The deadweight loss of Christmas

Dear Economist is a column published in the Financial Times magazine and, usually, on their website. This did not appear on the website and I’ve taken the liberty of posting it here. Dear Economist, I don’t want to be a Scrooge, but every year the...

Warranties and risk aversion

Dear Economist, My wife and I can never agree about buying extended warranties. She says they’re a waste of money, I say better safe than sorry. Isn’t it just a matter of opinion? — R.A., Taunton Dear R.A., Needless to say, your wife is quite...

The real curse of oil

This piece was published at Open Democracy – it’s closely based on the FT Comment piece, “Iraq’s oil wealth must flow straight to its people”, below. But this piece is a little longer. The real curse of oil

In search of the inside story of economics

Let’s play a game of trust. I give you £10. The rules of the game are that you can keep it, or give it away to an anonymous person whom you will never meet. If you decide to do that, the money will be quadrupled to £40. Then your anonymous beneficiary may either...

Builders and the winner’s curse

Dear Economist, I have bought a dilapidated house and hired some professional builders to renovate it. I thought I could ensure a good deal by soliciting a variety of quotes and estimates and choosing the lowest ones. But from the plumber to the decorators, every...

Pin It on Pinterest