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Fearonomics podcast

Beata Javorcik, EBRD’s Chief Economist (current) and also professor of Economics at Oxford University and Sergei Guriev, EBRD former Chief Economist and professor of economics at Science Po.

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Listen to a new EBRD podcast called “Fearonomics”, which aims to help confront – and overcome - fears about the global economy by analysing the latest economic data, debunking myths and defining the risks to watch out for.

Jonathan Charles, EBRD’s Managing Director, Communications, will be discussing the most pressing issues of the moment with Sergei Guriev, EBRD former Chief Economist and professor of economics at Science Po and Beata Javorcik, EBRD’s Chief Economist (current) and also professor of Economics at Oxford University.

They will explore a wide range of economic fears from global famine to energy security and the death of globalisation.

Tweet at us @EBRD #EBRDdilemmas

And rating and reviewing us on iTunes will help others to find us.

Episode 1: Fearonomics of food security: can we fix the looming food crisis?

In its first episode Fearonomics will be exploring whether we can avoid the looming food crisis.

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, even before the war on Ukraine and the pandemic, 690 million people, or nine per cent of the world’s population, were already facing food insecurity and hunger.

Now with the Food Price Index reaching highest levels of all time, the consequences could be stark: from price hikes to social riots.

Is there any way to avoid the catastrophe?

Jonathan Charles, EBRD’s Managing Director, Communications, is discussing with Sergei Guriev, EBRD former Chief Economist and professor of economics at Science Po and Beata Javorcik, EBRD’s Chief Economist (current) and also professor of Economics at Oxford University.


Episode 31: 2021-22 Transition Report launch- System upgrade: Delivering the digital dividend

Our report explores how advanced digitalisation has affected the economies where we invest.

The digitalisation process is destined to continue and will remain one of the key forces shaping developments around the world – including in the EBRD regions. It is therefore quite fitting that this year’s Transition Report is devoted to that subject. It explores the size of the digital divides in EBRD countries, the digital infrastructure and its link to firm performance, teleworking, artificial intelligence and the labour force as well as fintech and banks in transition. The report also introduces a financial market development index, and features the regular analysis of structural reform.


Toomas Hendrik Ilves is an Estonian politician who served as the fourth president of Estonia from 2006 until 2016.

Daron Acemoğlu is an MIT Institute Professor of Economics.

Dina Matta is the EBRD Vice President, Chief Transformation Officer.

Oleksandr Bornyakov is Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.

Beata Javorcik is the EBRD Chief Economist and Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford.

Episode 30: COP26: what's at stake for the EBRD regions?

Our COP 26 special EconTalk gathered experts in the field to discuss climate action, the obstacles to achieving net-zero, and the social and economic implications of a Just Transition.

Join Jonathan Charles, EBRD Managing Director for Communications, in conversation with:
Professor Mike Spence, a Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences (2001). He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Philip H. Knight Professor Emeritus of Management in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.
Jean Pisani-Ferry, a non-resident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He holds the Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Chair of the European University Institute in Florence and is a senior fellow at Bruegel.
Beata Javorcik, EBRD Chief Economist and Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford.
The discussion was opened by a special address from Odile Renaud-Basso, EBRD President.

Episode 29: Robots vs Covid-19: the future of work?

Our presenters Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law discuss what the Covid-19 transformation means to the future of work in the latest episode of our podcast Pocket Dilemmas. They are joined by:

Jason Furman, the Aetna Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy jointly at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics,

Beata Javorcik, our Chief Economist and Professor of Economics, University of Oxford.

Is the future of work already here? What is a bigger threat to our future: Covid-19 or robots? All of this and more in our latest podcast.

Like what you hear? Review our podcast on iTunes, email us at, or tweet us @EBRD #EBRDdilemmas

You can rate, review and subscribe to Pocket Dilemma on ITunes, Spotify and Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode 28: Can finance reduce pollution during the Covid-19 crisis?

With the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) scheduled for  November, governments are under growing pressure to meet their national commitments to decarbonise.

Green transition at scale will require a lot of collaboration and, in a global economy still in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic, finance will have a key role to play in ‘building back better’ and ‘building back greener’. 

