Lifestyle Economics

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”
Lifestyle Economics

New IEA briefing shows sugar levy will cost taxpayers billions

Summary:  In March 2016, George Osborne announced a ‘sugar levy’ on soft drink companies to start in April 2018. Under this policy, companies will be taxed on sales of medium and high sugar drinks (excluding fruit juice and milk-based drinks). As an anti-obesity policy, the sugar levy seems arbitrary. Consumption of both sugar and sugary … Continue reading “The Sugar Levy: A Briefing”
Labour Market

Political intervention in wage-setting risks damaging UK employment

Summary: Economics teaches that freely determined pay arrangements are likely to lead to optimal output and employment, with benefits to both employers and employees. Nevertheless politicians are increasingly under pressure to intervene in the determination of pay. Low pay is not synonymous with poverty, but politicians argue that higher minimum wages can help to relieve … Continue reading “And how much do you earn? Public pressure for regulation of pay”
Economic Affairs
Subscribe to Economic Affairs Contents: Introduction (page 117) Contrasting Developments in UK Energy Regulation: Retail Policy and Consumer Engagement (pages 118–132) by Stephen Littlechild Exit and the Epistemic Quality of Voice (pages 133–144) by Brad R. Taylor Intergovernmental Organisations and Economic Freedom: Wise Technocrats or Black Helicopters? (pages 145–154) by Ryan H. Murphy A Novel … Continue reading “Economic Affairs (Vol 36.2)”
Government and Institutions

Leave or Stay: the two best paths to economic freedom

Summary:  There is a noble classical liberal case for a European economic federation. However, the European Union as currently constructed goes way beyond the role necessary or desirable for a supranational body to guarantee economic freedom. The EU is inherently a political project. Instead of allowing diversity and competition between member states, underpinned with the … Continue reading “Making the Pieces Fit: Reforming Britain’s relationship with the EU”
Government and Institutions

IEA releases report on trade agreements & the EU

Summary:  It is widely believed that trade agreements are necessary to enable the UK to prosper in world markets. In reality, unilateral free trade is possible and offers many benefits. The UK’s exports of services to the EU owe little to the Single Market as national barriers to trade in services still dominate in Europe. … Continue reading “No Need To Queue: The benefits of free trade without trade agreements”
Research

Scrap trade agreements to boost free trade

Summary:  It is widely believed that trade agreements are necessary to enable the UK to prosper in world markets. In reality, unilateral free trade is possible and offers many benefits. The UK’s exports of services to the EU owe little to the Single Market as national barriers to trade in services still dominate in Europe. … Continue reading “No Need To Queue: The benefits of free trade without trade agreements”
Research

EU transport policies impose heavy costs on taxpayers & consumers for little benefit

Summary:  Transport policy is increasingly determined at EU level, with national, regional and local governments heavily constrained by a supranational regulatory framework This one-size-fits-all approach has meant regulations have frequently been maladapted to local conditions, and as a result have imposed very large costs on individuals and businesses. In some sectors, such as aviation, EU … Continue reading “Stuck in Brussels: Should transport policy be determined at EU level?”
Labour Market

Myths and bad logic drive obsession with inequality in UK

Summary:  After rising in the mid to late 1980s, most measures of income inequality peaked in around 1990 and have fallen since. The Gini coefficient, for example, is currently lower than it was in 1987 and is close to the EU average. Wealth inequality has not been rising rapidly in the past decade, and is … Continue reading “Never Mind the Gap: Why we shouldn’t worry about inequality”
Research

Bias, technological change and commercial competition necessitate reform

To purchase a copy of In Focus: The Case for Privatising the BBC, click here. To purchase five or more copies, please email [email protected] Summary: In the past, the use of a compulsory levy on television sets (a licence fee) to finance the BBC could be justified given the problem of spectrum scarcity and the … Continue reading “In Focus: The Case for Privatising the BBC”