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Learn Maths, Young Person! The Secret of Success in the 21st Century

A currently fashionable pessimistic topic is the lifetime prospects of children born into the middle class. Graduate debt, lack of finance to buy homes and job insecurity after they graduate, the list goes on. Alan Milburn, the government’s ‘social mobility tsar’, put the seal of approval on

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Statistical rigour and HS2

At the Treasury Select Committee, in relation to HS2, Professor Graham said that it was important that we get these numbers right and in a scientifically rigorous way.  Both he and Professor Overman attacked the work published by KPMG as not only insufficiently rigorous, but also on

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The Benefits of Choice: the Battle Never Ends

Do consumer choice and competition between suppliers improve the quality of outcomes for consumers? The answer might seem so obvious to many readers that it is hardly worth asking. But a powerful strand of political opinion is building up to an attack on the concept. Mary Creagh,

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Grangemouth highlights the competitive problems of the Rest of the UK

The recovery in the British economy is now firmly established.  Output in the services sector, the largest part of the economy, is above the previous peak level prior to the crash in 2008.   There is a widespread myth that the recovery is fueled by debt-financed personal spending.

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Energy and Emissions: Taxation or Technology?

Energy prices are in the news. The recent actions of some of the energy companies can plausibly be described as provocative, no matter how well founded their decisions might be. They run the risk of provoking the ire of both the Opposition and the Government. One interesting

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Gresham’s Law in Education: How the Bad Drove Out the Good

Young adults in England have scored almost the lowest result in the developed world in international literacy and numeracy tests. A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows how England’s 16 to 24 year olds are falling behind their Asian and European counterparts.

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Russia: how the crisis might affect future growth

The performance of the BRIC economies over the past decade or so has been mixed. Russian growth, though impressive by Western standards, has lagged that of both India and China. This is particularly true since 2008. I got an insight into the problem at a conference last

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Everything is crystal clear with hindsight

Are government bonds risky? This question arose a year ago, during a meeting with my bank. I wanted a low risk portfolio, but they noted that I did not want to hold UK government bonds. Whether it was the regulator who was insisting, or whether it was

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Should London be an Independent City State?

Forget Scottish independence – in his blog for  the Guardian this week Larry Elliot suggests that it is London that should devolve – a move he says that would bring an economic boost to the rest of the UK. He quotes some findings from our own Paul

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Alibaba: not just the Forty Thieves. China at the Cutting Edge

In the whole of the 20th century, only a few countries managed to transform themselves and join the club of rich economies. Japan is the most prominent example. The key question for the first half of the 21st century is whether or not China will manage to do the

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