This and many other questions are discussed in our latest episode of Pocket Dilemmas podcast, where Kerrie Law and Jonathan Charles are joined by:

* EBRD’s Director of Research Ralph de Haas

* Associate Professor of Economics at Imperial College London, Ralf Martin

Can finance reduce pollution during the Covid-19 crisis? Listen to our latest episode.

Episode 27: EBRD at 30: what's next?

So, at the age of 30, how is the EBRD doing? What are the challenges for its future? What has the EBRD taught some of its former staff?

This special discussion brought together four EBRD Chief Economists, past and present, who shared their insights into the Bank and its influence on the countries where it works, global development and the world of international financial institutions.

The inaugural Chief Economist of Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, Erik Berglof, talked about the technical banking skills which are unique to the EBRD as well as its knowledge of its regions. These are particularly important as the Bank helps them overcome the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Technical skills, structuring projects, infrastructure or financial… All those skills we assume in the models, but when you live with them on a daily basis…, it is both humbling and reassuring,” he said.

“At this point most economies are still on life support. Nobody knows what the real state of the economy is… Then we will see the first firms fighting for survival. And the true test will be: will the firms close to the governing elites be bailed out?,” said the current EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik in a stark warning of the challenges ahead.

Lord Stern, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government and Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment stressed some positives that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about, such as people being less averse to change and a unified willingness to build back better.

Sergei Guriev, now Professor of Economics at Science Po in Paris, highlighted the importance of digitalisation for inclusive recovery, especially when some of the EBRD regions enjoy only partial internet coverage.

The discussion was joined by EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and chaired by EBRD Communications Managing Director Jonathan Charles.

Episode 26: How to measure impact of multilateral lending

The Multilateral development banks were set up after the Second World War to be the original impact investors, fighting poverty, inequality or more currently climate change.

“To demonstrate our impact is crucial at a time where multilateralism is often challenged, when there is a tendency to think that, we are more effective when we work at a country level than at the global level. And I think that the ability to show that and acting in this mutual framework is helpful to deliver some impacts on values because we are building on a very good experience,” said EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso during the opening of the digital discussion.

Now more than ever, the MDBs have a very important role to play. The Covid-19 recovery will not be easy. The climate emergency is here. Furthermore, the national governments are dealing with growing mountains of debt.

How can we ensure that multilateral lending is effective to help the world emerge from this crisis? What is “iwashing” and the difficulty of attribution were all discussed by:

Dean Karlan is the Frederic Esser Nemmers Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance at Northwestern University and President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action

Pavan Sukhdev is an environmental economist, banker, former Special Adviser and Head of UNEP's Green Economy Initiative, currently CEO of GIST Advisory, and President of WWF International;

Beata Javorcik- EBRD’s Chief Economist and Professor of Economics at Oxford University.

The discussion was chaired by EBRD Communications Managing Director Jonathan Charles.


Episode 25: Combatting inequality during and after Covid-19

Inequality is emerging as the “biggest policy challenge” during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, with the World Bank estimating that extreme global poverty is to rise for the first time in over 20 years.

“The coronavirus pandemic is possibly the first so-called ‘global event’”, said Professor Branko Milanovic in the latest EBRD Economics Talk.

Sir Angus Deaton, Nobel Prize laureate, also took part in the discussion on the nature of inequality and how it will be aggravated by the pandemic.

EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik sounded the alarm about coronavirus’s impact on emerging markets across the EBRD regions.

What’s next? How can our societies be made more equal? What are the roles of the state and the private sector in combatting inequality?
Professor Angus Deaton is a Nobel Prize laureate in Economics and Senior Scholar at the School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.  His latest book “Deaths of Despair” is co-written with Anne Case and is a ground-breaking account of how the flaws in capitalism are fatal for America’s working class.
Professor Branko Milanovic is a Presidential Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a senior fellow at the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality.
Beata Javorcik is the EBRD Chief Economist and Professor of Economics at the University of Oxford.

The discussion was joined by EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and chaired by EBRD Communications Managing Director Jonathan Charles.


Episode 24: 2020-21 Transition Report: The State Strikes Back: what is the role of the state post Covid-19?

