Every once in a while, an idea turns from captivating to dominating – pushing all others into the back seat, and along with them the inconvenient facts and snippets of reality that don’t confirm or conform to the idea at play. This, I fear, is the lens through which to view the Scottish first minister’s ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions
My track record on Brexit-related predictions has so far been abysmal. I got it wrong at every turn. For a start, I was sure that voter turnout would be low. I thought that after an initial campaign hype, most people would conclude that leaving the EU would be neither the end of the world, nor ... Continue reading

Julian Jessop appears on The Telegraph podcast

Julian Jessop, Chief Economist at the Institute of Economic Affairs has appeared on The Telegraph podcast to discuss the Budget in the context of Brexit. During the podcast Julian argues that Brexit is such a big unknown that it is very difficult for the Chancellor to know what to say about it now. We have ... Continue reading
Chancellor Philip Hammond will take to the despatch box today to deliver his Budget. The media will pore over the plethora of announcements made – fiddly tax changes here, growth forecast revisions there. But this short-term focus misses the real policy story of the post-crisis period. The political class is failing to address our long-term ... Continue reading
Government and Institutions

Philip Booth writes for City AM

Philip Booth, Senior Academic Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs has written for City AM today on the need to understand the limits of experts to predict how the world will behave. In the article Philip argues that economic forecasting of the sort done by many bodies, including the Bank of England is sometimes ... Continue reading
As the chancellor prepares his Budget and US President Donald Trump shapes his economic plan, commentators are urging both to engage in significant new spending on transport infrastructure. The conventional case was articulated well by Times columnist Oliver Kamm last week. Only the government can undertake the investment and planning necessary for complex projects such ... Continue reading
In the last couple of years, the qualifications systems in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland – all of which allow schools to choose between multiple examination boards – have faced criticism from politicians and in the media. Many argue that qualification and assessment choice introduces perverse incentives for exam boards to decrease standards and inflate ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Most Western countries today offer extensive pension and healthcare entitlements which are predicated on inter-generational transfers: those of working age pay the benefits of the old in exchange for the promise to receive payments and public services commensurate with their lifetime contributions in retirement. Yet increasingly lavish benefits, rising life expectancy with which the statutory ... Continue reading
There is a strong case to be made that the most important pre-requisite for a sustainable environment is a society that has a sophisticated, comprehensive and respected set of institutions based on private property. This will not necessarily solve all problems, but it is a good start. As Thomas Aquinas put it, in one of ... Continue reading
Economic Theory
Socialism is popular in Britain. More popular than capitalism, at any rate. That was the result of a YouGov survey last year, in which 36% of respondents expressed a favourable view of socialism, while only 32% expressed an unfavourable one. Capitalism, meanwhile, is viewed unfavourably by 39% of respondents, while only 33% view it favourably. ... Continue reading