Economic Theory
Venezuelamania is well and truly over. Like so many other examples before it, the country has entered the unthankful not-REAL-socialism stage. And yet, Britain’s remaining Chavistas, such as Chris Williamson, Ken Livingstone and George Galloway, are doubling down. They have convinced themselves that Venezuela’s crisis has nothing to do with socialism, and everything to do ... Continue reading
Labour Market
The BBC has published a thought-provoking article by Rianna Croxford on pay gaps in academia, based on months of freedom of information requests and interviews. The striking headline is that ‘black and Arab academics at the UK’s top universities earn an average 26% less than white colleagues’. But a closer look quickly reveals some of the familiar ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
The two economists Hayek and Keynes agreed on one thing. They both believed that ideas and the climate of opinion determined how politicians behaved. Indeed, the Institute of Economic Affairs was set up as a result of advice from Hayek. He told Antony Fisher that a body was desperately needed that would change the climate ... Continue reading
Tax and Fiscal Policy
Benjamin Franklin once noted that “nothing is certain, except death and taxes”. Given recent developments, I’d add government incompetence in levying those taxes to the list. A damning new report from the House of Lords Economic Committee has accused HMRC of using disproportionate, even unlawful, measures to clamp down on suspected tax avoidance. They highlight ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
By far the least interesting aspect of the Brexit campaign is that it won. What should be much more mystifying for those flummoxed by recent events is that, even on a bad day, the Leave vote would have probably been somewhere in the region of 35-45%. This irreducible core of euroscepticism, near-half of the electorate ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
The topic of foreign aid is controversial amongst development economists and the general public alike. Many view official forms of assistance as ineffective; more likely to foster corruption and dependency than alleviate poverty in the long term. The introduction of annual aid spending targets - such as those outlined by the United Nations in the ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
A couple of months ago, two demonstrations were held outside of the Venezuelan embassy in London. One was a demonstration against the Maduro government, the other one was a pro-government counterdemonstration. When somebody tweeted two pictures juxtaposing the two crowds, I immediately wanted to retweet it, because it wonderfully confirmed my prejudices. Judging from their ... Continue reading
Education
The Institute of Economic Affairs is commissioning lifestyle economics papers as part of its research output in 2019. Our lifestyle unit has been publishing research on paternalistic regulation since 2013, subjecting topical policy proposals to rigorous economic analysis to reveal the costs, benefits and unintended consequences of taxation and regulation. We have covered a wide ... Continue reading
Humanists UK is stepping up its campaign against faith schools. The organisation made headlines last week, following the appointment of Professor Alice Roberts as its new President. Roberts has since announced her intention to spearhead a campaign against the state funding of faith schools. These developments – along with the discovery that Roberts sends her ... Continue reading
Over the past week, politicians from both sides of the House have been railing against ‘corporate excess’ in all its forms. On Tuesday we learnt that the Labour Party is considering further action on high pay, including a ban on ‘golden handshakes’, and legislation barring executives from being paid in share options. The new report, ... Continue reading