Confronting uncertainty

How can I become more confident when faced with conditions of uncertainty?  How can I contribute to an organisation that utilises effective heuristics?

This 1-2 day course provides a simple framework for how people make decisions. It shows how heuristics have the potential to enable effective judgments, but that they can also lead us to mistakes. It also provides a tool kit – the scenario method – to confront complex and uncertain situations. We will also understand what makes us us, and how this relates to personal and professional activities.

Case (must be read in advance)

Pre-class reading:

And any 1 of the following articles:

Course overview:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Behavioural economics + [worksheet]

Part 3: Scenario Workshop + + [worksheet]

Lecture notes

Additional readings:

The course incorporates content from the following important books. Prior knowledge of these insights are valuable but not mandatory:

  • Kay, J., & King, M., 2020, Radical Uncertainty, The Bridge Street Press (Chapter 1 serves as a useful reading on its own)
  • Hanson, R., and Simler, K., 2018, The Elephant in the Brain, Oxford University Press
  • Peters, S., 2012, The Chimp Paradox, Vermilion
  • Kahneman, D., 2011, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Penguin

Recommended audio:

The Austrian School of Economics


I wanted to become an academic economist after discovering the Austrian school as an undergraduate. This prompted an interest in economic methodology and I’ve written articles that explain (and defend) methodological individualism; and argued that recent developments in the Austrian school have extended the use of thought experiments to create an entire family of comparative and counterfactual analysis research strategies. I believe that there is currently a second revival in Austrian economics, and wrote a brief survey of contemporary developments in the Austrian school of economics, signalling that: (i) the amount of Austrian research and the number of Austrian researchers is growing exponentially; (ii) good Austrian economists are not being marginalised by the economics profession; and (iii) there have been significant advances in our understanding of economics made recently.

If you are interested in learning more about Austrian economics, I recommend:

Economics for Managers – MIM

Course outline: Economics for Managers (MIM) 2019/20

Course textbook:

Problem set: download here.

1. Consumer behaviour and basic review

1a. Max U +
Evans, A.J., Maximilian Untergrundbahn, January 2018
Instructions: Complete the assignment questions

1b. Course Introduction & Administration

2. Cost functions and price discovery

2a. Cost curves* +
Evans, A.J., La Marmotte, January 2012
Instructions: Complete Exhibit 1 and provide suggestions for the two key decisions

2b. Comparative Statics +

3. Asymmetric information

3a. Adverse selection +
Akerlof, G.A., (1970) “The Market for ‘Lemons’: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism”. Quarterly Journal of Economics 84(3):488–500 (£)

3b. Signalling* +
Spence, M., (1973) “Job Market Signaling“. Quarterly Journal of Economics 87(3):355–374 (£)

4. Strategic behaviour

4a. Introduction to Game Theory* +

4b. Oligopolistic competition +


6. National income accounting

6a. Economic growth* +
Solow, R., (1956) “A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth” The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 70(1):65-94 (£)

6b. Capital Theory* +

7. Monetary policy

7. Monetary policy* +

8. Fiscal policy

8. Fiscal policy* +

9. International economics

9a. Foreign exchange +

Evans, A.J., “Josko Joras (A)”, December 2012

Instructions: Complete questions 1, 2 and 3

9b. Dynamic AD-AS recap +



Sessions marked with an asterix (*) have a lecture handout available in advance.

Readings marked with a (£) sign means that you may need library access.

A + sign provides a link to a page of additional resources.

Microeconomics – MBA

Course textbook:

1. Principles of demand and supply

1a. Value creation*

1b. Cost curves*

Evans, A.J., “La Marmotte”, January 2012

Instructions: Complete Exhibit 1 and provide suggestions for the two key decisions

2. Markets and prices

2a. Auctions

Hild, M., Dwidevy, A., and Raj, A., (2004) “The Biggest Auction Ever: 3G Licensing in Western Europe”, Darden Business Publishing (£)

Discussion question: What are the alternatives to auctions?

2b. Equilibrium assignment

3. Industry and supply decisions

3a. Economies of scale

Rivkin, J.W., “Dogfight over Europe: Ryanair (A)” Harvard Business School case no. 9-700-115, November 21st 2007 (£)

Discussion question: What are some sources of economies of scale? How do they apply to British Airways in 1986?

3b. CC Simulation

CC Simulation, February 2014

Discussion question: Is the market for airport services in the UK competitive?

4. Price discrimination

4a. Read through the following Twitter thread:

Choose one of the tweets and use it as the basis to apply some microeconomic theory. Make assumptions and perform calculations where necessary.

