Vaccine passports: a free market and plentiful pubs mean they won’t work in the UK

As the country emerges slowly from lockdown, the debate over so-called vaccine passports gathers pace. Yesterday, Matt Hancock confirmed Britain was looking into the proposition for international travel. Countries such as Greece and Spain have a strong incentive to develop a system with us. Each attracts large numbers of British tourists in a normal year. Whatever the […]

Why do bad companies stay in business for so long? Just ask an economist

A bookseller in the Yorkshire Dales has hit the headlines, branded a “shopkeeper from hell”. He called a customer a “pain in the arse”, and has been the subject of numerous complaints to the local parish council about his rudeness. To complete the outrage, he charges 50p as an entry fee to his shop. The […]

Do markets solve the problem of discrimination?

The Prime Minister recently announced that the civil service will now introduce name-blind recruitment.  When people apply for public sector jobs, their name will not appear on the documents sent to the appointment panel.  Major companies such as HSBC, KPMG, the BBC and the NHS are following suit.  Economists have produced a substantial body of […]

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 the financial crisis began, the world’s major advanced […]