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Neoliberalism & productivity

Chris Dillow / February 26, 2017 at 1:08 PM 166 views

Chris Edwards says the privatizations started by Thatcher “transformed the British economy” and boosted productivity. This raises an under-appreciated paradox. The thing is that privatization isn’t the only thing to have happened since the 1980s which should have raised productivity,…

Ignoring people

Chris Dillow / February 23, 2017 at 1:19 PM 153 views

Are economists - even when they are right - guilty of ignoring people’s real experiences? I ask because of the row over business rates. Some businesses face a big increase in these. To this, it’s tempting for economists to point…

Missing markets

Chris Dillow / February 22, 2017 at 2:33 PM 63 views

Why is there such a long lag between good economic ideas and their implementation? I’m prompted to ask by the death of the great Kenneth Arrow. He showed (pdf) that, under certain conditions, it was possible for competitive markets to…

The left’s Brexit dilemma

Chris Dillow / February 21, 2017 at 1:50 PM 170 views

Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to accept the “will of the people” on Brexit has been forcefully attacked, for example by Ed Vulliamy – with some justification. I fear, however, that we are perhaps under-estimating the extent to which the left faces…

Replacing Wenger

Chris Dillow / February 17, 2017 at 2:13 PM 62 views

Should Arsene Wenger go? If so who should replace him? In considering these questions we must remember three important economic principles. One is that in hiring someone what matters is putting round pegs into round holes. Productivity often results not…

Healing Labour’s class divide

Chris Dillow / February 16, 2017 at 1:32 PM 240 views

There’s an emerging consensus that the Labour party’s longstanding coalition between workers and middle class intellectuals is breaking down. Bo Rothstein says the “alliance between the industrial working class and what one might call the intellectual-cultural Left is over.” Julian…

Low job mobility

Chris Dillow / February 15, 2017 at 2:03 PM 246 views

It’s sometimes said that we live in times of unusual economic uncertainty, with new businesses disrupting old ones and robots threatening to take our jobs. Today’s labour market data seem to undermine such claims, as they show unusual stability in…

House prices as leaky bucket

Chris Dillow / February 14, 2017 at 2:04 PM 215 views

The Resolution Foundation says (pdf) that the typical pensioner now has a higher income, after housing costs, than the typical worker. Which poses the question: do younger people have a legitimate complaint here? I think the answer’s yes. First, though,…

The trouble with experts

Chris Dillow / February 13, 2017 at 2:13 PM 211 views

Paul raises an important issue: what’s wrong with experts? I suspect the answer is: plenty. These many faults, however, don’t include the failure to foresee the financial crisis. It’s not the job of economists to act as soothsayers, any more…

The case for privatization

Chris Dillow / February 10, 2017 at 1:48 PM 159 views

The FT says the government’s decision to sell off some student loans “makes no sense.” From one perspective, this is true: it’s daft to sell an asset that probably has a positive return in order to pay off debt that…

"Incentives" as bigotry

Chris Dillow / February 9, 2017 at 1:44 PM 334 views

Amber Rudd says she’s stopping child refugees entering the country because “we do not want to incentivise perilous journeys to Europe particularly by the most vulnerable children.” This should remind us of an old trick of the Tory party –…

For a delayed fiscal tightening

Chris Dillow / February 8, 2017 at 1:44 PM 58 views

Our perceptions of the economy are shaped not just by current reality but also by the past. For example, Ulrike Malmendier and Stefan Nagel have shown (pdf) that people who experienced recessions in their formative years are more risk-averse than…

How lies work

Chris Dillow / February 7, 2017 at 1:34 PM 284 views

Nick Cohen makes a good point: it is not congenital liars that should worry us, but congenital believers – those who fall for the lies of charlatans. We know that many do so: almost half of voters believed the lie…

Let’s not debate immigration

Chris Dillow / February 5, 2017 at 1:50 PM 224 views

Yvette Cooper wants a debate about immigration. I think she’s wrong. As Stephen Bush points out, Labour has been calling for such a debate for the past 20 years – and we’ve been having one, insofar as the mindless drivel…

Class & confidence

Chris Dillow / February 2, 2017 at 1:31 PM 230 views

On Radio 4’s Media Show yesterday Andrea Catherwood told Sarah Sands, the incoming editor of the Today programme: The job specification did say that there was a requirement of extensive experience of broadcast journalism and a sound appreciation of studio…

Is the centre-left dead?

Chris Dillow / January 31, 2017 at 2:00 PM 204 views

Branko Milanovic raises a question: is liberalism (or centre-leftism) dead? There’s a precedent here. In the 1970s the combination of rising inflation and high unemployment killed off post-war social democracy in much of the west: Marglin and Schor’s The Golden…

On soft commerce

Chris Dillow / January 29, 2017 at 1:17 PM 66 views

Montesquieu was right. That’s my reaction to Trump’s ban on people from some Muslim countries entering the US. The thing is that, as the Washington Post has pointed out, the ban does not apply to nations where Trump has business…

Why Corbyn’s wrong on Article 50

Chris Dillow / January 28, 2017 at 1:11 PM 281 views

Jeremy Corbyn wants to impose a three-line whip on Labour MPs to compel them to vote in favour of triggering Article 50. I think this is wrong, for the following reasons. 1. Even if we grant that Brexit is the…

The populist paradox

Chris Dillow / December 7, 2016 at 1:59 PM 225 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 690 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…