This year’s Nobel economics laureates have made the world a better place

This year’s Nobel Prize in economics, announced on Monday, was a ray of sunshine amid the prevailing media gloom. The Prize was awarded for the work the new laureates had done on the alleviation of global poverty. This is one reason to be cheerful about it. Another is that Esther Duflo became only the second […]

From Korea to Germany, experiments with socialism show markets always win

A red-hot topic in economics is randomised controlled trials (RCT). Esther Duflo, the MIT academic who has really driven this idea, has surely put herself in pole position for a Nobel Prize at some point. The idea of RCTs has been imported from medicine. One group of people are selected at random to be subject […]

If it costs nothing, is it worth anything?

Most of us don’t love our banks. We have all experienced the unanswered letter, the seemingly interminable waits on hold before being put through to someone who gives the impression of auditioning for the infamous “computer says no” television sketch. Yet we are surprisingly loyal to our current accounts. Figures from Bacs suggest that around […]