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”

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?”

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”

The defeat of the Treasury must not be final

For most advisers toiling within government, the standard daily routine is simple: “wake up/go to work/try to do things/get told you can’t by the Treasury/grumble a lot/go home”. OK, I exaggerate: there is the whole maddening business of government by collective agreement to wade through. This means that any other department, from the mighty HomeContinue reading “The defeat of the Treasury must not be final”

Trying to start a fight between the Bank of England and Resolution Foundation

It is excellent that the Resolution Foundation has embarked upon serious macro-economic wonkery. Their opening salvo – “Recession Ready?: Assessing the UK’s macroeconomic framework” – is as good an introduction to the state of play as you can find. They call it “the most comprehensive assessment of the UK’s macroeconomic policy framework since the financialContinue reading “Trying to start a fight between the Bank of England and Resolution Foundation”

Would it matter if we built “a million too many houses” anyway?

The previous post about housing supply kicked off quite a debate (by the standards of my Twitter stream). It reminded me of how for 90% of the time I have been arguing against Ian on the whole housing supply issue and probing what will always feel like a counterintuitive thesis – that building many moreContinue reading “Would it matter if we built “a million too many houses” anyway?”

Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong

Around three years ago in some bistro in Soho, Ian Mulheirn startled a tableful of economists going at their cassoulet with the bland statement: “Housing? It is not a supply problem”. To call this heresy is melodramatic. We just thought he was winding us up. To question the mantra “just build more houses already” feltContinue reading “Ian Mulheirn says UK housing is not a supply problem. No one can prove him wrong”