In an attempt to explain these contradictions, the Cornell team reexamined nearly 650 previous studies from the past five decades. They found that inverse allergy-cancer associations are far more common with cancers of organ systems that come in direct contact with matter from the external environment—the mouth and throat, colon and rectum, skin, cervix, pancreas and glial brain cells. Likewise, only allergies associated with tissues that are directly exposed to environmental assaults—eczema, hives, hay fever and animal and food allergies—had inverse relationships to cancers.
In the first half of 2008, Buiter and Sibert were invited to study Iceland’s financial problems. They identified the “vulnerable quartet” of (1) a small country with (2) a large banks, (3) its own currency and (4) limited fiscal capacity – a quartet that meant Iceland’s banking model was not viable. How right they were. This column summarises the report, which is now available as CEPR Policy Insight No. 26 with an October 2008 update.
These results indicate that policies that are directed to increase per capita income will not have any effect in reducing the probability of civil war. Since the general consensus in the economic literature indicates that external development assistance does not improve the economic development of countries, even if poverty were the main determinant of conflict, it would be very difficult to act on this determinant.
Instead, polices need to address structural problems that make countries more prone to conflict. Colonisation strategies could explain some of these structural problems as, for example, poor institutional development or institutions that exacerbate ethnic differences.
The latest VoxEU column by Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert on the rotten state of Iceland:
Early in 2008 we were asked by the Icelandic bank Landsbanki (now in receivership) to write a paper on the causes of the financial problems faced by Iceland and its banks, and on the available policy options for the banks and the Icelandic authorities.
The OUCH! part comes at the end:
Iceland’s circumstances were extreme, but there are other countries suffering from milder versions of the same fundamental inconsistent – or at least vulnerable – quartet:
(1) A small country with (2) a large, internationally exposed banking sector, (3) its own currency and (4) limited fiscal spare capacity relative to the possible size of the banking sector solvency gap.
Countries that come to mind are:
and even to some extent the UK, although it is significantly larger than the others and has a minor-league legacy reserve currency.
Or something. Here is a snapshot of the queue outside of Merlin’s store on Vestergade in Odense yesterday. Needless to say, local media reported this as “chaos on the high street”. Today, Sterling Airways ceased operations.