Archive for the General Category

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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Blame restrictions on the supply of land for new homes for rising wealth inequality

Blame restrictions on the supply of land for new homes for rising wealth inequality

Official data released last week on London house price increases in 2016 generated a lot of interest.  Given that housing represents by far the most important component of wealth for most people, it is not surprising that stories like this are read avidly. There is a feeling

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A tale of two Eurozones: Greater Germany and Club Med are drifting ever further apart

A tale of two Eurozones: Greater Germany and Club Med are drifting ever further apart

At the end of last week Federica Mogherini met leading members of the Trump administration. Mogherini, yet another Italian politician turned Euro-bureaucrat, is in fact the foreign policy chief of the European Union. She stood on her dignity, or rather the dignity of the European Commission, issuing a

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Why the economics profession remains blind to the benefits of Brexit

Why the economics profession remains blind to the benefits of Brexit

The office for National Statistics last week estimated that the UK economy grew at an annual rate of 2.4 per cent in the final quarter of last year. This is slightly above the long-term average growth of the past three decades. But a Financial Times survey this

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Forget “post-truth”: A compelling vision drove Brexit and Trump triumphs

Forget "post-truth": A compelling vision drove Brexit and Trump triumphs

The buzz-phrase of the moment in political discussion is “post-truth”. Shell-shocked metropolitan liberals are astonished by both Brexit and Donald Trump’s success. How could their own rational analysis not find favour with the electorate? People in the internet age must be no longer capable of recognising the

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

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

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Dump opinion polls for social media to understand people’s real preferences

Dump opinion polls for social media to understand people's real preferences

So the pollsters got it wrong again.  After the general election last year and then Brexit, it is perhaps not surprising.  What is surprising is just how wrong they were.  The real problem is the enormous confidence with which they pronounced that Clinton would win. The Princeton

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The people of Burnley and Bradford have a point about the impact of immigration

The people of Burnley and Bradford have a point about the impact of immigration

The scenes as the migrant camp was cleared in Calais once again provoked bitter divisions in British society. Metropolitan luvvies and liberals tweeted their virtue and called for no restrictions on immigration. In more traditional areas, there is active resentment at the possibility of even further inflows

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Thank competition – not magical central bankers – for years of low inflation

Thank competition – not magical central bankers – for years of low inflation

Tempers are fraying at the highest levels of economic policy-making in the UK. Theresa May, at the Conservative Party conference, emphasised the “bad side effects” for savers of the Bank of England’s policy of near-zero interest rates, a position reinforced by former Tory leader William Hague in

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