4b. Price discrimination  Debrief*

5. Corporate Applications

5a. Prediction markets

Coles, Peter, Lakhani, Karim and McAfee, Andrew, “Prediction Markets at Google” Harvard Business School Case No. 9-607-088, August 20, 2007

5b. Corporate entrepreneurship

Weston, Hilary A., “Automation Consulting Services”, Harvard Business School Case No. 9-190-053, November 2000


Sessions marked with an asterix (*) have a lecture handout available in advance, which can be downloaded.

Cases marked with a pound sign (£) are either available via Blackboard or through the library.

Macroeconomics – International MBA

This course provides a thorough and contextual perspective on various forms of macroeconomic policymaking. In addition to looking at how monetary and fiscal policy can be used to manage the domestic economy, we will take an international approach to various forms of economic crisis. By the end of this course students will be able to critically engage with some of the key indicators that may help to predict a currency crisis, and relate this to famous historic cases. We will look at the role played by international institutions during sovereign debt crises, and gain experience at identifying, summarising, and communicating relevant data.

Course textbook:

Lecture handouts:

Pre class activities
Before the course begins you should watch this video pass this quiz.
Day 1: Macro policy decisions
1. Monetary policy (+)

    • “The Euro in Crisis: Decision Time at the European Central Bank” Harvard Business School case no. 9-711-049
    • The ECB During the Crisis, July 2021
    • Textbook reference: Chapter 8

2. Fiscal policy (+)

After class you should watch this video and pass this quiz.

Day 2: Countries in crisis
3. International economics (+)

4. Currency crises (+)

    • “Currency Crises” Harvard Business School case no. 9-799-088 (£)
    • Discussion question: Which countries are on the verge of a currency crisis?

5. Debt crises (+)

    • Blustein, Paul “And the Money Kept Rolling In” Public Affairs, 2005 (pp.39-60) (£)
    • Discussion question: As of July 1998 should the IMF suspend their program in Argentina, or continue their support?

6. Macro Policy Workshop (+)

Day 3: Applications
Group presentations

Feedback and summary


Cases marked with a pound sign (£) are either available via Blackboard or through the library.



How can I use data to understand my organisations situation and performance?

From 2006 – 2010 I taught a Quantitative Methods course at ESCP Europe. I enjoyed it immensely and got great feedback from students. Since then I’ve continued to gather material but realise that no-one gets to see it. So I’ve created an online course.

The course should be of use to anyone with an interest in an MBA level education, and I have attempted to supplement my own presentations with links to some exceptional online resources.

The rest of this page contains some further resources and links.




I hope you find the online course useful, but I am also a fan of the old fashioned way. The course ties in to the following textbook:


It is a very good one: well written, full of examples, and plenty of opportunities to test yourself. You could do a lot worse than simply order it now and then work your way through it.

I’m also intrigued by “Calculus Made Easy“, by Silvanus Thompson. It’s antiquated in format but highly directed toward simplifying concepts and engaging with the reader.

Pop analytics

I believe that a good way to prepare for a subject is to read a book that is captivating. Something that stimulates your interest and encourages you to dig deeper. There are lots of bestsellers that have attempted to communicate mathematical ideas to the educated layperson. My favourite 6 are these:

Other online courses

The University of Bristol Medical school has a lovely Research Methods & Statistics online course. Introductory Statistics, an online course by Andy Field. It is full of some excellent tutorials that are presented with a unique style. The New York Times have made their course on data skills publicly available, there’s a link here. A thorough course designed for incoming PhD students is the Princeton Sociology Summer Methods Camp 2019.

I also love this course: Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.

There are also lots of proper online courses to choose from. The only one I have direct experience of is this:

If you really need to develop your QM skills then I would recommend you follow the HBS one instead of mine. However I found it pretty dull and failed to complete it. I’m hoping that by providing a mixture of content you will find mine more enjoyable.

Other resources

Instrumental variables: this tweet and these lecture notes

False positives and coronavirus.

Examples of bitemporal charts (especially good on economic forecasts)

Video on Bayes’ theorem.

Software and misc.

Daniel Kunin has a wonderful website called “Seeing Theory“, which allows users to visualise basic concepts in statistics. I’ve integrated links into the course below.



APPENDIX: Contoversies

I believe that the best way to internalise the key concepts in this course is to conduct a replication exercise. These have become increasingly common as ways to apply the concepts covered, and test a students knowledge retention. To be honest though I am yet to find any really good examples of statistical tests that companies have utilised, and for which the underlying data set is available.

In their textbook, “Modern Principles: Macroeconomics”, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok present a good exercise to replicate a Solow Model. My (flawed) attempt to combine two of their problem sets is here:

Whilst I continue to look for potential replications, one option is to focus on some controversial statistical debates. These are also good ways to go deeper into the theory, and fully appreciate the link between theory and practice.

After party

You should now be a savvy consumer of statistical analysis and passionate about good data management. I recommend that you treat yourself to the following tome:


Thank you for visiting.

