YSI Questions

What are the questions that inspire our community?

As the next generation of economic thinkers, we are faced with new and different questions. That includes the question of how to respond to the ongoing crises. We need to reimagine what it means to ‘think like an economist’. Instead of starting from a technique that can be applied to every problem, we need to start from the questions themselves, and only once we have identified those can we start to explore new ways of answering them.

To achieve this, the YSI community has embarked on a challenge to identify the research questions that inspire us. Identifying these questions will help us connect projects, people, and working groups, allowing our efforts to converge. At the same time, they will ensure that we stay true to the YSI spirit as our community grows.

Read on to get an overview of the the significant progress the YSI community has already made on our questions project, and to see the current list of the top 100 questions!

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The Plenary 2020 Questions

During the YSI Virtual Plenary, held online during November 2020, the YSI community worked on asking, refining and evaluating questions, using the YSI Question Graph - a unique digital system designed and developed specifically to allow the YSI community to collaboratively engage with questions.

Input from keynotes and members alike was added into the YSI Question Graph system, which formed the basis for the Plenary Set of 100 Questions. Explore the top 100 Plenary Questions by browsing the list below!

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This is a list of the top questions from the YSI Plenary 2020.

ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 12, 2020

What place does the current economic system give to uselessness, that is, to beauty? - His Holiness Pope Francis

Connected Research Interests
Ethics Literature and Economics Purpose of Economics Value
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How do we make economics, and economies, truly inclusive? - Julie Nelson

Connected Research Interests
Social inclusion Economics as a field Assumptions of Economic Theory Purpose of Economics
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

Can economic systems (of production, consumption, and distribution) be fundamentally just? How can we design and maintain a sustainable and non-violent transition to a fairer economic system?

Connected Research Interests
Alternative Economic Models
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can we frame a model of development that is more people oriented rather than goods oriented?

Connected Research Interests
Economic Development
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

How do we steer economies towards value creation and away from value extraction? - Mariana Mazzucato

Connected Research Interests
Innovation Corporate Social Responsibility Corporate Finance Shareholder Value Industrial Organisation
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How can economics address issues of intersecting inequalities? (Class, gender, race, caste, ethnicity, local/migrant) - Jayati Ghosh

Connected Research Interests
Inequality Gender and Economics Race Assumptions of Economic Theory
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Recognizing the biases implicit mainstream economic thought, how can we build a better discipline of economics? - Julie Nelson

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Economics as a field Purpose of Economics Ontology of Economics
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

What will be the economic role of the state over the next century? - Mervyn King

Connected Research Interests
Public Finance States and Markets Welfare State Public Policy Economics in public policy debate
SUSTAINABILITY
Added at Nov 13, 2020

Could economists and young scholars participate in the creation of a new economic model, and implement it as a cryptocurrency? Could a decentralized value system be resilient enough to withstand political and financial efforts to maintain status quo?

Connected Research Interests
Blockchain Cryptocurrencies Sustainability Alternative Development Paths Alternative Economic Models Global Economic Transformation Green Finance Green New Deal Transition to Green Economy
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can economics incorporate insights from other disciplines?

Connected Research Interests
Applied Econometrics Assumptions of Economic Theory Behavioral and Experimental Economics Capability approach Computational economics Complexity Economics Econometrics Economic Development Economic History Economic Modeling Evolutionary economics Gender and Economics History of Economic Thought Industrial Organisation Institutional Economics Innovation Interdisciplinarity Law Nudging Ontology of Economics Social Justice Sociology
SUSTAINABILITY
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Are economic growth and sustainability mutually exclusive?

Connected Research Interests
Sustainability Economic Growth
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

What is value?

Connected Research Interests
Value Money Productivity Profit
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can we ensure that the political dimensions of economics are not obscured?

Connected Research Interests
GLOBALIZATION
Added at Nov 6, 2020

To what extent is the discipline of economics a part of the problem itself?

