Articles

Votes for UKIP and independence reflect inadequacies in our political system

Citizens express dissatisfaction with the current state of politics and the economy in time-honoured fashion, by hostility to anonymous others and complaint that too much power is exercised by people who are out of touch with their needs.

Rule of the vigilante is not the way to handle business misconduct

There are good reasons for state action in areas of business misconduct. But announcing ad hoc measures against companies in the news is the wrong way.

Economic growth allows us to choose longer lives – surely that’s a good thing?

Life-saving advances are the greatest benefit of technological change. And yet when pundits discuss the future, the excitement around driverless cars and nanotechnology gives way to long faces when the topic moves to human longevity. It may be nice to live longer, but what about the effect on the economy?

Payday loans should be regulated more pragmatically

Payday lending changed its character because technological changes made it possible to target a new demographic profile. A genie has escaped the bottle, and it has to be coaxed back gently; attacked directly, it is likely to prove slippery and evasive.

Government by announcement undermines UK energy policy

Government by announcement is now characteristic of British politics. The goal is to make statements that will receive favourable media coverage. But this has been particularly damaging to energy policy.

Scottish No vote makes independence more likely

The No side never grasped that the central argument of the Yes campaign is that Scotland is different. Every measure that respects the differences, far less emphasises or extends them, gives strength to those who favour independence.

Scotland can prosper whether Yes or No

Scotland has prospered as part of a United Kingdom and could prosper as an independent country. Which course is more appropriate is a question of identity and values, not economics. And whatever the outcome of the referendum, sensible people will work together to ensure that outcome produces the best possible economic result.

Tricky questions for Scots lucky enough to have a vote

While most of the debate surrounding Scottish independence has been about economic matters, the economic arguments are far from conclusive either way. The real questions concern the sort of country Scots and Scotland’s residents want. The nation’s political future will drive the economics.

The wisest choices depend on instinct and careful analysis

We have a large consultancy business of transport modellers, environmental experts, risk managers and impact assessment modellers, the front line of an army that has turned evidence-based policy into policy-based evidence.

Why simple and robust regulation is the way to reduce financial complexity

Much of the complexity of modern finance is the result of regulatory arbitrage – avoiding or minimising restrictions by engaging in a transaction with more or less identical effect but more favourable regulatory treatment. Many regulators still cling to the hope that it could be eliminated if only rules were sufficiently extensive and sufficiently carefully prescribed. But this is an illusion.