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Time for the Treasury to get with the programme — Britain can afford to spend

Time for the Treasury to get with the programme — Britain can afford to spend

In the days of the old Soviet Union, so-called Kremlinologists would pore over every utterance of the Politburo, every sentence in Pravda, to try to work out what was really going on. Sajid Javid’s defenestration from the Treasury has led to an upsurge in similar types of

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Let the Iowa fiasco serve as a warning — new technology isn’t always the answer Opinion

Let the Iowa fiasco serve as a warning — new technology isn’t always the answer Opinion

Last week, the entire world witnessed the shambles of the vote counting in the Iowa Democratic caucus. It should have been straightforward — but adding all the votes up in a consistent way took a whole week. The list of errors is as long as your arm.

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The ‘graduate premium’ is little more than a myth — invest in further education instead

The ‘graduate premium’ is little more than a myth — invest in further education instead

Universities and their students are seldom out of the news. Ever since Tony Blair pledged to send 50 per cent of 18–21 year olds to university, they have been a persistent topic in political economy. University towns now notoriously favour Labour at the ballot box, often an

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Want to level up the UK? Look at disparity within the regions, not just between them

Want to level up the UK? Look at disparity within the regions, not just between them

It is a truth which has rapidly become universally acknowledged (to borrow Jane Austen’s famous phrase) that the government must deliver for its new supporters in the regions. This is a massive challenge. The gap in income per head, for example, between London and other areas of

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From A&E waiting times to the Windrush scandal, beware bureaucratic targets

From A&E waiting times to the Windrush scandal, beware bureaucratic targets

Last week, health secretary Matt Hancock signalled an important change of strategy. Accident and Emergency Departments have a target that 95 per cent of patients should be admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. Hancock suggested that the target will be scrapped. Instead, wait times will be

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A tip for Dominic Cummings: Don’t hire anyone who fails to grasp the power of incentives

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

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Creepy micromanagement won’t drive productivity — try trusting staff instead

Creepy micromanagement won’t drive productivity — try trusting staff instead

Calling all employers: what was in your Christmas stocking? Did you find the latest gadget designed to enhance productivity? The innovative device, featured in the media during the festive season, is a toilet with a downward sloping seat. The company which makes it, StandardToilet, has conducted extensive

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A lesson in cognitive dissonance for the Corbynites

A lesson in cognitive dissonance for the Corbynites

Behavioural economics — which extends the ability of economics to explain the world — has become very fashionable. Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner for his work in this area, observed that most of the time, the rational choice model of standard economics works well. People gather information

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Pension reform is political dynamite, but Macron’s attempt should be commended

Pension reform is political dynamite, but Macron’s attempt should be commended

It would take a heart of stone not to be amused by Emmanuel Macron’s current predicament. The French President is trying to position himself as the leader of Europe. But at the same time, the streets of the major cities in France are, quite literally, ablaze. France’s

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For richer or for poorer? The economic case for marriage is worth remembering

For richer or for poorer? The economic case for marriage is worth remembering

An important piece of social news emerged last week. According to the Office for National Statistics, the divorce rate in 2018 fell to its lowest level for nearly 50 years. The overall trend is clear and well-established. The divorce rate rose steadily from the late 1950s, with

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