Archive for the Blog Category

The university pensions strike is a selfish bid to hold future generations to ransom

The university pensions strike is a selfish bid to hold future generations to ransom

University lecturers began a strike over their pensions last week. The dispute may even run on and jeopardise the summer exams. The main issue is that the universities’ pension scheme seems to be in substantial deficit. To solve the problem, a move from defined benefits to defined

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Let’s join the IFS in acknowledging our misplaced fetishisation of economic data

Let’s join the IFS in acknowledging our misplaced fetishisation of economic data

Tomorrow, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will publish its latest estimates on how much the UK economy grew between October and December 2017, compared to July to September. Last month, the ONS thought that there was an increase of 0.5 per cent. The economy cannot be

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Master the art of brinkmanship to run Brexit rings around Barnier

Master the art of brinkmanship to run Brexit rings around Barnier

Michel Barnier invokes a wide range of emotions this side of the Channel. To his credit, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator appears to have a stronger grasp of the insights of game theory than his UK counterparts. Thomas Schelling, the polymath winner of the Nobel Prize in

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How European commissioners really allocate EU funding

How European commissioners really allocate EU funding

“Pork barrel” has been a theme in American politics for almost as long as the United States has existed. Many members of Congress work hard to secure public works projects, agricultural subsidies and the like for their own districts, almost regardless of the economic arguments for and

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There are economic lessons to learn from TfL’s hated bus announcement experiment

There are economic lessons to learn from TfL’s hated bus announcement experiment

The Transport for London (TfL) bus experiment has proved to be overwhelmingly unpopular. Supposedly at every bus stop (but more usually once the bus has pulled away) a disembodied voice informs the passengers that the bus is about to move. The hated announcement is being run as

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Carillion shouldn’t be brought under state control, but maybe central banks should be

Carillion shouldn’t be brought under state control, but maybe central banks should be

A strong thread in the acres of print about the Carillion debacle is that the private sector should not really be involved in infrastructure projects. The public sector would, apparently, do it better. Readers who experienced life under the nationalised rail and telephone systems might be forgiven

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Act now, think later: Card surcharge ban is typical of myopic soundbite politics

Act now, think later: Card surcharge ban is typical of myopic soundbite politics

Companies and service providers are no longer allowed to charge customers for using a credit or debit card. The new law came into effect last Saturday. The economic secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, trumpeted: “rip-off charges have no place in a modern Britain and that’s why

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‘Expertise’ has become a tool of the liberal establishment to drown out opposing views

‘Expertise’ has become a tool of the liberal establishment to drown out opposing views

The row over the Conservative-supporting journalist Toby Young’s appointment to the universities watchdog has been intense. Despite the relative obscurity of this public position, the left wing Twitterati have been besides themselves with rage. The affair has culminated in his resignation, over some tweets he posted. They

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The balance between wages and capital is shifting – rent seekers had better beware

The balance between wages and capital is shifting – rent seekers had better beware

The first column of a new year is the time for a prediction. By far the hardest part of forecasting is to identify tipping points. The success rate of calling a break in an established trend is very low. Accompanied by suitable health warnings, 2018 looks like

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Old-fashioned educational values offer the UK’s most deprived children a future

Old-fashioned educational values offer the UK’s most deprived children a future

Economics is the gloomy science, but we can end the year on a cheery note. Newham Collegiate Sixth Form College is in one of the most deprived and ethnically mixed areas of the country, with high numbers of immigrants. Yet the example set by Mouhssin Ismail, the

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