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The Political Economy of Risk Taking – and how HS2 is Misunderstood

High Speed Rail has no shortage of enemies.  It is challenged for having rising costs, too few benefits and for being the plaything of vested interests, such as local authorities and rail companies.  These are often cheap shots, based on what sometimes appears to be a wilful

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How sticky is unemployment? Will it take three years to fall?

The views expressed by the new Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, on interest rates and unemployment remain a hot topic. Interest rates will not be raised until unemployment falls below 7 per cent, a process he thinks will take three years. The perception which many people have

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No interest rate changes for three years? Zero hours contracts for the Monetary Policy Committee!

The new Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, said last week that interest rates will not be raised until unemployment falls below 7 per cent, a process he thinks will take three years. The battle of Austerlitz in 1805 was one of Napoleon’s greatest victories,

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More powerful than the most powerful earthquake: the Don Bradman phenomenon

The holiday season is in full swing, and many people are more focused on cricket than on the state of the economy. Like in all team sports, a favourite pastime of fans is to argue over their choices of the greatest ever team. But there is one

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Recovery and summer are in the air, but doom mongers still lurk

The GDP growth figures announced last week for the second quarter of this year have sent most people away on their holidays in a cheerier mood than last year. The recent weather has certainly helped. But gloomy clouds may hover over the exclusive settings of Tuscan villas and beach

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No free lunch. Defaults today mean less jam tomorrow

Potential defaults in the Euro zone have been in the news again. In Portugal, the ruling coalition parties and the main opposition Socialists have been unable to agree on a European Union-led bailout plan after days of talks. Yields on the country’s 10 year bonds have approached 7 per

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Ignore the IMF: There’s no reason for its ludicrous forecasts to change sentiment

The economics department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is up to its old tricks again – changing its mind. Just three months ago, the team cut its forecast for UK GDP growth in 2013 to 0.7 per cent from 1 per cent, sparking charges that George

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You wait for one bus then three come at once: Andy Murray and economic recessions

So Andy Murray becomes the first Briton to win the men’s singles for 77 years. When might we expect the next celebration? We can look at the typical ‘waiting time’, to give the concept a name, between victories from players from the same country. For example, Roger Federer won

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Always Look on the Bright Side

The American economic recovery carries on apace, with a net rise in employment of almost half a million over the past three months. The Office for National Statistics has decided that the UK never had a double dip recession, and the texture of the economic news has

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Banging up bankers is the wrong punishment – it won’t change behaviour

The behaviour of the banking sector in the run up to the crash is still very much in the public eye. But this is nothing new. Readers of a certain age may recall Bernie Cornfeld, and his company Investors Overseas Services (IOS). It failed dramatically in the

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