It is science, not lockdowns, that will save the world

The various new vaccines announced over the past two weeks give real hope of a return to normal life. Of course, many practical questions remain. How will these vaccines be delivered? Do they stop the transmission or simply the symptoms of the virus? Exactly how effective will they be outside a controlled trial environment? But […]

The economic impact of Brexit tariffs only tells us half the story

Dover

Brexit is about much more than the economic costs and benefits, but the idea that the former dramatically outweigh the latter has become the received wisdom in much of the media. Report after report emerges which purports to show that, under any of the various trade arrangements envisaged, the UK will be worse off as […]

Blame restrictions on the supply of land for new homes for rising wealth inequality

Fields of Gold

Official data released last week on London house price increases in 2016 generated a lot of interest.  Given that housing represents by far the most important component of wealth for most people, it is not surprising that stories like this are read avidly. There is a feeling that the current situation regarding the affordability of […]

No wonder free trade is under threat: we’re just rediscovering its losers

It had been an article of faith among economists and policy-makers that free trade is a Good Thing. Trade liberalisation was a key feature of the world economic order enforced by the United States after the Second World War. For decades, the trend of removing trade barriers led to world trade growing around twice as rapidly as […]

History shows why robots won’t destroy our jobs

Economics is often described as the dismal science, but it often contains cheerful material. A paper by the leading American economic historian Joel Mokyr made for exuberant holiday reading. Written for the top Journal of Economic Perspectives, it is entirely in English and contains not a single mathematical symbol. Mokyr examines the history of anxieties […]

Why is economic growth stalling? May be it is Ricardian equivalence!

The British and American recoveries do seem to be stalling. The recovery profile is by no means as strong as is usually the case after recessions, even after pretty major financial crises like that of 2008/09. One of the insights of complex systems is that the impact of any particular factor may differ dramatically according […]