A question of identity

Anti-poverty programmes in India have benefited from an iris-scanning ID system that dramatically reduced fraudulent duplicate payouts Imagine you’re a government minister in a developing country, with responsibility for improving the lives of the poorest 20 per cent...

Stop banging the vending machine

‘Starbucks has caved in to public pressure and pledged to pay £10m in UK corporate tax in each of the next two years even if it makes a loss following calls to boycott the coffee chain over its “immoral” tax practices.’ Financial Times Seems like the “tax shaming”...

My verdict on the Autumn Statement

It may be called the Autumn Statement, but there was snow on the ground on Wednesday morning and the chancellor’s political theatre is beginning to impinge on Christmas. Before long, George Osborne will be vying for screen time with Her Majesty’s Christmas message....

On the subject of flood insurance…

A loyal reader emails: In the seminal Kydland and Prescott (1977) paper on time-inconsistency, they give this flood-related example:   The issues are obvious in many well-known problems of public policy. For example, suppose the socially desirable outcome is not...

Dreaming of a tight Christmas

The holiday is good for the economy during a recession. But in more normal conditions, it is a troublesome waste of money Is Christmas good for the economy? I feel grimy just asking the question, since so many campaigns now try to justify as “good for the economy”...

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