In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the key role of the state amidst managing public health and economic disaster. However, if the role of state is growing, is it actually a good thing? These are just a few of the questions discussed in this special live launch of 2020-21 Transition Report: The State Strike Back.

EBRD's Anthony Williams was join by a great line up of guests:

Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL) where she is Founding Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP).

Dani Rodrik is the Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

A special video message from Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, University Professor at Columbia University.

EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik and the new EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso.


Episode 23: The growing mountain of debt: how Covid-19 is creating a big pile of debt and what to do with it

It’s been almost a year since reports of a new strain of coronavirus first emerged. Even back then the IMF was sounding the alarm about the high and rising levels of debt in developing economies.

Today, after lockdowns and severe economic contractions, debt is growing almost as fast as the coronavirus pandemic is spreading.

“It’s not the moment to be timid on debt crisis resolution,’ says the World Bank’s Chief Economist, Carmen Reinhart.

“Proposals need to be bold in terms of delivering debt reduction for the debtors. Because, if not, … risks of the lost decade are very big.”

What’s next? How can we manage the debt crisis which appears to be fast approaching?

Listen to Carmen Reinhart, Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times and Beata Javorcik, EBRD Chief Economist discussing the challenges ahead. The discussion was moderated by the EBRD’s Head of External Communications, Anthony Williams.


Episode 22: Trade finance during the coronavirus pandemic

What lessons have we learned and how can we reenergise world trade in order to stimulate the wider economic recovery? What role does trade finance play in that?

In this coronavirus special, EBRD Managing Director of Communications, Jonathan Charles and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik were joined by:

Marc Auboin is the Counsellor in the WTO’s Economic Research and Statistics Division and is responsible for the institution’s trade and finance agenda, including trade finance, and for the WTO’S relations with the IMF and the World Bank.

Shannon Manders is the Editorial Director at Global Trade Review, an award-winning international trade and trade finance publication, which she has been leading since 2012.

The opening remarks were delivered by EBRD Acting President Jürgen Rigterink.

Episode 21: Fiscal policy and the post Covid-19 social contract

The full cost of the coronavirus pandemic is still unknown. But state spending has skyrocketed as governments try to protect whole sectors and industries which were put into induced comas this spring.

How will we pay our debts incurred during this crisis? What will be the price of recovery?

In this coronavirus special, EBRD Managing Director of Communications, Jonathan Charles and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik were joined by:

Willem H. Buiter, the former Citibank Chief Economist and Member of the Monetary Policy committee of the Bank of England (and former EBRD Chief Economist as well). He was awarded the CBE in 2000;

Martin Wolf, Chief economics commentator at the Financial Times;

Episode 20: Is technology in the era of Covid-19 a threat to democracy?

The coronavirus pandemic has locked populations inside their houses and put millions under the spotlight of a new state-controlled panopticon, watching us and our movements in the name of public safety.

Our Pocket Dilemma podcast presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by:

  • Peter Pomerantsev-  Senior Fellow, LSE. Author: This is Not Propaganda, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
  • Samuel Woolley- Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Founding Director, Digital Intelligence Lab and the author of “The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth”

Episode 19: Will capitalism survive the coronavirus pandemic?

In only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has seriously shifted the balance of power between the state and the private sector. How is this impacting our politics and economies? 

This Pocket Dilemmas podcast special on capitalism in the post-Covid-19 era was organised by the EBRD and the Athens Democracy Forum (in association with The New York Times).

Joseph Stiglitz, Economist and Professor, Columbia University, Beata Javorcik, EBRD Chief Economist, and Roger Cohen, the Athens Democracy Forum Host and Advisory Board member and New York Times Op-Ed columnist, discussed how and whether capitalism will survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Episode 18: The future of capitalism post-coronavirus

Will the coronavirus pandemic change capitalism forever? Could such changes lead to economies and societies which are more cohesive, inclusive and fairer than those of the recent past?

In this coronavirus special, EBRD Managing Director of Communications, Jonathan Charles and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik were joined by:

Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His latest book is “The Future of Capitalism: Facing The New Anxieties” (2018). 

