I have been working with Qing Ye and Clive Walker on a paper which looks at the effect of the media on financial markets in nineteenth-century London. The main finding of our paper is that there is a media discount which appears after the emergence of arm's-length ownership and increased market participation. This suggests that diffuse ownership may be a prerequisite for the media effect. Our findings help explain why the media appears to have little effect on present-day developing country financial markets. The working paper is available at the QUCEH website.
The Berkeley Earth Project , an independent study of global warming, has found that the earth has become a degree warmer over the past half century. However, the statistical uncertainty surrounding pre-1920 estimates makes it very hard to say much about long-term trends - click here for graph . This is one of my concerns with the global warming debate - we simply don't have trustworthy long-run data which looks at temperature changes over the last millennium (or two). My second concern with the global warming debate is that it is very hard to prove any sort of casual link between global warming and human activity. The scientists may be able to show correlation between global warming and our production of carbon dioxides etc., but correlation is not causation. My third concern with the debate is that those who are sceptical or agnostic are stereotyped as flat-earthers or intellectually-challenged crackpots. This only stifles debate and the progress of science itself.