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Scottish Independence and Fairytale Land

Sir James Mirrlees is one of the mere handful of British recipients of the Nobel Prize in economics.  As his fine old Scottish surname might suggest, he has been active in the debate on independence.  His latest intervention, which has attracted considerable publicity, is to pronounce that

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After the BRICs, the GIPSIs: Tackling Europe’s Problems

The Euro zone lurches into yet another crisis, with fears of deflation and a further drop in output.  There are several dominant explanations of why Europe has been unable to recover from the crisis.  Most commentators subscribe to them either on their own, or in various combinations,

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Wall Street no smarter than Mr and Mrs Average

Lurid stories about the excesses in the UK housing market continue to proliferate.  True, there is some evidence of a cooling, as the price rises tempt more sellers into the market and temporarily increase supply relative to demand.  But at the same time we learn in the

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Employment is rising because labour is cheap

The latest employment figures confirm the buoyancy of the UK labour market.  In the quarter April-June of this year, employment rose by 167,000 on the previous quarter, to an all-time high of 30.60 million.  Unemployment also fell, by no less than 132,000.  Taking a somewhat longer perspective,

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The predictability of the Premier League

The Premier League kicks off again this weekend.  Given the abysmal showing of our boys in the World Cup, a falling off of interest might be expected.  But increasingly, the competition attracts many of the best players from all over the world.    A self-reinforcing process has been

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Recessions are good for the nation’s health

Many readers at this time of the year will be looking forward to their summer break, perhaps contemplating with a certain amount of envy their colleagues who have already departed.  But is leisure good for you?  A bit of a no brainer one might think.  Indeed, until

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In Praise of Inequality in Science

Does inequality in the output of scientists matter?  Inequality is a fashionable topic these days, and evidence for its existence is keenly sought in all sorts of places.  John Ioannidis, a health policy researcher at Stanford, and his colleagues have found it in the research outputs of

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Open Data: Britain leads the world

The UK economy is doing well. Even so, it is not often that we are placed unequivocally at the top of a world ranking of any kind.  But a team of economists led by Nicholas Gruen of Lateral Economics in Melbourne has done just that. In their

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Economists are not impressed by Piketty’s views on inequality

The financial crisis has undoubtedly created a demand in popular culture for works which portray capitalism in a bad light, such as the recent best seller by Thomas Piketty.  Piketty’s writing has gathered increasing attention from economists, and his arguments do not really bear scrutiny. The focus

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More ideas like HS3 are needed to solve our regional problems

In London and much of the South East, the recovery has been well under way for a considerable time.  House prices boom and restaurants are packed.  The economic data for the UK as a whole looks just as encouraging, with employment being at its highest ever level.

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