Connected Research Interests
Philosophy of Economics Purpose of Economics Science in society
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How do we cope with unquantifiable uncertainty? - Mervyn King

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Alternative Economic Models Uncertainty
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 12, 2020

As a practical matter, how can Democratic open societies like the US and the EU cooperate with repressive regimes on global problems like climate change and infectious diseases that require global cooperation? - George Soros

Connected Research Interests
Politics International Politics Climate change Economic Development Globalization Global Economic Transformation Structural adjustment policies
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

If the origin of the word economy refers to the administration of household goods, one might ask: who today administers the goods of our Common Home? What bond unites those who administer those assets and those whose assets are administered? - His Holiness Pope Francis

Connected Research Interests
Ethics Social Justice History of Economic Thought Political Economy Economics as a field Social Stratification
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 10, 2020

How will CBDC (central bank digital currencies) affect monetary economics (or the future of money or nature of money)?

Connected Research Interests
Central Banking Shadow Banking Accounting
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What is the most important ethical / moral issue for economics to address?

Connected Research Interests
Accounting Balance Sheet Recession Banking
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

What kind of welfare state do we need for the post-pandemic world?

Connected Research Interests
Welfare Economics Social welfare
DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE
Added at Nov 6, 2020

Can democracy survive global capitalism? - Martin Wolf

Connected Research Interests
Capitalism Globalization Post-Factual Democracy
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 1, 2020

Is industrialisation a necessary step for economic development?

Connected Research Interests
Economic Development Industrialization Emerging Markets Development Finance Alternative Development Paths
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 12, 2020

How can economists pretend to know what the future looks like when it depends on decisions that have not yet been taken? - George Soros

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Causality
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

Can economists assure us that the future will be orderly and controllable when humans are fallible and people try to understand the world and change it to their advantage at the same time? - George Soros

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Economist as an expert Individuals and Society Causality Economics as a field
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

Taking into account that the administration of household goods requires its rules, its laws: what could be those laws that put the economy at the service of fragility? What should the relationship between economics and politics be like to ensure that everyone has what is necessary to live a fulfilling life? - His Holiness Pope Francis

Connected Research Interests
Ethics Social inclusion Law and Economics Politics Political Economy Economics as a field
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What could be the core idea of economics in the 21 century, that is, beyond the allocation of scarce resources?

Connected Research Interests
Economics as a field
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

Why are the BigTechs the winners of the Pandemic?

Connected Research Interests
Digital economy
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

What is the connection between the deepening inequality of recent decades and the growing prominence of the meritocratic belief that the winners deserve their success? - Michael Sandel

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Inequality Income distribution
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 6, 2020

What are the social implications of data mining?

Connected Research Interests
Big Data Survaillance Attention economy
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 5, 2020

How can we make sure that technological and scientific development has equitable social impact?

Connected Research Interests
Technology Justice Social Stratification Social welfare
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

How can we account for the influence of power in economic analysis?

Connected Research Interests
Economics in public policy debate Power Classical Political Economy
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 1, 2020

Do free markets always lead to concentration of wealth?

Connected Research Interests
Inequality States and Markets Competition Wealth Power
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

What are the alternatives to GDP for measuring economic performance?

Connected Research Interests
Economic Growth Accounting Alternatives to GDP
DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE
Added at Nov 12, 2020

How can we handle AI responsibly?

Connected Research Interests
Algorithmic trading Artificial Intelligence Technology Development Technology
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

If chances were truly equal and markets were perfectly competitive, would market outcomes reflect what people deserve? If not by markets, how can we determine the value of a person's contribution to the common good? - Michael Sandel

Connected Research Interests
Commons Critical Theory Culture and Norms Ideology Markets
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 12, 2020

How can we include socio-cultural diversity into economic models of development?

Connected Research Interests
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What is required to achieve the collective action needed to tackle the global challenge of climate change?

Connected Research Interests
Ecological Economics Climate Finance Climate change Global Economic Transformation
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 10, 2020

How might developing countries position themselves to reach for new technological frontiers, rather than to catch up to current ones?

Connected Research Interests
Innovation Alternative Development Paths Development Finance Political Economy of Development
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 10, 2020

How could industrial policy help developing countries in the 21st century?

Connected Research Interests
Digital economy Economic Development
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 9, 2020

Why did the Covid-19 pandemic exaccerbate inequality within countries?

