Social, political, and ethical dimensions of digital transformation

Course introduction

This course investigates how digital transformation relates to current issues relating to democracy and governance in an increasingly connected yet polarised world.

There are widespread concerns that social and political divisions are being exacerbated by information technology, and that this is having a profound impact on the capabilities and quality of both global and local institutions. In a similar way to how the advent of the printing press prompted the rise of democracy and the nation state, perhaps digital transformation is contributing to a similar disruption in governance.

Such trends are particularly relevant in regimes where statehood was not an internal process, and was adopted either through colonial or international activity. Rising populism and authoritarianism provides the social and political backdrop to our analysis of the broad impact of technology, and we will consider whether pluralist approaches may help to combat some of the emerging threats to liberal democracy.

Mandatory pre-course readings

For a 40 point quiz to test your knowledge of the pre-readings see here.


Group workbooks [download here]

Course introduction [lecture handouts]

  1.  Addiction [lecture handouts]
  2. Democracy [lecture handouts]
  3. Ethics [lecture handouts]
  4. Governance [lecture handouts]
  5. Central banks and digital transformation [lecture handouts]
Optional background preparation

To understand some of the context for my construction of this course I recommend:

  • The Coming Storm, BBC Sounds (7 part podcast documentary on the rise of QAnon)
  • Four Hours at the Capitol, BBC (a documentary about the storming of the US Capitol building on January 6th 2021)
  • Things Fell Apart, BBC Sounds (a documentary that looks at the different origins of the culture wars, which are defined as “the battle for dominance over conflicting values”, or the things we shout about on social media)
  • Command and Control, PBS (a documentary looking at how close we came to a major nuclear accident)

I also prepared for this course with the following:

  • Death by Conspiracy, BBC Sounds (an 11 part podcast documentary on Gary Matthews, who died from covid in January 2021 having been drawn to social media claims that it was a hoax. I listened to this as a parallel to The Coming Storm but it strayed too far into covid, media ethics, and psychology for me to incorporate it more fully in this course, which attempts to avoid those areas. I didn’t learn much about conspiracy theories aside from episode 9 which provided a good attempt to understand why our common conception is often misplaced. Ultimately I just found this sad.)

Famous documentaries about Facebook include:

Here is the Brexit movie mentioned in class:

Recommended audio
Recommended activity
  • Group report [download here]
  • Individual One Pager
    • This should be based on an article that you think is relevant for this course and that I should add for next year
    • Here are instructions on How to Write a One Pager
  • Individual MCQ final exam
    • This relates to all lecture content and the readings from the content section

On design
Resources for the public sector

If you wish to work in the public sector I recommend the following resources:

Topics in Economics (MIM)

This course introduces students to several important and contemporary issues that relate to economics. Having already covered the key insights from Micro and Macroeconomics, this advanced course goes deeper into the frontiers of the discipline. Students will challenge their understanding of complex and controversial issues and develop their perspective on how to become managers of the future.

Topic Before During After
1. Macro Trends Lecture handouts
2. Macro Models Lecture handouts
3. Money and central banking
  • Menger, C., 1892, “On the Origins of Money” Economic Journal, 2:239-55
Lecture handouts
4. Central banking and digital transformation Lecture handouts
5. Prosperity Pre class quiz

Lecture handouts
6. Inequality Pre class survey

and watch the full movie Parasite (2019), Bong Joon Ho

Lecture handouts
7. Stagnation Watch “Steve Jobs – iPhone Introduction in 2007 Lecture handouts
8. Review Submit review questions


Problem Solving and Decision Making

How can I improve my team effectiveness when facing complex business problems?

A 2-3 day course that leads participants through the 7 key stages of finding a solution using practical examples and plenty of team work.

Problem Solving and Decision Making is an intensive managerial programme that has been shown to be an enjoyable and successful way to improve team performance and productivity. The course provides practical skills and a management mindset rather than simply transfer knowledge. Participants are taken through the full problem-solving and decision-making cycle: from breaking down the issue, to prioritising and writing the action plan. They also practice communicating their proposal, an important and often overlooked aspect of the decision-making process. The course focuses mostly on experiential, proactive and practical learning: participants engage in individual and team problem-solving and decision-making, and receive constructive feedback to build on personal strengths and address limitations.



For more on the Pyramid Principle:

For more content:

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:

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.