Labour Market
Pension auto-enrolment was one of the early significant policies arising from the government’s “nudge unit”. The argument was that employees suffer from inertia and therefore do not save as much as they would rationally like to. Enrolling employees in a pension scheme and then allowing them to opt out, it was suggested, would lead to ... Continue reading
The IEA has just published a new Covid-19 Briefing Paper that I have written, Coronavirus and the Economic Value of Human Life, or, as the sub-title puts it, Is the lockdown worth it?. The pandemic has provided many grim examples of some familiar problems in health economics and cost-benefit analysis, and of the “tragic choices” ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
Covid–19 has done more than cause a medical and economic crisis. It is provoking a major reorientation of the foreign policy of both the United States and Europe. At the heart of this is the question of their changing relationship with China. It is important that “liberal democracies” answer that question correctly, as the obvious ... Continue reading
In a recent letter, Pope Francis suggested that we consider the provision of a “universal basic wage”. Published on Easter Sunday 2020 and issued to “Brothers and Sisters of Popular Movements and Organizations”, the letter said: “Street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers: you who are informal, working ... Continue reading
Many people are increasingly worried about the slow pace of school reopening in the UK. The focus has mainly been on the harms done to the welfare of children and their families. But there are also rising concerns about the wider impact on the economy. This article summarises both the social and economic issues, and ... Continue reading
Trade, Development, and Immigration
In April, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) published its latest trade forecast predicting global trade in goods would fall by between 13% and 32% in 2020 due to the economic impact of Covid-19. The forecasts are illustrated in the graph below, showing both pessimistic and optimistic scenarios.   World merchandise trade volume, 2000‑2022 (100 = ... Continue reading
This week the IEA and Civitas published a joint paper, Rebooting Britain, on the economics of the Covid-19 crisis, written by Len Shackleton and myself. Many commentators are arguing that the pandemic has demonstrated the need for permanent increases in government intervention and in public spending. We came to exactly the opposite conclusion. These are ... Continue reading
Labour Market
Millions of jobs will be seen to have been lost and thousands of businesses destroyed once furloughing is ended. In preparing for emergence from lockdown, our aim must be to make it as easy as possible for existing businesses to revive and new businesses to start up – and to encourage them to take on as ... Continue reading
The COVID-19 pandemic will be a global trauma that people talk about – argue about – for decades. Debate is beginning to rage about whether governments made the correct choice to “flatten the curve” and relieve the expected disease burden on public health services. To buy time sounded like a good idea in March. In ... Continue reading
I normally do not pay attention to implicit political messages in movies or TV series. I blank out a movie’s politics deliberately, because I already know in advance that I’ll disagree with it, that I’ll find it silly, and that concentrating on it would just ruin the movie for me. In recent weeks, however, lockdown-induced ... Continue reading