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Less austerity will always mean more tax

Less austerity will always mean more tax

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

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Sorry Corbyn, consumers aren’t as sold on nationalisation as you’d like to think

Sorry Corbyn, consumers aren’t as sold on nationalisation as you’d like to think

One of the most remarkable features of the Conservative election campaign was the dog which did not bark. There was no systematic attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s wholly implausible economic narrative. Magic Money Tree comments aside, Labour’s economic incompetence was allowed to pass almost unchallenged. One part

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Does the productivity gap actually exist?

Does the productivity gap actually exist?

Whoever wins the election tomorrow will have to grapple with what appears to be a fundamental economic problem. Estimated productivity growth in the UK is virtually at a standstill. The standard definition of productivity is the average output per employee across the economy as a whole, after

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The UK could teach the Eurozone a thing or two about successful monetary unions

The UK could teach the Eurozone a thing or two about successful monetary unions

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published last week some figures which show how a successful monetary union works in practice. It is not obvious at first sight, from the dry heading: “regional public sector finances”. The ONS collects information on the amounts of public spending and

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Labour’s plans add up on paper, but that won’t translate to the real world

Labour's plans add up on paper, but that won't translate to the real world

The two main manifestos have been published. Initially at least, the Labour one seems the more popular. Many people are susceptible to being bribed with other people’s money. Labour claims that their plans to spend an additional £49 billion have been fully costed. At one level, this

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Diane Abbott is rubbish at maths – but not compared to the rest of the country

Diane Abbott is rubbish at maths – but not compared to the rest of the country

Diane Abbott’s car crash of an interview on LBC radio last week hit the headlines. Asked politely but firmly for the numbers and costings of Labour’s plans on the police, her answers varied wildly from sentence to sentence. Of course, being charitable, it was always open to

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Thomas Schelling – a true polymath of genius

Thomas Schelling - a true polymath of genius

Thomas Schelling is probably best known in economics for his contributions to game theory. Indeed the citation for his 2005 Nobel Prize states it was for “having enhanced our understanding of conflict and cooperation through game theory analysis”. In the early, tense years of the Cold War

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Economists have lost the public’s trust by meddling in politics

Economists have lost the public’s trust by meddling in politics

Michael Gove famously said during the Brexit campaign that people “have had enough of experts”. Certainly, the outcome suggests that many were sceptical of the doom-laden economic projections of Project Fear. But what do the public think about economists themselves? An intriguing survey released last week by

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Don’t believe the myths: Capitalism has performed well since the financial crisis

Don’t believe the myths: Capitalism has performed well since the financial crisis

Ten years ago, the financial crisis began to grip the Western economies.  During the course of 2007, GDP growth slowed markedly everywhere. By the end of 2008, output was in free fall. A key theme in economic commentary is the sluggishness of the subsequent recovery of the

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Government debt addiction means you can be sure of one thing: Stealth taxes will rise

Government debt addiction means you can be sure of one thing: Stealth taxes will rise

Elections create uncertainty. But we can be sure of one thing. Regardless of the result, during the course of the next Parliament, stealth taxes will rise. This week, we have a sharp rise in speeding fines. Even doing between 31 and 40mph in a 30mph zone can

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