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Why teachers are just like bankers

The current highly emotional debate about GCSE grades is not very enlightening.  But what has happened tells us a lot about how incentives matter, how they affect outcomes.  And at the same time, it shows that unless a proper set of social norms is in place, incentives

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How to unpick the apparent paradox of falling GDP and rising unemployment

GDP estimates are eagerly awaited in the City, and dominate the media headlines.  Huge significance is attached to arithmetically trivial differences, whether between market expectations and the announced figure, or to subsequent revisions to the data. But GDP is not something which can be put in a

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USA vs China continued… The Influence of Networks (and the Olympics!)

The last three Olympics have seen a titanic battle between the US and China to head the medals table. If you combine the total of the last three Games, China stands just ahead, with 121 golds to the United States’s 116. But, the US topped the table

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Who will rule the 21st Century

This is a nice big question to ponder on the holiday beach or in the rented villa. A vast amount has already been written on the rise of China and whether the US will be replaced as the global superpower. And where exactly does Europe fit into

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The Olympics, traffic in Central London and a bar in Santa Fe

We all know now about the empty roads and deserted shops, all quite contrary to the official announcements before the Games began.  No doubt Transport for London used their massively complicated, expensive models of the transport network to deduce that the system would be under massive strain.

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How bad is this recession?

A number of commentators have pointed out that this is the slowest recovery from recession in more than a hundred year.  Taking output measures this is correct.  But taking employment as the main measure of recession it is not. Both the 1980s and the 1990s saw much

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Towards Healthcare – doing more with less (the ‘Aldi’ model!)

Health professionals are living with paradox—they seem to have a dark future of financial decompression—but they also have, opportunities to use an emerging model of healthcare. They have to meet a new challenge of providing improved service for patients with long term medical conditions which seems to

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Transparency, Clarity and Understanding

The call for more transparency is a compelling one.  We should have more information, more easily available.  Stuff should not be hidden away.  I am generally a believer in all of this, and that people have greater ability to absorb and critique than they are given credit

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Why Can’t Debt Just be Inflated Away?

The debt problems which the UK and Europe currently face are essentially ones of political economy.  Basically, there is a lot of debt around and the simple question is: who is going to pay for it?  All the economic theory in the world does not get around

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Ignore the IMF: Economic forecasts have a history of being unreliable

So the IMF has slashed its growth forecasts for the UK economy.  This august body has just pronounced that Britain’s economy will come to a virtual standstill.  Growth in 2012 will be just 0.2pc, compared with the IMF’s April forecast of 0.8pc growth.  It cut its 2013

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