Archive for the Business Category

Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

Our tech advances are difficult for productivity stats to compute

One of the most depressing aspects of the decade of the 2010s, well before Covid-19 struck, was the apparently very slow growth in productivity. This is not a mere ivory tower issue.  It is only through increasing productivity that rises in living standards can be sustained. Productivity

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Lockdown 2.0: A creative destruction revolution, or the death knell of innovation?

Lockdown 2.0: A creative destruction revolution, or the death knell of innovation?

So Boris Johnson has failed to follow his own government’s guidelines on cost-benefit appraisal. Study after study by economists show that the costs of lockdown far exceed the benefits. The NHS — the “envy of the world” — has conspicuously failed to develop sufficient capacity to deal

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The national productivity recovery depends on getting people back to the office

The national productivity recovery depends on getting people back to the office

Office workers continue to display reluctance to return to their workplaces, despite encouragement from the government for them to head back. The immediate consequences for the service jobs in cities which depend on people commuting into the office are apparent, hence the government drive. But is office

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Great expectations: The Darwinian wars of economic and epidemiological forecasting

Great expectations: The Darwinian wars of economic and epidemiological forecasting

A key concept in modern economics is, to use the jargon term, rational expectations. The idea has dominated orthodox macroeconomics over the past 30 years. Not all economists have been persuaded of its merits by any means, but nevertheless, its influence has extended far beyond academia, into

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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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Innovation is the only way to recover from the Covid crisis

Innovation is the only way to recover from the Covid crisis

One silver lining of the Covid-19 crisis has been a surge in innovation. Enterprising firms have invented both new products and different ways of delivering existing ones. Innovation is the life blood of any prosperous economy. Innovation is much more than a scientific invention. It turns inventions

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A tip for Dominic Cummings: Don’t hire anyone who fails to grasp the power of incentives

A tip for Dominic Cummings: Don’t hire anyone who fails to grasp the power of incentives

The job advert issued by Dominic Cummings for people to work in government has attracted a wide range of comments. One particular focus has been on the sorts of skills he is looking for. Computer science, forecasting, artificial intelligence, causality theory — all these topics excite his

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Creepy micromanagement won’t drive productivity — try trusting staff instead

Creepy micromanagement won’t drive productivity — try trusting staff instead

Calling all employers: what was in your Christmas stocking? Did you find the latest gadget designed to enhance productivity? The innovative device, featured in the media during the festive season, is a toilet with a downward sloping seat. The company which makes it, StandardToilet, has conducted extensive

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Supply and demand at work, or just good bargaining? The reality behind CEO pay

Supply and demand at work, or just good bargaining? The reality behind CEO pay

A report published by Deloitte a couple of weeks ago will have enhanced the feeling of holiday wellbeing for many people. The median annual pay for bosses of FTSE 100 companies fell in 2018 to £3.4m, compared to £4m in 2017. This is the lowest level since

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