Colin Mayer CBE, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. His latest book on the subject is “Prosperity: Better Business Makes the Greater Good”.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti also made a special appearance at the event ahead of the discussion.


Episode 17: Coronavirus and the future of trust and populism

The recent 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed a dramatic turnaround in levels of popular trust in governments, from their lowest to highest ever recorded levels. Indeed, government is now the institution most people trust, for the first time in the survey’s 20-year history.

How brittle is this new found faith in those who govern us? Will it outlive the peak of the global coronavirus pandemic or will it decline as our societies return to relative normality? Could populism and distrust of ‘elites’ return with a vengeance later on?

Our Pocket Dilemma presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by:

Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at UC Berkeley, California, US, author of The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era;

Sergei Guriev, our former Chief Economist, who teaches a course on populism at Sciences Po, Paris, France; He is a co-author of the recent survey “Political Economy of Populism” and the leader of the Research and Policy Network on Populism at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and a moderator of VoxEU’s debate page on populism;

Episode 16: The Coronavirus pandemic and the future: a conversation with Ivan Krastev

The coronavirus pandemic has already turned global politics and economics upside down. Are there lessons to be learnt from previous crises? What will happen to the nation state and how will Covid-19 impact the European project? What happens when millions of people are forced to stay at home and have time to imagine a world run differently than in the past?

In this Coronavirus special live event join us for a preview of Ivan Krastev’s new book on the coronavirus pandemic and its implications for Europe. He was also joined by EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, and Martin Sandbu, the Financial Times columnist and author of the FT’s “Free Lunch”.  

Episode 15: What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for the gender inequality?

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our attitude to far more than just public health. The ways we work, socialise and travel may not be the same again for some time.

But does the impact of Covid-19 affect men and women differently? Coronavirus seems to have a higher fatality rate in men. At the same time, women may suffer more from the economic fallout from the crisis, be vulnerable to domestic abuse and often have to provide the increased amount of childcare which comes with lockdowns.

Our presenters Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law were joined on Zoom by Linda Midgley, PwC specialist in Sustainable Strategy and SDGs, Dawn Duhaney, Partnership Manager at Wellcome Trust UK and Sonya Barlow, co-founder of Like Minded Females, to discuss whether the pandemic exacerbates existing gender inequality.


Episode 14: What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for impact investing?

For all the loss of human life and damage to the economy inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, could the disease herald opportunities as well as threats? Could now be the time for socially responsible and impact investing to transform the global economy for the post-Covid-19 era?

Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by the EBRD’s Alexia Latortue and Stuart Trow to discuss whether we can make investing for good the new norm.

Episode 13: How will the coronavirus pandemic affect the global economy

In this Coronavirus special live event, jointly produced with the Institute for Global Affairs at the LSE, our Pocket Dilemmas host, Jonathan Charles is joined by EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, and three other leading economists.

* Lord Stern, Professor of Economics and Government at the LSE
* Erik Berglöf, the Director of the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE and Professor of Economics
*Sergei Guriev, Professor of Economics at Sciences Po

All three are also former EBRD Chief Economists

Episode 12: Can open borders survive the coronavirus pandemic?

More and more countries have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by closing themselves off from the rest of the world and shutting their borders, either partially or altogether. Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by our Principal Economist, Cevat Aksoy Giray, and the Associate Director of the Centre for Global Development, Helen Dempster, to discuss the future of open borders and freedom of movement across them. 

Episode 11: To reform or not to reform: the populism dilemma

We say goodbye to our former Chief Economist Sergei Guriev and look back at his 3 years at the EBRD. This special episode, recorded in August, focuses on the main themes of his time with us: reforms, democracy and economic growth. Join Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law in conversation with Sergei Guriev, now a Professor of Economics at Sciences Po in Paris, to find out what it’s really like to be the Chief Economist of a major multilateral development bank

Episode 10: What is the future for our cities?

Could algorithms help us adopt the right policies to control and manage the growth of our urban spaces? Join Jonathan Charles in conversation with Jacques Bughin, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute, and our own Tara Shirvani to discuss what key factors make cities fit for living, working and growing. Ivan Pazos, a Spanish architect and the lead author of an award-winning study predicting cities’ expansion, also joined us to explain how disruptive technologies can help make them grow in a sustainable way.