Last updated: June 2019

EMBA Managerial Economics & Business Ethics – Cotrugli

Background readings:

The textbook is Economics: A Complete Guide for Business by Anthony J. Evans (2020). I wrote it specifically for this course and all students are advised to read it in conjunction with the lectures. 
There are plenty of other good textbooks on the market. I also recommend Managerial Economics by Luke M. Froeb, Brian T. McCann, Michael R. Ward and Mikhael Shor (Thomson Southwestern 3rd edition, 2013) and A Concise Guide to Macroeconomics by David Moss (Harvard Business School Press, 2007). 

Course handouts: download here.

Day 1

1. Value Creation* +

Textbook reading: Chapter 1

2. Understanding cost* +

Textbook reading: Chapter 2

3. Auctions +

Hild, M., Dwidevy, A., and Raj, A., “The Biggest Auction Ever: 3G Licensing in Western Europe”, Darden Business Publishing, 2004 (£)

Discussion question: What are the alternatives to auctions?

Extra activity: The Dutch flower auction

Textbook reading: Chapter 3

4. Adverse Selection +

5. Prediction markets +

Coles, Peter, Lakhani, Karim and McAfee, Andrew, “Prediction Markets at Google” Harvard Business School 9-607-088, August 20th 2007 (£)

Prediction Markets, February 2016

Textbook reading: Chapter 4

Day 2

6 & 7. Monetary policy* +

Textbook reading: Chapter 7 and Chapter 8

8. Fiscal policy* +

Textbook reading: Chapter 9

9. Macro Policy Workshop +

Extra activity: Choose your own financial crisis

10. Behavioural economics* +

“Sun: A CEO’s Last Stand”, Business Week, July 26th 2004 (£)

Textbook reading: Chapter 10

Day 3 & Day 4 See Business Ethics.

Note: Sessions marked with an asterix (*) have a lecture handout available in advance, which can be downloaded. Cases marked with a pound sign (£) are available through the Programme Office. Follow the + links for additional resources.


For a complete list of posts within the Course Map Category, see my Course Map.

These are longer essays published on Medium:

(Medium hasn’t achieved what many lapsed bloggers had hoped. In future, I intend to publish articles on this site first, and then import into Medium).

These are my Guides:

Here are two offshoots from my chapter on “A Social Entrepreneur’s Toolbox” which featured in the CADI publication: An applied guide to social entrepreneurship.

Here is a list of my non academic work:

My theatre reviews are available here. Here’s my review of Saul Bellow’s Herzog.

I have 5 articles in the Research Category:

I have 4 articles in the Menu category:

Here is a complete list of the other articles published on this website:

My key reading lists:

Several of the posts above also appeared in my Newsletter

Finally, some links to my favourite Twitter threads:

and my favourite Twitter jokes:

For a complete list of posts on this website, see here.

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A Macroeconomic Tour of London

This tour can be conducted on foot, but links to virtual resources are also provided. 

55 Broadway, SW1H 0BD

This is a grade 1 art deco building near St James’ park, originally home to the London Underground. It’s not particularly tall (it’s only slightly bigger than Big Ben, and half the height of St Paul’s Cathedral) but given that it has a steel frame it is not only a skyscraper, but London’s first! (It doesn’t look like a skyscraper, but the stone encasing provides no structural integrity. Sadly, it closed in January 2020.

If you visit, try to spot the naked sculptures, Night and Day, on the outside of the building. (For controversy on this, see here).

HM Treasury, SW1A 2HQ

The Treasury is responsible for public finance and economic policy of the UK. It is located within the Government Offices in Great George Street, near Parliament Square. It has a large internal courtyard and the basement is home to the Churchill War Rooms (part of the Imperial War Museum).

Fun fact: It served as the headquarters for MI6 in the Bond movie, Spectre, and was the starting point of the street race in Fast And Furious 6.

11 Downing Street, SW1A 2AB

Next door to the most famous address in the UK (10 Downing Street is the government headquarters and traditionally the private residence of the Prime Minister), 11 Downing Street is the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is the equivalent of a “Minister of Finance”, which is the person responsible for fiscal policy.

Fun fact: Because the private living space is larger at no. 11 than no. 10, when Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997 he decided to live there instead. Every subsequent prime minster has done the same thing.

Take a virtual tour here:

Bank of England, EC2R 8AH

Established in 1694 this is one of the oldest banks in the world and a model for central banks. It was nationalised in 1946. It has a monopoly on producing banknotes in England and Wales, and is responsible for the conduct of UK monetary policy.

There is an excellent museum in the basement, and several online exhibits, including this one on banknotes. The basement also houses the Bank of England vaults, which contain over 400,000 bars of gold.