Housing and Planning
House prices are generally quite pro-cyclical: they tend to go up when the economy is doing well, and they tend to stagnate or fall when the economy is doing badly. With this in mind: by how much, would you guess, have UK house prices fallen during the current, pandemic-induced recession? Bear in mind how unusual ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying lockdowns reduced global CO2 emissions by 7 percent last year. Some environmentalists, such as the University College London professor Mariana Mazzucato, have thus wondered about the feasibility of future “climate lockdowns […] to tackle a climate emergency.” Yet even if we ignore the negative consequences of prolonged lockdowns on broader health ... Continue reading
The Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities has attracted predictable controversy. Some are hailing it as an important new, more positive, direction in policy towards ethnic minorities, while others condemn it as “whitewashing” the country’s record and “gaslighting” equality campaigners. I suspect many of the most vociferous on both sides of the ... Continue reading
Monetary Policy
A little over one month ago, Bitcoin reached a market capitalisation of one trillion dollars. The cryptocurrency, which just ten years ago was traded by cyberpunks on cryptography forums now stands beside the tech giants Amazon & Apple in terms of market capitalisation. With its meteoric rise, Bitcoin’s opponents have naturally grown louder than ever. ... Continue reading
Healthcare
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) has published a “rebuttal” of my IEA paper “Viral Myths: Why we risk learning the wrong lessons from the pandemic”, entitled “The IEA has used covid-19 as another opportunity to brief against the NHS”. The author, David Oliver, makes it clear right from the start in what spirit his piece ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
When Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer, called on the government to provide free school meals over the October half-term to disadvantaged children, the campaign received widespread support, with over 1 million signatures signed on the Rashford-led petition. Even so, the government whipped its MPs to vote against a Labour motion to extend free school ... Continue reading
There was a moment in Gogglebox a few weeks ago which, as so often, captured the mood of the nation. Watching Boris Johnson announce his roadmap to freedom, the households were aghast to hear him mention the prospect of lifting lockdown “in six or nine months”. Johnson only mentioned this possibility to dismiss it, but the mere idea ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
This short "economics explainer" looks at the how the pattern of global income distribution has changed in the modern era of globalisation. Certainly in the 1970s, the "first world-third world" narrative was valid; today that is not the case.   ... Continue reading
Lifestyle Economics
Problem gambling can plunge individuals into severe financial distress, destroy relationships and lead to criminal activity. This is not to be downplayed. However, as is the case with so many societal problems – be it obesity, alcohol or drug misuse – government’s ability to identify the issue is not always matched by its ability to ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
Mark Littlewood: Questions around the secessions of countries or provinces pose difficult, possibly intractable, problems for economists and classical liberals. Attempts to calculate the potential losses of departing from the prevailing constitutional arrangements are not necessarily fruitless, but they are bound to be partial. Such analyses are likely to fall into a sort of inverse ... Continue reading