Month: January 2013

Functioning coalition or zombie government?

What is going to happen next? This week’s vote to postpone changes to the boundaries of electoral constituencies was the first time the Liberal Democrats have voted en masse against the Conservatives. We may well argue that this vote was justified in political terms once it became clear […]

Looking to the past on expectations of the future

The way in which economic agents form expectations about the future is one of the most important issues in economics. All economic theory has to take a position on the matter, whether it is discussed explicitly or the treatment is left implicit. For three decades now the rational […]

Is financial innovation a good idea?

Is financial innovation a good thing or a bad thing? Is it possible to tell in advance? Some might recall Warren Buffett’s comments in 2003, when he characterised derivatives as financial weapons of mass destruction, and suggest that perhaps it is. We know that novel, complex and non-transparent […]

Who’s who in the private rented sector?

[Originally posted at the Guardian Housing Network, 25/01/13] The most striking change in the British housing market over the last decade is the growth of private renting. Last week, Mark Prisk, the housing minister, indicated in the Spectator that further growth is desirable. He wants to make the […]

Housing associations and the impacts of welfare reform

Organisations providing services to lower income households and those receiving social security no doubt started 2013 with some unease, if not a distinct sense of foreboding. For some the money may imminently be running out, as government grants come to an end. The concern there is, for example, […]

The peculiarities of plebgate

There is little doubt that the so-called “plebgate” affair leading to Andrew Mitchell’s resignation was decidedly peculiar. It had momentum in the media because it pandered to preconceptions of the Tory Cabinet as a bunch of out of touch, condescending and rather unpleasant upper class twits. In the […]