Research

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”
Research

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”
Research

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”
Research
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”
Research

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”
Research

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”
Research

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”
Research

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”