Believe it or not, Britain is getting happier

Happiness

The dominant economic narrative in the UK is a pretty gloomy one just now. True, employment is at a record high. But, counter the whingers and whiners, zero hours contracts and low pay proliferate. The political discourse is full of the struggles of the JAMs – the Just About Managing The public sector moans about […]

Does the productivity gap actually exist?

Smartphone-technology

Whoever wins the election tomorrow will have to grapple with what appears to be a fundamental economic problem. Estimated productivity growth in the UK is virtually at a standstill. The standard definition of productivity is the average output per employee across the economy as a whole, after adjusting output for inflation – or “real” output, […]

The UK could teach the Eurozone a thing or two about successful monetary unions

Euro sign

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published last week some figures which show how a successful monetary union works in practice. It is not obvious at first sight, from the dry heading: “regional public sector finances”. The ONS collects information on the amounts of public spending and money raised in taxes across the regions of […]

What Dirty Harry tells us about economic forecasters’ Michael Fish moment

Economic forecasters are in the dock. Last week, none other than the chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, was confessing the crimes of the profession. The failure to predict the financial crisis was, Haldane said, economic forecasting’s “Michael Fish” moment. Thirty years ago, the BBC weatherman predicted that the UK would avoid […]

Look to Twitter for why Britain’s economy proved Project Fear wrong

The economic data on post-Brexit Britain is beginning to emerge.  We discovered last month that employment in May to July grew by 174,000 compared to the previous three months.  Last week, the Office for National Statistics published its estimate for the output of the service sector of the economy in July.  This shows a 0.4 […]

Why we are much better off than the official statistics say

The oldest surviving map of Britain was created in Canterbury a thousand years ago. Our ancestors had a good idea of how to get around. The country is depicted in its familiar shape. Understanding of the world outside Western Europe remained sketchy for centuries.  The phrase ‘here be dragons’ was allegedly used to conceal ignorance […]

Why are crime rates falling?

Economic statistics are the bane of forecasters’ lives. Cynics might say that this is because the data reveal how bad their predictions are. But a big practical problem is that initial estimates of the state of the economy can be revised substantially. These issues are as nothing compared to statistics on crime. The Crime Survey […]