As the year draws to a close, we wanted to take a quick but nostalgic look back at the past twelve months on the blog. It’s been our best year to date in terms of hits, and in September we notched up our one millionth view. Here are our ten most popular posts of 2017, as measured by number of views, just in case you missed them first time round…
Our most read post of the entire year was our very first one, where Paul Schmelzing looked back at eight centuries of bond market reversals, and argued that the current bull market in bonds was one of the largest and longest ever recorded. He followed up with a companion post on global real interest rates since 1311, which reached the striking conclusion that benchmark real rates have been on a downward trend since the 1400s.
Also on a historical note, Norma Cohen et al’s post lifted the lid on the extraordinary story of Britain’s initial efforts to finance the first world war: revealing how the Bank covered up the failure of the first war bonds, and then secretly plugged the funding gap from its own funds.
Two popular posts looked at the evolution of Central Banks’ policy toolkits. James Barker et al explored the past, present and future of central bank balance sheets, pondering potential innovations such as helicopter money or a digital currency. And Simon Scorer investigated whether such a central bank digital currency should use distributed ledger technology.
But some of our bloggers raised concerns about adverse effects of particular technological developments. Dan Nixon pondered whether the rise of smartphones is creating a crisis of attention in the economy. And Mauricio Armellini and Tim Pike argued that economists should be more concerned about artificial intelligence and its potential to disrupt labour markets.
Several of our most widely read posts were about potential risks and how policymakers should deal with them. In a guest post, Professor Charles Goodhart proposed that regulators place more emphasis on re-aligning bankers’ incentives. Yuliya Baranova and co-authors looked at how climate change could impact financial markets; concluding that if carbon reserves were rendered unusable this could have large effects on asset prices and financial stability. And Phil Eckersley et al analysed the evolution of potential risks in the car finance industry.
We hope you enjoyed reading Bank Underground in 2017. Special thanks to all those who have commented on, tweeted or blogged about our posts this year.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and stay tuned in 2018!
John Lewis, Managing Editor
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Bank Underground is a blog for Bank of England staff to share views that challenge – or support – prevailing policy orthodoxies. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the Bank of England, or its policy committees.