Connected Research Interests
Alternative Development Paths Alternatives to GDP Austerity Center and Periphery Decolonization Economic Shocks Fake News Foreign Aid Global South Inequality
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can we overcome the polarising and concentrating tendencies of the digital economy to address or alleviate inequality?

Connected Research Interests
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

What capacity do developing countries have for implementing industrial and innovation policies?

Connected Research Interests
Innovation States and Markets Welfare State
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

If chances were truly equal and markets were perfectly competitive, would market outcomes reflect what people deserve? If not by markets, how can we determine the value of a person's contribution to the common good? - Michael Sandel

Connected Research Interests
Value Markets Assumptions of Economic Theory Commons
DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE
Added at Nov 6, 2020

To what extent the crisis of democracy is a consequence of capitalism's inequalities?

Connected Research Interests
Inequality Capitalism
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Efficiency serves as the main target dimension in economics. How to best broaden the normative lense in Econ analysis? - Jakob Kapeller

Connected Research Interests
Positive vs. normative economics Assumptions of Economic Theory Economics as a field Ontology of Economics
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

What is the role of economists in society?

Connected Research Interests
Economist as an expert Economics as a field Economics in public policy debate
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 13, 2020

How could financial systems be modified to help achieve the needs of more sustainable and inclusive economies? - Stephany Griffith-Jones

Connected Research Interests
Sustainability Financial Inclusion Financial Regulation
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

What is the connection between the deepening inequality of recent decades and the growing prominence of the meritocratic belief that the winners deserve their success? - Michael Sandel

Connected Research Interests
Inequality Individuals and Society Political Philosophy Philosophy of Economics
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What new roles could economists play?

Connected Research Interests
Economics as a field Economics in public policy debate
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What should and shouldn't be included when we speak of "the economy"?

Connected Research Interests
History of Economic Thought Assumptions of Economic Theory
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What's the future of work if machines can produce most goods and services; what follows for jobs and inequality? - Lord Adair Turner

Connected Research Interests
Future of Work Inequality Division of Labour
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 10, 2020

What is economics role in climate change mitigation?

Connected Research Interests
Climate Finance Climate change
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How do we understand the relationship between power and wealth, and might it be the key to alleviating inequality?

Connected Research Interests
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can firms innovate themselves to survive in the post pandemic era?

Connected Research Interests
Innovation Theory of The Firm Globalization
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can we explain the mismatch between strong digital innovations and sluggish growth?

Connected Research Interests
Economic Growth Innovation
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How should we define work?

Connected Research Interests
Labor markets Gender and Economics
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

What is public value? - Mariana Mazzucato

Connected Research Interests
Public Economics States and Markets Positive vs. normative economics
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

What are the ethical challenges that we need to rework on to succeed as economists? - Yanis Varoufakis

Connected Research Interests
Ethics
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How should economics address global power imbalances?

Connected Research Interests
Globalization International Institutions
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 5, 2020

How do the institutions of a country affect the path of economic development?

Connected Research Interests
Institutions Economic Development Alternative Development Paths
SUSTAINABILITY
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How can we finance the green transisition?

Connected Research Interests
Climate Finance Transition to Green Economy
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How can we effectively construct micro foundations that effectively reflect the heterogeneity of market participants? - Bill Janeway

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Microeconomics Markets Alternative Economic Models
GLOBALIZATION
Added at Nov 3, 2020

What are the implications of structural differences between developing and developed countries for economic theories? - Justin Yifu Lin

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Economic Development Inequality Global South Alternative Development Paths Political Economy of Development
GLOBALIZATION
Added at Nov 3, 2020

What is the appropriate role of state in the process of economic development and transition in a market economy ? - Justin Yifu Lin

Connected Research Interests
States and Markets Public Finance Economic Development Global South Welfare State
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Given power imbalances and elite pushback, can global economic relations enable equitable and sustainable development? - Jayati Ghosh

Connected Research Interests
Globalization Political Economy of Development Inequality Economic Development Power
DEMOCRACY & GOVERNANCE
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Why is there a relative scarcity of female economists? - Goncalo Fonseca

Connected Research Interests
Gender and Economics Gender roles
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Does trying to combine economics and ethics improve economics or merely worsen ethics? - Gonçalo Fonseca

Connected Research Interests
Ethics Philosophy of Economics
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

How has neoclassical economics influenced the way people think and behave?

