In normal times, a welfare system based on handing out cash to almost everybody, whether they need it or not, would be far too expensive, poorly targeted, and distortionary. I’m therefore still opposed to a permanent ‘Universal Basic Income’ (UBI). But these are not, of course, normal times. There is a much stronger case for … Continue reading Universal Basic Income – revisited
Category: Applied economics
How hard will coronavirus hit UK GDP? This may seem like the wrong question to ask in the midst of a health emergency. The new coronavirus outbreak is a social crisis above all else. Even in narrow economic terms, some sort of hit to GDP is inevitable and even desirable: we actually want many people … Continue reading UK economy makes a handbrake turn
I’ve not said much about the impact of the new coronavirus, partly because it’s a human tragedy and commenting on the economic and market implications can seem insensitive. It can also be hard not to appear complacent. But given the mounting concerns, reflected in the sharp falls in global equity prices in the past week, … Continue reading First thoughts on the coronavirus outbreak
Ever since the 2016 referendum, Brexit pessimists have been highlighting the damage that they think has already been done to UK GDP by the vote to leave. This narrative is looking increasingly tired. Indeed, last year the UK economy actually grew faster than its peers in the rest of the EU. Now that Brexit is … Continue reading Has Brexit Britain turned the corner?
Here is a presentation I gave on 25th February at a schools conference for A-level economics students... Schools presentation on the productivity puzzle (25th Feb 2020)
This may sound like heresy to many economists, not least my former colleagues at the Treasury, but I’m coming around to the view that fiscal rules are overrated. Of course, fiscal credibility is important and must be protected. But fiscal rules are often more of a hindrance than a help. For a start, rules on … Continue reading What should we do with the fiscal rules?
The news that the number of people working on zero-hours contracts has risen to a new record high has prompted fresh calls for a ban. If you're employed on one of these contracts and like it, tough. How on earth did we come to this? To recap, a 'zero-hours contract' is simply a form of … Continue reading Why zero-hours contracts are a good thing