Episode 9: What happened to the hopes and dreams of 1989?

Where are the peoples of Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union three decades on?  we ask in this very special episode of our Pocket Dilemmas podcast. How far have their dreams of freedoms and prosperity been realised? And what is the future for market economics, democracy and political pluralism in these EBRD regions? Our special guests, BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, author of a new documentary on the 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, help us shed light on these questions and the influence exerted on them by the rise of populism.

Episode 8: How to make Chernobyl safe for the future

What are the lessons to be learnt from Chernobyl? How does one decommission a power plant which has been the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident and manage its legacy? The EBRD has been working on making the Chernobyl nuclear power plant safe for over 25 years, as explained in the latest episode of the Pocket Dilemmas podcast. Taking part are: Simon Evans of the EBRD’s Nuclear Safety team and Irina Velichko, a lead engineer at the site who joins us live from the site  

Episode 7: What is the future of poverty?

Earlier this year Bill Gates tweeted an infographic showing ‘how much life has improved over the last two centuries,’ particularly as measured by an apparent decline in extreme poverty. In this episode of Pocket Dilemmas our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined by our Chief Economist, Sergei Guriev and the Chief Economist of the UK Department for International Development, Rachel Glennerster to discuss the past, present and future of poverty.


Episode 6: Mind the LGBTQI pay gap!

How does sexual orientation affect the pay gap? While we often hear of the gender pay gap, we set about exploring how sexual preferences impact salaries and rights in the workplace and elsewhere. On this episode of Pocket Dilemmas we speak to Kitt Carpenter, Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University, and Cevat Aksoy, one of our economists, on the LGBTQI pay gap and were surprised by some of the findings from the research.

Episode 5: Megatrends: Is the future already here?

We recorded this episode of Pocket Dilemmas in front of a live audience in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo, host of the EBRD's 2019 Annual Meeting and Business Forum. Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, led a discussion of the most pressing challenges of our time - climate change, technology, urbanisation, resource scarcity and global power shifts- with Alexia Latortue, EBRD Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, Sergei Guriev, EBRD Chief Economist, Neil Buckley, Financial Times, Chief Leader writer, Tim Judah, Economist Correspondent for the Western Balkans, and Fellow at IWM - Institute for Human Sciences, and Hemant Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director of India’s SREI Group. 

Episode 4:Taking the cryptic out of cryptocurrencies

What is the future of money? Are cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin a modern-day miracle or a mirage? We invited our very own Stuart Trow and Zeynep Gurguc from Imperial College London to help us resolve this week’s dilemma on our podcast Pocket Dilemmas. We also talked to Jelena Madir, Chief Counsel and our main blockchain expert, and Urmas Peiker, the founder of Funderbeam, the world's first primary and secondary marketplace for earlystage investments, secured by the blockchain.

Episode 3: Age against the machine and the future of work

What is the future of work? How will technology, automation and AI change our jobs and will we and our children actually have jobs the way we do now? Will, in fact, the future be a battle between us and the machines? We invited Jason Furman from Harvard Kennedy School and our Chief Economist Sergei Guriev as our guests to help us resolve this dilemma.

Episode 2: Should algorithms rule the world? 

Should algorithms rule the world? Maybe they do so already and we just never noticed. Will they in fact do a better job than mere humans? What are the ethical implications of the algorithm use for the policy makers? We invited Jonnie Penn, Google Technology Policy fellow, and Dawn Duhaney, Partnerships Manager at UK Wellcome Trust to be our guests and help us resolve this dilemma.

Episode 1:The Brexit dilemma and its impact on the EBRD regions

The first episode, dedicated to the origins of Brexit and its impact on the EBRD regions (over 30 economies inside and outside the EU), was recorded in front of a live audience at our headquarters at the heart of the City of London on 3rd April and you can now listen to it here. Are there winners and losers? What do people outside the EU think about Brexit? We have all the answers here.

Listen to the Pocket Economics Podcast

  Will capitalism survive the coronavirus pandemic?


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