London Councils – Volterra produces unemployment forecasts for the London labour market

Volterra was recently commissioned by London Councils to undertake a detailed piece of research on unemployed London residents and their future employment prospects. Essentially, the research establishes the unemployment picture across London historically, before analysing the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on unemployment in London. Several forecasting scenarios have also been laid out […]

Forecasting Unemployment in London

An early end to furlough could spell trouble for London residents. According to the UK Government’s latest announcement, the end is now in sight. With restrictions expected to be fully lifted by the 21st June, the economic recovery will be in full flow. Many people, including the Bank of England, are forecasting a short, sharp […]

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 interest. Cummings advocates a small selection of scientific […]

Full employment in Britain has lowered productivity instead of increasing wages

The UK jobs market is booming, as the latest ONS figures show. Unemployment is at its lowest for over 40 years. A record 32.1 million people are in employment, a rise of over 3 million since the financial crisis. Apart from in a few scattered pockets, Britain is at full employment. Usually in such circumstances, […]

Beware the dysfunctional consequences of imposing misguided incentive systems

Lehman Brothers Headquarters

Following the disclosure of salaries at the BBC, it has hardly seemed possible to open a newspaper or switch on the television without being bombarded by stories about pay. By pure coincidence, an academic paper entitled “Pay for Performance and Beyond” has just appeared. So what, you might ask? Except that it is one of […]

Less austerity will always mean more tax

Austerity

There is a great deal of discussion, following the election, of relaxing or even abandoning austerity. There is an equal amount of confusion about this, because the same word is being used to describe two quite separate concepts. The consequences of the government changing its policy on austerity are dramatically different, depending on which one […]

Don’t fear robots taking your job – worry about them cutting your wages

Robot playing ping pong

Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) seem to be in the news all the time, and breakthroughs are announced regularly. Last year, it was an AI programme which beat the world champion at Go, a game immensely more complex than chess. Now, in the austere American journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, comes […]

Forward guidance is just another delusion foisted on us by mainstream macro

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, was on good form last week when he appeared at the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons. Asked what “forward guidance” meant, he answered smoothly: “The thing about forward guidance is that it is guidance that is forward. Which is not to say it is meant to […]