Benjamin Born, Gernot Müller, Moritz Schularick, Petr Sedláček, 28 November 2017

It is hard to calculate the current cost of Brexit, because there is no obvious counterfactual. This column calculates the cost by letting a matching algorithm determine which combination of comparison economies best resembles the pre-referendum growth path of the UK economy. The difference in output between the UK economy and its synthetic doppelganger adds up to a loss of 1.3% of GDP, or close to £300 million per week, since the vote took place. This implies a cumulative cost of more than £60 billion by the end of 2018.

Holger Breinlich, Elsa Leromain, Dennis Novy, Thomas Sampson, 20 November 2017

On 23 June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU. As soon as the result became clear, sterling depreciated sharply and, since the vote, UK inflation has dramatically increased. This column asks how much of the rise in inflation is due to the referendum. It finds that the referendum result pushed up UK inflation by 1.7 percentage points, which amounts to an annual (and potentially permanent) cost of £404 for the average British household.

Brian Nolan, Max Roser, Stefan Thewissen, 27 August 2016

With inequality rising and household incomes across developed countries stagnating, accurate monitoring of living standards cannot be achieved by relying on GDP per capita alone. This column analyses the path of divergence between household income and GDP per capita for 27 OECD countries. It finds several reasons why GDP per capita has outpaced median incomes, and recommends assigning median income a central place in official monitoring and assessment of living standards over time.

Howard Bodenhorn, Timothy Guinnane, Thomas Mroz, 22 July 2015

Were living standards during early industrialisation as terrible as we imagine? Robert Fogel, the Nobel prize-winning economic historian, taught us a great deal about studying long-term living standards through looking into people’s height. This column argues that one of Fogel’s early claims turns out to have, at best, a weak foundation. The measured decline of mean height during industrialisation reflects in large part the nature of the data sources, not necessarily changes in the height of the underlying populations. The Industrial Revolution did not necessarily make people shorter.

Thorvaldur Gylfason, 06 June 2008

Norwegians enjoy a very high standard of living. Is it due to their oil? This column describes the country’s impressive economic development during the twentieth century and highlights lessons from Norway’s management of its oil wealth.

Richard Baldwin, 12 February 2008

Raising incomes of the world’s poorest is about more than raising living standards. Poverty kills. This column discusses recent research illustrating the links between extreme poverty and early death.