Shortages are really not such a good thing

I am writing this because my liberal instincts appear to be in conflict.  But probably not. Let me explain. First, I am a fan of running the economy hot, and think this can be good for productivity and helping the less well-off.  Second, I am pro-economics, and happen to think that means being in favourContinue reading “Shortages are really not such a good thing”

Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy

This morning’s perusal of the Guardian’s brought forth a small sigh, as there just below the A level story sat the headline “UK green economy four times larger than manufacturing sector, says report”.   Now, I have been marinating myself in sectoral data for months to write this monster, and pretty much know every sectorContinue reading “Sectoral boasts, or a few dumb ways of sizing up the economy”

Services matter, or more on productivity

I miss the speed and spontaneity of blogging, even if it comes at the expense of rigour and completeness.  More on those last two later. A blog feels like the right medium for a quick postscript to the much slower report I published last week, on what sector analysis can tell us about the UK’sContinue reading “Services matter, or more on productivity”

Is all GDP created equal?

Scott Corfe of the Social Market Foundation* has with his team produced an eye-catching report about gambling regulation**. The major headline: while gambling supports thousands of jobs in the economy, clamping down on it is nothing to worry about, because the spending currently diverted to gambling would go elsewhere. In fact, it would probably goContinue reading “Is all GDP created equal?”

There are far worse crimes than being smug

I try to avoid the Sunday press. From its echoes on Twitter, it appears to be a troll-fest through which innocents like me are unpleasantly reminded of the existence of columnists we’d thought had gone to pasture years ago.  And even the thoughtful ones, like Matthew Syed, feel an extra urge to be provocative onContinue reading “There are far worse crimes than being smug”

What you need to think if you are calling for a NGDP target

Don’t worry. I am not going to write another post arguing that the world’s problems would all go away if its central banks adopted a NGDP level target (it has been over 10 years now, give it a rest!). There are plenty out there already: this one by Sam Dumitriu is a good place to start,Continue reading “What you need to think if you are calling for a NGDP target”

Keynes on how to pay for the War, and what to worry about most

It is marvellously calming to pick up a hitherto unread piece by Keynes at a time like this. For some reason, a number of the epoch-making economists of the past were also wonderful writers – I am thinking Smith, Keynes, Friedman and Hayek, whether you agree with them or not – and it is niceContinue reading “Keynes on how to pay for the War, and what to worry about most”

Some of the bailout reading I compiled

OK, so my technique when asked to write a big piece (like my newly published report on Bailout Policy for the Coronavirus Crisis) is to engage in a constant, mind-wearying conversation with myself over email and sometimes with Twitter on the back of all the stuff I read that may have some tangential relationship withContinue reading “Some of the bailout reading I compiled”

We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did

Several aeons have passed since I began thinking about covid-19 bailouts (IFG pamphlet out shortly, watch this space), and still I struggle to get my thoughts straight.  During that time, the blogosphere and in particular VoxEU have drenched us in high-speed, quality thought, even as the facts on the ground have shifted at speed.  JustContinue reading “We didn’t buy pandemic insurance and can’t forever pretend that we did”

What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated

I am pathologically fascinated by political probabilities, and have been for easily 20 years: my first big speculative win in life was to “buy” Labour seats in the 1997 General Election at around 350, and I have been hooked every since. Here are some of the current odds. A meaningful vote to pass in 2019 Continue reading “What the betting markets are saying …. It’s complicated”