Connected Research Interests
Culture and Norms Economics in public policy debate
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 16, 2020

What is the role of narratives in economic decisions and behaviour? - Behavior and Society Working Group

Connected Research Interests
Narrative Economics Behavioral and Experimental Economics Imperfect Knowledge Economics Complexity Economics Emergence of social phenomenae Psychology
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 15, 2020

Where do economic preferences come from? and what are they?

Connected Research Interests
Attention economy Behavioral and Experimental Economics Consumer Behavior Endogenous Preferences Neuroeconomics Nudging Psychology Rationality
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 13, 2020

Should public development banks have bigger roles; how could they serve well transition to low carbon and fair economy? - Stephany Griffith-Jones

Connected Research Interests
Banking Central Banking Ethics Climate change Climate Finance
SOCIETAL ORGANIZATION
Added at Nov 12, 2020

How should we reconceive economics considering its earlier conception of economics not as value neutral but engaged in moral and political philosophy?

Connected Research Interests
Economics as a field Interdisciplinarity
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 11, 2020

Keynes said increasingly only economists determine what future will be possible for youth as the next generation -indeed possibilities are exponentially locked in- so why do so few people teach economics as designing future instead of extracting money?

Connected Research Interests
Keynesian Economics Endogenous Money Monetary Economics Money
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 10, 2020

Market capitalism and representative democracy: can they be married? - Bill Janeway

Connected Research Interests
Capitalism
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 10, 2020

Have we solved the 'economic' problem which Keynes anticipated, that is, could we all in principle live a life of leisure?

Connected Research Interests
Alternative Development Paths Economic Development Political Economy of Development Technology Development
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 9, 2020

Is the conflict between capital and labour the main driver of wealth inequality?

Connected Research Interests
Income distribution Division of Labour
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How is the theory of the innovative firm linked to the global capital accumulation trends?

Connected Research Interests
Innovation Globalization
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 9, 2020

How can we propose economic assumptions that better reflect reality?

Connected Research Interests
Assumptions of Economic Theory Ideology
SUSTAINABILITY
Added at Nov 7, 2020

Must economics generalize? Beyond the data, can economics develop theories and/or methods specific to time and place? - Geoff Mann

Connected Research Interests
Culture and Norms Assumptions of Economic Theory Economics as a field History of Economic Thought
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

How do we bring public purpose to the centre of policy making? - Mariana Mazzucato

Connected Research Interests
Innovation Political Economy Policy Welfare Economics Social welfare Public Policy
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

How do we put innovation at the centre of the welfare state? - Mariana Mazzucato

Connected Research Interests
Welfare Economics Welfare State Innovation Policy Social welfare
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 7, 2020

How do we put inclusive growth at the centre of a new social compact - so that we don’t have the rely so much on redistribution? - Mariana Mazzucato

Connected Research Interests
Inequality Social welfare Political Economy Public Policy Economic Growth
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 6, 2020

How does the notion of the utility maximizing rational agent work as ideology justifying unregulated markets and their results?

Connected Research Interests
Rational Choice Theory Ideology Markets
INEQUALITIES
Added at Nov 6, 2020

Covid is making countries pile on new debts that increase inequality. How to get "quantitative easing for people"? - Thomas Ferguson

Connected Research Interests
Inequality Debt Private debt
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 6, 2020

Is human behavior rational or reasonable?

Connected Research Interests
GLOBALIZATION
Added at Nov 6, 2020

Which parts of the global economy will continue to globalize, which will deglobalize?

Connected Research Interests
Globalization Free Trade Agreements International Trade Trade Climate Finance
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 5, 2020

How should productivity be measured?

Connected Research Interests
Alternatives to GDP Productivity Accounting
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 5, 2020

Do economists need to have a shared conception of the ultimate ends of economics?

