Archive for the Economic theory Category

Never mind who wins, the World Cup is a treasure trove for curious economists

Never mind who wins, the World Cup is a treasure trove for curious economists

Our boys make progress – and I don’t mean on Brexit. On a visit to Glasgow last Thursday, a popular Scottish newspaper had a mock-up photo of Harry Kane lifting the cup. In massive type, the headline shrieked “This Would Be the End of the World”. Yes,

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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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Mind the gap: Economics is catching up to the fact that we’re not always rational

Mind the gap: Economics is catching up to the fact that we’re not always rational

Do Tube strikes make Londoners better off? At first sight, the question is simply absurd. The answer is surely “no”. But a paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics comes to the opposite conclusion. Cambridge economist Shaun Larcom and his colleagues analysed the two-day strike of February

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Embarrassing academic reversals show expert opinions are often built on sand

Embarrassing academic reversals show expert opinions are often built on sand

Last week we saw yet another major reversal of opinion by experts. For years we have all been lectured severely on the need to finish every single course of prescription drugs. But the latest wisdom is that this is not necessary. The announcement that petrol and diesel

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Sorry Corbyn, consumers aren’t as sold on nationalisation as you’d like to think

Sorry Corbyn, consumers aren’t as sold on nationalisation as you’d like to think

One of the most remarkable features of the Conservative election campaign was the dog which did not bark. There was no systematic attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s wholly implausible economic narrative. Magic Money Tree comments aside, Labour’s economic incompetence was allowed to pass almost unchallenged. One part

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Labour’s plans add up on paper, but that won’t translate to the real world

Labour's plans add up on paper, but that won't translate to the real world

The two main manifestos have been published. Initially at least, the Labour one seems the more popular. Many people are susceptible to being bribed with other people’s money. Labour claims that their plans to spend an additional £49 billion have been fully costed. At one level, this

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Economists have lost the public’s trust by meddling in politics

Economists have lost the public’s trust by meddling in politics

Michael Gove famously said during the Brexit campaign that people “have had enough of experts”. Certainly, the outcome suggests that many were sceptical of the doom-laden economic projections of Project Fear. But what do the public think about economists themselves? An intriguing survey released last week by

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Don’t believe the myths: Capitalism has performed well since the financial crisis

Don’t believe the myths: Capitalism has performed well since the financial crisis

Ten years ago, the financial crisis began to grip the Western economies.  During the course of 2007, GDP growth slowed markedly everywhere. By the end of 2008, output was in free fall. A key theme in economic commentary is the sluggishness of the subsequent recovery of the

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Kenneth Arrow proved economists needn’t be loud to make a difference

Kenneth Arrow proved economists needn’t be loud to make a difference

Does winning the Nobel Prize in economics cause longevity?  We might be forgiven for thinking so.  Thomas Schelling died last year aged 95.  The author of the famous textbook, Paul Samuelson, passed away at 94, whilst his colleague, Bob Solow, is still going strong at 92.  The

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Claims that a low tax, low regulation UK would be a disaster are rubbish

Claims that a low tax, low regulation UK would be a disaster are rubbish

Dame Minouche Shafik, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, is leaving to become Director of the London School of Economics.  Last weekend, she gave her final interview wearing her Bank hat. Shafik issued what was described in the media as a “thinly veiled warning” to the

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