Research

IEA calls for 9p flat rate of tax on alcohol to fix illogical system

Summary: Excessive drinking creates costs to public services which the government can recoup through alcohol taxes, thereby making drinkers internalise the costs. However, in Britain, the alcohol duty regime is excessive and illogical. Not only do revenues from alcohol duty far exceed the costs to public services, but units of alcohol are taxed at dramatically ... Continue reading
Research

Many families now spend a third of their net income on childcare

Summary:  Decisions on childcare arrangements were largely a private matter until the 1990s. A political consensus has since arisen that government action is needed to raise the quality of provision, to make it more affordable and to support parental labour market attachment. Childcare and pre-school policy is accordingly a fast-growing area of state intervention. The ... Continue reading
Research

Obesity costs less than half as much as the government claims

Summary:  This is the first study to estimate the annual savings that overweight and obese people bring UK taxpayers by dying prematurely (in 2016 prices). Ignoring these savings leads to substantial overestimation of the true burden of elevated body mass index (BMI) to the taxpayer. Our estimate of the present value of pension, healthcare and ... Continue reading
Research

IEA releases report on the benefits of pre-funded pension systems

Summary: From the mid-1990s to the onset of the financial crisis, prefunded pension systems, based on individual retirement savings accounts, were spreading around the world. The UK was initially a world leader in this, due to the system of contracting out, which had allowed people to opt out of part of the state pension scheme ... Continue reading
Research

Reform of disability benefit system must be prioritised in face of an ageing population

Summary: The UK introduced its first nationwide programme of sickness benefits in 1948. It initially cost around £2 billion per year in today’s prices. The UK now spends over £37 billion annually on various disability-related benefits, a figure which is still rising. More than 5 million people are in receipt of at least one such ... Continue reading
Research

UK’s current version of industrial strategy will do little to boost productivity

Summary:  Despite its considerable strengths, the UK economy is seen as having a number of problems, in particular productivity which lags behind some competitors, low levels of investment and persistent regional disparities. Following the referendum decision to leave the EU, there is wide interest in developing a new industrial strategy. The Prime Minister and others ... Continue reading
Research

Poor NHS performance is costing thousands of lives a year

Summary: Despite some relative improvements in the last fifteen years, the National Health Service remains an international laggard in terms of those health outcomes that can be attributed to the healthcare system. In international comparisons of health system performance, the NHS almost always ranks in the bottom third, on a par with the Czech Republic ... Continue reading
Research

The costs & consequences of restrictions on migration

Summary: Immigration is perhaps the most controversial political issue in Britain today. It is a key reason why 52 per cent of Britons voted to leave the European Union in June 2016. Yet negative misperceptions about migration abound. People greatly overestimate the immigrant share of the population and many wrongly believe that openness to migration ... Continue reading
Research

IEA releases new briefing on infrastructure spending

Executive Summary: Chancellor Philip Hammond has been urged to increase government infrastructure spending to counteract any economic slowdown (demand management) and to improve the productive potential of the economy (supplyside reform). Yet the ‘Keynesian’ function of infrastructure spending ignores the opportunity cost of such activity. Even if it worked theoretically, timing problems create challenges, whilst ... Continue reading
Research

Turning statutory regulation into private regulation for the UK's taxi industry

Summary:   Over the past two years, there has been a worldwide regulatory backlash against new smartphone-app-based Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) operators, with Uber probably being the most emblematic one. While a few regulatory clarifications can be justified, the vast majority of measures have been transparent attempts to obstruct the growth of this sector, in order ... Continue reading