Undercover Economist

My weekly column in the Financial Times on Saturdays, explaining the economic ideas around us every day. This column was inspired by my book and began in 2005.

Have yourself an atelic little Christmas

A strange thing happened to me one Christmas Day afternoon. I was a young adolescent, certainly not too old to enjoy sweets and gifts and the inevitable Bond movie on the telly. Yet after the presents had been unwrapped, and the turkey and pudding consumed, I found...

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Why are some jobs so “greedy”?

Why do women still tend to earn less than men? There is nobody better placed to answer that question than economic historian Claudia Goldin, the winner of the 2023 Nobel memorial prize in economics. Her answer tells us how to fight unfairness, but also how to create...

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Sometimes a random solution is best

Just over a decade ago, Egypt’s Coptic Christians chose their new pope. The names of three favoured candidates were placed in a glass bowl, then a blindfolded boy selected from the trio at random. Religious people can appeal to the idea that the outcome wasn’t truly...

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