed to adopt a system of socialised medicine? Does the NHS make economic sense? And how will the squeeze on public finances impact upon our most cherished of services?”

The Business: The NHS and economic recovery Guardian podcast (19/8/09)

Questions

  1. How do the UK and US healthcare systems differ?
  2. Why does the US system result in greater healthcare inequality than the National Health Service system in the UK?
  3. For what reasons may Americans resist healthcare reform?
  4. What lessons can be learned by the NHS from the US healthcare system?
  5. Compare the issues of monopoly power of drug companies, doctors and hospitals in the two systems? In which system is the countervailing power of purchasers likely to be greater?

This podcast is from BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. It consists of an interview with James Berresford, chief executive of VisitEngland, and Tracy Corrigan, of the Daily Telegraph on the topic of ‘staycations’ – a term used to refer to people holidaying at home rather than going abroad. Staycations are up, but why is this the case; how much have people switched; and is it really a cheaper option?

More people holidaying in England BBC Today Programme (27/8/09)

See also the following articles:
Unemployment Up In Seaside Resorts Despite Era Of The ‘Staycation’ Fresh Business Thinking (22/8/09)
Unemployment up in seaside resorts despite era of the ‘staycation’ TUC (21/8/09)
Haven Holidays sees rise in caravan sales Times Online (26/8/09)
‘Staycation’ Britons reconsider their holiday plans The National (Abu Dhabi) (28/8/09)
Recession-hit Britons abandon foreign holidays in favour of ‘staycations’ Guardian (13/8/09)
Bad weather puts paid to the Great British Staycation Independent on Sunday (22/8/09)

The following are useful sources of evidence:
Visits to the UK up 4 per cent Office for National Statistics News Release (13/8/09)
1.2 Million More Holidays Taken In England As Brits Take Breaks Closer To Home enjoyEngland (7/8/09)
11.9 million Brits to take U.K break this Bank Holiday enjoyEngland (26/8/09)

Questions

  1. What are the determinants of demand for staycations? How have these impacted on the demand for staycations in the UK in summer 2009?
  2. How are the (a) price; (b) income and (c) cross-price elasticities of demand for staycations relevant in determining the demand for staycations?
  3. Why is imperfect information an important problem in making a decision about where to take a holiday and how do risk attitudes affect the decision?
  4. Why has unemployment risen more than the UK national average in many seaside towns?

This podcast is from the BBC’s Today Programme on Radio 4. With government debt set to rise from around 45 per cent in 2007 to around 85 per cent by 2010, is there a danger that the UK might find it difficult, or even impossible, to fund the debt through the necessary issuing of bonds and other government securities? In the podcast, Richard Portes, Professor of Economics at London Business School, and Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered Bank, discuss the question.

Could the UK default on its debt? BBC Today Programme (20/8/09)

For data on general government debt in OECD countries, see OECD Economic Outlook No. 85 Annex Tables 62 and 32. See also tables 27 to 30 for data on general government deficits.

See also:
Public sector borrowing soaring BBC News (20/8/09)
Public sector finances, July 2009 ONS (20/8/09)

Questions

  1. Compare the UK’s general government debt with that of other major countries. Consider both the level of debt and its changes in the past three years and projected changes over the next two years.
  2. Why, according to Professor Portes, is there virtually no chance that the UK will default on its debt?
  3. What is the most likely route by which the level of debt will be reduced over the coming few years?
  4. What are the implications for long-term interest rates if the UK government debt remains at high levels?

This podcast is from MSN’s Slate magazine. It is an interview with David Wessel, author of the book In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic. The book and the podcast consider the recent history of the Federal Reserve Bank of America (the USA’s central bank) and its handling of the sub-prime crisis and the credit crunch.

In Fed We Trust: A podcast with author David Wessel MSN Slate (10/8/09)

Questions

  1. What actions were taken by the Fed as the credit crisis unfolded?
  2. According to David Wessel, what mistakes were made by the Fed in handling the credit crisis?
  3. How successful was the Fed in steering the economy through the credit crisis and subsequent recession?
  4. How is the role of the Fed likely to change in the future?

This podcast is from Times Online and is an interview with Jonathan Waghorn, of Investec Global Energy Fund, who “says the price of oil is set to rise over the long term, as it becomes increasingly difficult to find. This spells bad news for motorists, but good news for investors.”

Podcast: The oil price Times Online (4/8/09)

Questions

  1. Why have oil prices fluctuated so much over the past year?
  2. What is likely to happen to the price of oil over the next few months and why?
  3. Why is the price of oil likely to rise faster than the rate of inflation over the long term?
  4. How are the price, income and cross elasticities of demand and the price elasticity of supply relevant to explaining the likely long-term trend in oil prices?
  5. If the price of crude oil goes up by x per cent, is the price of petrol at the pump likely to go up by x per cent or by more or less than x per cent? Explain your answer.