Laurence Kotlikoff, 26 October 2012

The UK’s Independent Commission on Banking set out to make banking safer, to ensure that what just happened won’t happen again, and to change both the structure and regulation of banking as needed. But this column argues that the Commission fails to achieve any of these aims. It instead proposes a new way to make the financial system and wider economy safer.

Hilary Steedman, 06 October 2012

As in every downturn, youth unemployment is a serious concern. This column looks at apprenticeship policy in England. It argues that England is a long way off the apprentice numbers of countries like Germany but with a clear strategy, some nudging, and flexibility, England could realistically aim for the prize that has so far eluded it – higher skills and high youth participation in the workforce.

Richard Dobbs, Anu Madgavkar, 19 September 2012

Unemployment in the US and UK is over 8% and in many Eurozone countries is far higher. This column argues that we can’t just blame the recession – this is also symptomatic of long-term trends that, without a concerted effort by policymakers, will continue to stunt growth, deepen income inequality, weigh on public budgets, and cause living standards in many countries to stagnate.

Ian Tonks, Edmund Cannon, 20 August 2012

The UK is about to make a massive change to its pension system. From October 2012, employers will be obliged to automatically enrol employees into a pension scheme – though individuals can opt-out. This column explores what this might mean for pension funding and argues that the risks are to the downside.

Abigail Hughes, Jumana Saleheen, 19 August 2012

Worker productivity in the UK and a number of other countries has been persistently weak since the onset of the global crisis. This column argues that, in the UK at least, the weakness in service sector productivity is the biggest puzzle. In most other countries the weakness is more obvious in manufacturing.

Nitika Bagaria, Dawn Holland, Jonathan Portes, John Van Reenen, 14 August 2012

While most economists agree that the UK and other countries need to cut back to ensure the sustainability of their public finances, the debate rages over when and by how much. This column argues that the timing matters – starting too early, before the economy has recovered, will have substantial economic costs.

David Greenaway, 16 June 2012

The defiant attitude that no crisis should go to waste has understandably become more popular in recent years. This column argues that the on-going financial crises provide an important incentive for new thinking on government competitiveness and industrial policy, particularly for what to do when the crises end.

David Greenaway, 14 June 2012

This joint BIS-CEPR-ESRC eBook looks at the UK’s medium-term growth prospects and the role that policy might have in shaping the economy’s growth trajectory once it emerges from recession.

Joseph Noss, Rhiannon Sowerbutts, 17 June 2012

A credible threat of failure is an integral part of any industry. But this does not always apply to banks as failure may result in unacceptable economic costs. As a result, unprecedented amounts of public money have been used to avert bank failure. This column explains why the subsidy arises, why it is a public policy concern, and how it can be quantified.

Lucrezia Reichlin, Domenico Giannone, Jasper McMahon, Saverio Simonelli, 02 May 2012

According to official statistics, the UK and Europe are heading for recession, while the US is recovering. This has led some to suggest that European economies are moving in the opposite direction to the US. This column, written by the co-founders of Now-Casting, presents new now-casting estimates that put Europe and the US even further apart.

John Van Reenen, 29 March 2012

The UK’s recent budget reflects tensions felt throughout Europe – how to stem massive budget deficits while not choking off growth. The UK is often held up as a model for voluntary austerity, but this column argues that its policies are a poor model for growth. It asserts that there is a deep intellectual vacuum at the heart of the budget and the government’s approach to economic growth in general.

Jonathan Portes, 07 February 2012

What does it mean to be a ‘Keynesian’? This column argues that, like so much in economics, the label has become politicised. The cost is an impoverished policy debate that is resulting in millions of avoidable job cuts.

Charles Goodhart, 02 February 2012

Inflation in the UK is now more than double that of France, but only one country has had its credit rating downgraded. This column argues that government credit ratings should be aided by a second rating measuring the potential loss of real value, whether by inflation or default.

Holger Görg, Ingo Geishecker, Christiane Krieger-Boden, 24 December 2011

The effects of offshoring on wages remain a hotly debated issue. This column explores the case of UK firms between 1992 and 2004, recognising that offshoring in one particular industry may also affect labour demand in other industries. It suggests that services and materials offshoring increase the wages of high-skilled workers and decreases the wages of low- and medium-skilled workers, thus contributing to a rising wage inequality.

Daniel Gros, 29 November 2011

With European governments cutting back on spending, many are asking whether this could make matters worse. In the UK for instance, recent OECD estimates suggest that ‘austerity’ will lead to another recession, which in turn may lead to a higher debt-to-GDP ratio than before. As the debate heats up, this column provides some cool economic logic.

Charles Manski, 22 November 2011

Policymakers and the media often rely on official estimates. But with policies that are so complex and often untested, these estimates are at best rough guesses – so why not be honest about it? This column calls for confidence intervals to be used in future policy debates.

Michael Joyce, Matthew Tong, Robert Woods, 01 November 2011

With the Bank of England recently announcing an additional £75 billion of quantitative easing, a reasonable question to ask is whether the last £200 billion has made any difference. This argues that QE may have helped boost real GDP by as much as 2% and inflation by 1.5%, similar to the effect from a drop in the base rate of around 300 basis points.

Roger Alford, 12 September 2011

Ever since public money was used to bail out banks, the public has been demanding change in the way they are run. This is particularly the case in the UK, where the Independent Banking Commission presents its final report today. If it calls for a breakup of Britain’s banks into deposit and investment banks, this column argues that to follow such advice would be a grave mistake.

Amanda Goodall, 21 July 2011

Are hospitals better run by former doctors or by specialist managers? This column looks at the top-ranking hospitals in the US and finds that hospital-quality scores are about 25% higher in physician-run hospitals than in the average hospital.

Jennifer C Smith, 18 July 2011

Labour-market policy can try to make it easier to get hired or harder to get fired. This column asks which of these approaches policymakers should prioritise. Focusing on the UK, it finds that while job-finding rates could be improved, policies aimed at reducing the amount of job losses during a recession play an equally important role despite being less in vogue.

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