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Bank holidays & productivity

Chris Dillow / April 23, 2017 at 12:07 PM 171 views

Labour wants us to have more bank holidays. There might be a good economic case for this. My chart hints at the point. It shows that, across 35 OECD nations, there is a very strong negative correlation (of minus 0.77)…

"Not enough money"

Chris Dillow / April 21, 2017 at 12:13 PM 189 views

On the Today programme this morning John Humphrys repeated an ancient ideological trick of the right. He asked (1’24” in): Why should the British taxpayer when they see that there’s not enough money for instance for hospitals or schools…why should…

The conservative Left

Chris Dillow / April 20, 2017 at 12:34 PM 46 views

In some respects, it is the right who are Marxists and we leftists who are conservatives. Take for example, this characterization of Marx: The dictatorship of the proletariat…is characterized by majority rule, extra-legality, dismantling of the state apparatus and revocability…

Neither inequality nor poverty

Chris Dillow / April 19, 2017 at 10:23 AM 210 views

Was Blair right? Miles and Simon have been debating this. Blair said (pdf): I don’t care if there are people who earn a lot of money. They’re not my concern. I do care about people who are without opportunity, disadvantaged…

Against marginal product

Chris Dillow / April 16, 2017 at 12:31 PM 70 views

David Moyes says Jordan Pickford has been a better player than Dele Alli this season. This set me wondering about marginal productivity theory. To see my point, think about how we’d test Moyes’ claim. We could look at what the…

On "mainstream" economics

Chris Dillow / April 13, 2017 at 12:35 PM 201 views

“It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” I was reminded of this quote from Deng Xiaoping by the debate between Simon, Brad and Unlearning Economics over the role of mainstream economics.…

The edge of competency

Chris Dillow / April 12, 2017 at 12:05 PM 181 views

Watching some of Arsenal’s recent performances has been like seeing the debate about Syria – and not just in the sense that both are utterly dispiriting. What I mean is that in both recall to me the wise words of…

The sporting life, & taxes

Chris Dillow / April 10, 2017 at 12:58 PM 83 views

One question that was doing the rounds on Twitter over the weekend was: would you rather have a big trust fund or sporting ability that enabled you to earn similar money? The question makes sense because a trust fund and…

Immigration mechanisms

Chris Dillow / April 7, 2017 at 12:35 PM 240 views

Jonathan Portes makes a vitally important point – that statistics are reality. Apparently arid numbers summarize the lived experience of real people. As Raymond Wolfinger said, “the plural of anecdote is data”. Statistics tell us about facts, whereas anecdotes are…

A right-wing case for taxing private schools

Chris Dillow / April 6, 2017 at 12:18 PM 229 views

Sensible right-wingers should support Labour's plan to impose VAT on private schools. Let’s start from the fact that Labour wants to “bash the rich”, and you’ll not convince them otherwise. The question therefore is whether to do this by taxing…

The paradoxes of plebiscites

Chris Dillow / April 5, 2017 at 1:30 PM 300 views

In pointing out that re-joining the EU will be damnably difficult, Simon reminds us of the massive difference between representative democracy and plebiscitary politics. One great virtue of representative democracy is that it allows for mistakes to be corrected. Wrong’uns…

Wages & productivity

Chris Dillow / April 4, 2017 at 12:57 PM 248 views

Would higher wages boost economic growth? They might, if the marginal propensity to spend out of wages is higher than that out of profits. However, Ben Chu suggests a different mechanism – that higher wages might stimulate growth via the…

Brexit as raising the inflation target

Chris Dillow / April 2, 2017 at 11:58 AM 68 views

Friday’s figures confirming that real GDP grew by 0.7 per cent in Q3 seem to have confirmed Brexiters’ claim that “Project Fear” was wrong to have predicted an immediate adverse impact of the vote to leave the EU. There is,…

Brexit: the state capacity question

Chris Dillow / March 30, 2017 at 12:34 PM 195 views

Most Leavers want to bring back the death penalty. This confirms Remainers’ prejudices that Leavers are a bunch of social conservatives who want to turn the clock back to 1955. I suspect, though, that there might also be a more…

Newt troubles

Chris Dillow / March 29, 2017 at 12:50 PM 254 views

Why has the UK suffered weak economic growth for years? Is it because falling profits have choked off investment? Is it because there’s a dearth of good innovations? Or because of fiscal austerity? Or because the Bank of England has…

Keynes’ flaws

Chris Dillow / March 28, 2017 at 1:06 PM 186 views

Michael Roberts reminds us of something important – that Keynesian economics has severe shortcomings. I agree. For me, the problem with Keynes was what he didn’t say. He was largely silent about three related issues: class, power and profits, or…

The populist paradox

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM 262 views

Danny Finkelstein in the Times is good on the need to resist attempts to bully the Supreme Court. He says: Our institutions – parliament, government, the courts – must serve a plural society, they must balance interests and protect rights.…

Why not centrism?

Chris Dillow / December 6, 2016 at 2:05 PM 758 views

Some people want to revive centrism. Tony Blair wants to “build a new policy agenda for the centre ground”. And the Lib Dems’ victory in Richmond Park is being seen as a warning to the Tories that it must “keep…

Elites or people?

Chris Dillow / December 1, 2016 at 1:13 PM 366 views

The votes for Trump and Brexit have highlighted a division between “elites” and the “people”. For me, though, this is the wrong dichotomy. The question instead is: under what conditions are the people right, and under what conditions are elites…

Criminally stupid

Chris Dillow / November 29, 2016 at 1:33 PM 384 views

There is a point at which stupidity ceases to be a merely intellectual error and becomes a crime. If Nick Cohen is right, the government has crossed this point. He writes: [David] Davis seems closer in spirit to a bubbly…