Citizens’ assemblies would hand power to establishment experts

Citizens’ assemblies have become the height of fashion. The London borough of Camden is currently holding one on how to reduce carbon emissions in the area. Last month, Nicola Sturgeon announced plans to set one up to consider constitutional issues in Scotland. The Irish government’s one on abortion featured in the 2018 referendum on the […]

Relax, the UK (probably) isn’t heading for recession

Immediate fears of a recession in the UK economy were eased last week with the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate of monthly GDP. The economy had shrunk in April, but growth resumed in May. This has not prevented widespread conjecture that a recession is imminent. The Resolution Foundation claimed last weekend that the […]

In the case of sugar, the nanny state really does know best

Boris Johnson created a furore last week by announcing that he was considering getting rid of the so-called sugar tax. Was he right to question the levy, or does it serve a purpose? Introduced in April 2018, manufacturers now have to pay more tax if their drinks contain a high amount of sugar. The producers […]

Puzzled over Australia’s shock election result? Economics can help explain

The surprise of the week was the re-election of the centre-right Coalition government in the Australian General Election. The Labor opposition had led every major opinion poll for the past two years. But Scott Morrison of the Coalition is still Prime Minister – and it is his Labor opponent who is resigning as leader. Economists, […]

Britain’s stagnant regions are stuck in a monetary union trap

The Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence created a bit of a stir at the end of last week with its estimates of growth in the regions of the UK. Since the recovery from the financial crisis began during 2009, London’s economy has grown by 26 per cent. At the other end of the scale, output […]

Volterra in Auckland

NZ Transport Agency’s called upon Volterra’s expertise to investigate the case for a Light Rail between the city centre and Mangere; we previously provided economic analysis on light rail projects from London to Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide. See the article in the New Zealand Herald. Image: Auckland by Craig  via Wikimedia under CC BY-SA 2.0

From Venezuela to East Berlin, people will always choose capitalism over socialism

How many people across the world in the history of humanity have fled from a capitalist country to a socialist one? There was much amusement at the height of the long miners’ strike of 1984/85. A National Union of Mineworkers official from Yorkshire, a crony of Marxist trade unionist Arthur Scargill, sought sanctuary in the […]

The economics of tourist overload

I am in Edinburgh for a few days at the Festival, where even Jeremy Corbyn has appeared. Disappointingly, he was not playing the role of Carmela Soprano, the mafia don’s wife who is always present but never involved. Previously, I had been on Skye. Last month, I attended a conference in Venice. Edinburgh, Skye, Venice, […]

The intellectual imperialism of economics

At this time of year, most people are focused on leisure. The holiday you have just had, the one you are on now, or the one you are just about to go on. With exquisite timing, the 1 August issue of the top Journal of Economic Perspectives has a symposium of papers about work. The […]