Since You Asked

My column ran in the Financial Times comment section on Saturdays between 2011 and 2014.

Sorry decline of English social housing

We are getting rid of homes that are compact, cheap, fully used and warm, writes Tim Harford ‘In 2012-13, the private rented sector overtook the social rented sector to become the second largest tenure in England.’ English Housing Survey Headline Report 2012-13,...

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Low inflation can be a disease not a cure

Deflation seems unlikely – but even a low risk is worth losing sleep over, writes Tim Harford ‘UK consumer inflation has fallen below the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target for the first time in four years.’ Financial Times, February 19 Hurrah! Well, perhaps. Why are...

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The seductive appeal of cultural stereotypes

Is it obvious that Jewish or Chinese Americans have superior willpower? asks Tim Harford ‘It may be taboo to say it, but some cultural groups starkly outperform others.’ Jacket blurb of ‘The Triple Package’ by Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld Which cultural groups are they...

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Don’t bet the house on price rises persisting

Supply constraints are not the only cause of the UK’s property inflation, writes Tim Harford ‘George Osborne has admitted that UK housing supply will struggle to keep up with demand for the next decade . . . ’, Financial Times, February 5 I saw the headlines: George...

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A cap on bonuses is of little benefit

Rewards must be aligned with credible performance measures, says Tim Harford ‘George Osborne will face more pressure over bank bonuses on Wednesday, as Labour demands that he blocks state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) from paying bonuses to senior staff worth...

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Life on a flood plain – home and dry

The state has been interfering in protection against floods since 1531 “The Environment Agency, the quango responsible for Britain’s flood defences, is set for 1,700 job losses in the next 12 months even as swaths of the country struggle to recover from the new year...

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The young will inherit wealth or poverty

Inheritance is a demeaning way for a 50-year-old finally to establish a pension, writes Tim Harford ‘Securing a juicy inheritance may prove the best bet for the generation that came of age under Margaret Thatcher, with their prospects for decent retirement incomes...

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Of Bitcoins, bubbles and B&Q vouchers

The object of anarcho-utopian fantasies is of little value if you want a pizza, writes Tim Harford ‘The tiny Channel Island of Alderney is launching an audacious bid to become the first jurisdiction to mint physical Bitcoins.’ Financial Times, November 29 Surely...

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A minute is a long time in economics

High-frequency traders need high-frequency data, writes Tim Harford ‘Market-sensitive data on economic growth, inflation and employment could be “drip-fed” into the public domain because the Office for National Statistics website regularly fails to publish them at...

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