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Coastal dwellers should take their own chances

When the sea defies mankind’s efforts to keep it in place, the shore people want these costs, too, to fall on the public at large.

They may not find a Jobs – but Pisa tests lean in the right direction

To say comparisons of academic performance are always imperfect and open to revision is not to say they cannot be made at all.

How I learnt the power of checklists

A good checklist is selective – it doesn’t cover mistakes that are rarely made; no one goes on holiday without their suitcase. Or mistakes that don’t matter – toothpaste is available almost everywhere.

The Scots will gripe but, even so, let there be light

John analyses the myths and realities of timezones and summer time – and supports moves in the British Parliament to move to Central European Time.

Choice – Renata Salecl

Faced with the choice of over a hundred 100 jams, I reduced the number of alternatives to 30 or so, and then … well, I finally walked out of the shop without having bought any jam at all. People are overwhelmed by variety of choice.

A good economist knows the true value of the arts

Activities that are good in themselves are good for the economy, and activities that are bad in themselves are bad for the economy. The only intelligible meaning of “benefit to the economy” is the contribution – direct or indirect – the activity makes to the welfare of ordinary citizens.

Bookreview: Uncommon Sense

Bookreview: Uncommon Sense: economic insights, from marriage to terrorism by Gary Becker and Richard Posner

First-class driving makes little economic sense

The benefit of road improvements is principally the reduced time and strain on private motorists, not the economic advantages to road transport operators: that lesson should influence the way we plan our road networks. Fast roads for light traffic are much cheaper to build than superhighways.

Dismal, yes, but economics flies off the shelves

If you want a book on economics to take to the beach, you are spoiled for choice at the airport bookstall. What you will find falls into three categories: Thump books, microeconomics books with little economics and the macroeconomic story-teller.

Managers doomed to repeat the mistakes of history

The Whiz Kids’ capacity for analysis far exceeded their knowledge of the world to which it was applied.