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 contributions is proposed. With the former, the pension […]

Anti-capitalists in UK universities need a refresher course in the perils of socialism

The great Harvard economist Joseph Schumpeter, writing in the 1940s, predicted the eventual demise of capitalism. He did not want this to happen. But he envisaged that the “intellectual class” would eventually develop values which were hostile to free markets and private property. Schumpeter’s definition of “intellectuals” was very wide. He meant people in a […]

Incentivise predatory universities with a proportional grade-linked fee structure

The A-level results have come and gone yet again. Underneath all the hype and excitement, we can see the reliable old friend of economists at work. Namely, the impact of incentives. Michael Gove, in his previous Cabinet incarnation as education secretary, decided to restore the meaning of grades in A-level and GCSE exams. Until the […]

Embarrassing academic reversals show expert opinions are often built on sand

Sand Castle

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 cars will be banned by 2040 only serves […]

Paul Ormerod in discussion with Prospect magazine

Paul Ormerod, Alison Wolf,  and Adam Tooze join Prospect Editor Tom Clark to discuss whether it’s a good thing that so many people go to university; why trust in experts has fallen so low; and how, 10 years on from the banking crisis, a new system of regulation has been quietly introduced under-the-radar. But how sustainable is it? […]

Believe it or not, Britain is getting happier

Happiness

The dominant economic narrative in the UK is a pretty gloomy one just now. True, employment is at a record high. But, counter the whingers and whiners, zero hours contracts and low pay proliferate. The political discourse is full of the struggles of the JAMs – the Just About Managing The public sector moans about […]

Volterra’s Lucy Dean and Alex O’Byrne present at Annual Transport Practitioners Meeting

Lucy Dean and Alex O'Byrne at TPM

  Lucy Dean and Alex O’Byrne were recently invited to speak at the 15th Annual Transport Practitioners Meeting (TPM) in Nottingham. TPM is the annual meeting place for all transport planners, highway engineers and urban transport designers. Practitioners, policy makers and academics are invited to present topical papers over the two days. Lucy’s presentation ‘What might the […]

Volterra: industry partners at UCL’s hands-on training event

Paul Buchanan and Kieran Arter were recent ‘industry partners’ at UCL’s How to Change the World hands-on training programme (HtCtW, 30 May – 9 June 2017). Students were challenged to come up with ways to improve the Strategic Road Network. Paul and Kieran were on hand to answer questions from the participating students. Group discussions then […]

Volterra are challenge partners for UCL’s How to Change the World Programme

UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy has run a hands-on training programme – How to Change the World – for its students since 2014. The programme aims to teach students how to direct their own learning and use their initiative to scope out problem statements and design solutions, with guidance from industry […]