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.

Why scrambling back to 2019 is not progress

Loyal readers will know my fascination with Keith Jarrett’s unplayable piano. In 1975, the jazz pianist was prevailed upon — against his better judgment — to take the stage in front of a large audience at the Cologne opera house. Thanks to a mix-up, Jarrett was forced...

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How to tackle vaccine hesitancy

In rich countries there are plenty of vaccines, but we seem to be running out of people who want them. This is frustrating. The vaccines are a medical miracle — safe, more effective than we dared to hope and produced with unprecedented speed. They are the way out of...

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How to spot scientists who peddle bad data

I never planned to fake my data. My project involved interviewing the customers visiting a games shop in central London, then analysing the distance they had travelled. Arriving at the location with a clipboard, I realised that I didn’t have the nerve. I slunk home...

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Does economics have a problem with women?

When Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to receive the Nobel memorial prize in economics, in 2009, she quipped: “I won’t be the last.” Although she has since been proved right, it was nonetheless astonishingly late in the day for such a landmark. Adding to the...

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