Archive for the Blog Category

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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Infrastructure – Who Cares?

Infrastructure – Who Cares?

The launch of the draft National Infrastructure Assessment took place in Birmingham, overlooking the site of the city’s station-to-be at Curzon Street on HS2. In the room were all the new Metro Mayors from the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, the West of England, Cambridge and Peterborough and

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Companies that bow to the social media mob are operating in the wrong century

Companies that bow to the social media mob are operating in the wrong century

Pizza Hut is the latest addition to the list of companies grovelling to criticism on social media. The restaurant chain tweeted an apology for running a promotion in the Sun newspaper. A few weeks ago, Paperchase said that it would not place any more marketing campaigns with

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