The Economics of Seafood Fraud

By Dr Sang-Hyun Kim

To those who remember the horse meat scandal in 2013 in Europe, a recent donkey meat scandal in Pakistan may not appear particularly surprising. Food adulterations are so prevalent that people may laugh rather than worry.

This is probably not because people do not care about what they eat. It is rather because there are few things they can do to avoid mislabelled foods. I believe, that laughing is a psychological defence scheme rather than a response to something really funny.

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Corruption in Sport

By Dr Peter Dawson

One would be forgiven for thinking that corruption in sport is a recent phenomenon given the frequent news stories of corruption, bribery and doping offences. These have included performance-enhancing drug taking in cycling and baseball and match-fixing in football (soccer) and cricket. This is not the case however. Examples have been documented as far back as the Olympic Games of AD 388, where Eupolos of Thessalia bribed three of his competitors in the fist-fighting tournament. In 1889, American baseball pitcher Pud Galvin used a testosterone supplement derived from the testicles of live animals, including dogs and guinea pigs, in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Sebastian_Coe_Monaco_2011

IAAF President Sebastian Coe

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Cash-Out and the Behaviour of Bettors

By Dr Alasdair Brown

Any fan watching sport on commercial television cannot fail to notice the endless betting adverts. The latest feature promoted to punters by many bookmakers and betting exchanges is the `Cash-Out’ facility. This allows bettors to unwind their earlier bets as matches progress. Therefore, rather than wait until the end of the match to see if their favoured team wins, they can close out their position at a profit (or loss, depending on the state of play) while the match is still running. Prior to Cash-Out it was possible to close out winning and losing positions on Betfair, before matches ended, but the bettor would have had to manually calculate the required stake, and place a new offsetting bet; Cash-Out reduces this process to the press of a button. The actor Ray Winstone, in one advert, explains that `sometimes you’ve just got to take the money and run’.

Ray_Winstone_2014

Ray Winstone

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The tyranny of private schools

By Dr Sheheryar Banuri

Should the government restrict private schools’ ability to increase fees? It’s an intriguing question, with a complicated (and ideology laden) answer. On the one hand, fee increases are necessary to maintain the quality of service delivery (i.e. to adequately compensate teachers and maintain facilities in the face of inflationary pressures). On the other hand, it’s important to keep education affordable, particularly when its production has such large positive spill overs for society. Given that the value of education is so high, it seems like there is no limit to fee increases.

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