Promoting economic freedom in Muslim-majority countries is key to prosperity

The IEA’s Islamic Foundations of a Free Society, written by a range of Islamic scholars, sheds a great deal of light on questions about Islam’s compatibility with a free society and a free economy. This book aims to inform those in the West who view Islam with fear and suspicion, while encouraging Muslims to remember and … Continue reading “Islamic Foundations of a Free Society”

The costs of agricultural exceptionalism and the precautionary principle

Summary: The precautionary principle provides non-farming interest groups with a pseudo-official means of influencing policy. The result is a drift towards overregulation and regulatory failures which are in conflict with the efficient working of the single market. Pressure groups have used a broad definition of the precautionary principle to bring about regulation in the areas of … Continue reading “Ploughing the Wrong Furrow”

Former World Bank economist says advancing political & economic freedom is the way to alleviate poverty

Summary: Hopes for development aid remain high among Western politicians and pundits, but the evidence is depressing. Foreign aid has on average probably no effect on long-run growth. To understand the failure of many development projects, we need a deeper consideration of the failure of top-down planning in general, a lesson Hayek taught. Without the … Continue reading “The Economics of International Development”

Adopt Icelandic style fisheries policy to boost sustainability

Executive Summary:  Whatever trade arrangement the UK decides to adopt with the EU post-Brexit, the UK government will have authority over fisheries policy. Under the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), after many years of stock decline, there has been a recent stabilisation and even increase in stocks. However, the CFP is not an effective way … Continue reading “Fisheries policy outside the EU: A Briefing”
Co-Published Books

Global economic freedom up slightly; UK ranks 10th among 159 jurisdictions

Executive Summary: The index published in Economic Freedom of the World measures the degree to which the policies and institutions of countries are supportive of economic freedom. The cornerstones of economic freedom are personal choice, voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and compete, and security of the person and privately owned property. Forty-two data points … Continue reading “Economic Freedom of the World Index 2016”

A critique of the Communication Workers Union's rent control proposals

Introduction: Rent controls are firmly back on the political agenda. At the national level the reintroduction of rent controls is now official Labour Party policy. At the London level Mayor Sadiq Khan calls for their reintroduction as well. Politicians, however, are in this case merely following a shift in the Overton Window which has already … Continue reading “The Key to Affordable Housing”

SMPC minutes September 2016

In its September 2016 e-mail poll, the Shadow Monetary Policy Committee (SMPC) elected, by a vote of Eight to One, to hold rates in September. The dissenting votes were for immediate rises in rates — in one case to 1% and in the other to 0.75%. Those voting were united in their criticism of the Bank … Continue reading “SMPC votes Seven / Two to Hold Bank Rate in September”
Executive summary:  Spending on fixed odd betting terminals (FOBTs) makes up only 13.6 per cent of the UK’s total gambling expenditure. This is less than half the amount spent on either lotteries or online gambling. The amount spent on FOBTs  has been greatly exaggerated in the media as a result of confusion about what is … Continue reading “Fixed-odds betting terminals: A briefing”

Bringing capital taxation into the 21st century

Summary: Corporation tax is an inefficient way to raise government revenue. It has a negative impact on growth, investment and entrepreneurship. A 2014 review of the literature found that 57.6 per cent of the amount raised by corporation tax is borne by workers. Since 1981, the average corporate tax rate in key OECD countries has … Continue reading “Why corporation tax should be scrapped”

Minimising taxes on low risk tobacco products will improve public health

Summary: The branch of economics that studies preferences and choices as they relate to costs and benefits is the natural starting point – indeed the only apparent candidate for a rational starting point – for understanding these phenomena as they relate to tobacco/nicotine use. Many implications of substituting low-risk alternatives (e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco) for smoking, … Continue reading “Understanding the basic economics of tobacco harm reduction”