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Prisons, incentives and how to save the planet

Criminals are refusing to leave Portugal’s prisons.  According to the International Herald Tribune, prisoners are starting to want to serve the full amount of their sentences rather than be released on parole.  This is despite the fact that there is record over-crowding and conditions inside are reported

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A stitch in time. We need smarter government, but less of it

What is the connection between the content of Boris Johnson’s speech this week to the CBI, tax avoidance and evasion, executive pay, petty crime and plagiarism by students?  This is yet another one where economics can help us with the solution. Economists have long used the example

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International Airlines Group: a ‘fantastic object’? The psychology of mergers and acquisitions

International Airlines Group (IAG), formed in January 2011 by a merger of British Airways and Iberia, is in the news. Operating losses at Iberia in the first nine months of the financial year are believed to be in excess of £200 million. Since the start of last

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Our Friends in the North are trapped in a monetary union

Michael Heseltine’s report on economic growth came out last week.  It contains 89 recommendations.  A mere 57 varieties, to recall the famous Heinz slogan, might have connected it more with popular culture. The report has already attracted a lot of comment, mainly that Lord Heseltine seems nostalgic

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Corporation tax: fostering the illusions of the electorate that someone else will pay

Corporation tax is very much in the news.  Starbucks is merely the latest to be in the spotlight, having paid no corporation tax on more than £1billion of sales in the past three years.  This became noteworthy when the Prime Minister himself declared he was unhappy with the

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If it can happen to Google, who can feel safe?

The dramatic crash in Google’s share price and the temporary suspension of trading in the company’s shares made headline news. The event was triggered by the 20 per cent year-on-year fall in profits in the third quarter of this year. As usual, there was no shortage of

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Don’t say IMF, it’s IMF Squared!

In the boom decade of the 2000s, corporate rebranding and renaming was all the rage.  Some were successful.  Others are best forgotten, like PWC’s proposal to bestow the name of Monday on its consulting arm.  But as the world’s economic recovery gathers momentum, perhaps it is time

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Policy makers have learned from the mistakes of the 1930s

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman will shortly be in town.  With Lord Richard Layard, he will be calling for more public spending and borrowing.  The two have issued a ‘Manifesto for Economic Sense’.  But is it? The opening sentences make dramatic claims: ‘More than four years after

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New Strategies for success in the NHS: a Blackpool Perspective

On Sept 12th  Prof Nick Bosanquet gave a lecture at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and then toured the hospital at the invitation of the Chairman Ian Johnson. His lecture was on the theme of “Blackpool Paths to Success.” Hospitals are facing insolvency worldwide as the era

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Macro-economic modelling and its uses

An International Macro Symposium conference this week hosted by the ESRC and the Oxford Martin School has brought home to me how little things have changed in some quarters.  There is still a belief that with some tweaks the old modelling frameworks can capture the elements that

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