Archive for the Behavioural Economics Category

Why you should read the small print on alarmist Covid-19 death projections

Why you should read the small print on alarmist Covid-19 death projections

Another day, another lurid, headline-grabbing number of deaths to expect from Covid-19. This time, it was a study from the Academy of Medical Sciences. A second wave, we were warned, could kill 120,000 this winter in hospitals alone. To be fair, this study was a projection rather

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Office clusters are as crucial to productivity as they ever were

Office clusters are as crucial to productivity as they ever were

The Prime Minister is now demanding that offices reopen to revive economic activity in the centres of towns and cities. But there is not much sign of a return to work. The preferences of the workforce are an important factor in the very slow pace of return.

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History shows us that slavery is an economic catastrophe as well as a moral one

History shows us that slavery is an economic catastrophe as well as a moral one

Slavery has certainly been in the headlines in the past couple of weeks. Given this sudden interest in this area of history, it is worth considering the economic lessons it can teach us, as well as the moral ones. Slavery was abolished in England itself in the

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What can we learn from the Black Death? Be prepared, trust entrepreneurs, and have faith

What can we learn from the Black Death? Be prepared, trust entrepreneurs, and have faith

Can we learn from history? An excellent book by Ben Gummer on the Black Death in fourteenth century Britain, The Scourging Angel, shows that we can. Published 10 years ago, the book offers many intriguing parallels with the Covid-19 crisis. Of course, the Black Death was almost

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Mythbusting coronavirus is vital for life to go back to normal

Mythbusting coronavirus is vital for life to go back to normal

As the government plans the timetable for getting Britain back to work, opinion polls continue to show strong support for the lockdown. An Opinium poll at the weekend is typical. Unsurprisingly, given the overwhelming scientific evidence on dangers associated with large gatherings, a massive 84 per cent

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Coronavirus: Economists have a role to play in recovery

Coronavirus: Economists have a role to play in recovery

Lockdowns are starting to be eased in Europe. Austria, Denmark, Italy and Spain are all moving back towards normality. At some point during May, the UK will follow. We can reflect on what the government has got right and wrong so far in the opening phase of

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Coronavirus: A traffic light loosening gives the economy hope

Coronavirus: A traffic light loosening gives the economy hope

The strategy of exiting from the lockdown is far too important to be left in the hands of health professionals. The government’s advisors have played very valuable roles in helping to avert the sort of crisis which overwhelmed the health services in Northern Italy. Many who were

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A lesson in cognitive dissonance for the Corbynites

A lesson in cognitive dissonance for the Corbynites

Behavioural economics — which extends the ability of economics to explain the world — has become very fashionable. Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner for his work in this area, observed that most of the time, the rational choice model of standard economics works well. People gather information

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For richer or for poorer? The economic case for marriage is worth remembering

For richer or for poorer? The economic case for marriage is worth remembering

An important piece of social news emerged last week. According to the Office for National Statistics, the divorce rate in 2018 fell to its lowest level for nearly 50 years. The overall trend is clear and well-established. The divorce rate rose steadily from the late 1950s, with

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Forget ‘reparations’, scrapping subsidies is the way to help get Wales back on its feet

Forget ‘reparations’, scrapping subsidies is the way to help get Wales back on its feet

Get ready to put your hands deep into your pockets for the boyos and girlos of the Welsh Valleys.  Adam Price, the leader of Plaid Cymru, called last week for the UK to pay “reparations” to Wales for the crime of reducing the country to poverty. For

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