Connected Research Interests
Purpose of Economics Economics as a field Ethics Justice Positive vs. normative economics
GLOBALIZATION
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How do health (physical and mental) and other forms of well-being impact civic engagement, trust in institutions, and voting patterns? - Shannon Monnat

Connected Research Interests
Health Institutions Politics International Politics
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How could financial systems be modified to help achieve the needs of more sustainable and inclusive economies ? - Stephany Griffith-Jones

Connected Research Interests
Finance Sustainability Inequality Financial Inclusion
THE ROLE OF ECONOMISTS
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How to save the climate without causing further distributional asymmetries and restricting individual freedom? - Jakob Kapeller

Connected Research Interests
Sustainability Transition to Green Economy Distribution Inequality
FUTURE OF MONEY
Added at Nov 1, 2020

What is money?

Connected Research Interests
Money Currency Currency Hierarchy Liquidity FinTech
ECONOMIC VISIONS
Added at Nov 1, 2020

What property arrangements foster a sustainable approach to economic development better than private property?

Connected Research Interests
Law Economic Development Commons Institutions Power
SUSTAINABILITY
Added at Nov 5, 2020

How are climate change mitigation and adaptation measures perceived by different social groups?

Connected Research Interests
Social Stratification Sustainability Climate change Inequality
INNOVATION
Added at Nov 3, 2020

How do distributional issues affect macro models and policy and how are they usefully incorporated into micro models? - Bill Janeway

Connected Research Interests
Distribution Macroeconomics Microeconomics Assumptions of Economic Theory
DIGITAL ECONOMY
Added at Nov 3, 2020

Will the China US rivalry fundamentally change the way the world and the global system functions, and if so, with what consequences. - Michael Spence

Connected Research Interests
International Trade Globalization Capitalism Economic Geography
DIGITAL ECONOMY
Added at Nov 1, 2020

How can new technologies be employed towards social progress?

Connected Research Interests
Technology Social welfare Innovation Crowdfunding Future of Work Automation
DEVELOPMENT
Added at Nov 1, 2020

Why are some regions more resillient towards economic crisis than others?

Connected Research Interests
Economic Resillience Financial Crisis Policy Economic Geography Economic Shocks
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The 2020 Plenary and The YSI Question Cosmos

The YSI Question Cosmos - also known as the Questions Graph - is a unique and custom made system which saw the light of day for the first time at the YSI Virtual Plenary 2020. The Graph is divided into different constellations, each of which represent different areas of (new) economic interest.

In the screenshot below, you can see the Role of Economists constellation, and some of the most popular questions it contains. In this case, a featured question by Julie Nelson is highlighted:

How do we make economics, and economies, truly inclusive?

The entire Questions Cosmos is made up of all the Constellations, the questions they contain, and the connections between them, in the form of research interests.

Each yellow 'star' represents a question. Each blue dot represents a YSI research interest.

The location of each question is governed by gravitational forces defined by research interests, so questions with overlapping research interests will be closer together!

Get a quick introduction to the Questions Cosmos system by watching the short video above!

The YSI Questions Cosmos developed, over the course of the 2020 Plenary, into a bustling galaxy of questions. The YSI community interacted with questions - creating new questions, suggesting rephrasing to existing questions, and marking their favorites among either - within the Question Sessions. Each Question Session featured a keynote speaker, who collaborated with community members to create and refine questions; and as they did, the Cosmos grew. However, only the top 100 favorite questions, chosen by Plenary participants, made it to the final version of the Plenary Cosmos.

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The Questions of the Future

The YSI Virtual Plenary, and the 100 top questions it produced, represent great steps forward in our mutual challenge to identify the research questions that inspire us as a community.

The Plenary was not, however, the end of the questions process, but rather a crucial step on the way onward!

The YSI development team is now digesting the data and input gathered from the Plenary and its participants, while also undertaking a large effort to gather input and feedback from the community directly. This input will determine how we proceed with the continued development of the Questions and the Questions Graph, and how we implement the systems and knowledge developed during the Plenary into the YSI platform of tomorrow.

We will update this page once we have analyzed our data and have new developments to report - stay tuned!

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