Who is social housing for, and who should it be for?

Yesterday I participated in a consultation event organised by Bristol City Council. it was designed to start a debate locally about the revision of social housing allocations policy. My talk, which ranged rather more broadly than simply allocations policy, is a bit too long to include in a […]

Curbing the welfare hate

We’ve now had three years of the blue-tinged contingent of the Coalition perpetrating a sustained attack on social security recipients – those slugabed skivers – in the name of curbing the deficit. Yesterday’s post at the Guardian again maps the profoundly negative tone of the language that has […]

Is a little economics dangerous?

A few weeks ago I had a brief exchange on Twitter with @unlearningecon about the possibility of introductory economics instruction going beyond teaching the neoclassical model of perfect competition and exploring alternatives. If I remember correctly our exchange didn’t get much beyond me saying that to do so […]

Evidence or otherwise on Housing Benefit reform

The mainstream media seem finally to have cottoned on to the fact that our welfare system is to undergo substantial change tomorrow. I mentioned a couple of months ago that the changes around the so-called bedroom tax were, belatedly, attracting broader media interest. And the media are connecting […]

The Q#1 quintet

Here are the five posts published on this blog between January and March 2013 that recorded the most hits: Help to buy? (20th March) The politics of the bedroom tax (9th February) Clegg courts catastrophe (10th March) Research and the policy process (13th February) The boundaries of academic […]

On local governance and elected mayors

On Friday we published a report on the prospects for an elected mayor in Bristol. It is the first report from the Bristol Civic Leadership Project. The prospects report was based primarily on views collected from around Bristol prior to the mayoral election in November. It drew on […]

Help to Buy?

The objections to George Osborne’s latest wheeze to assist the housing market are hardly worth discussing. They are almost too obvious. And they have been rehearsed at length in relation to similar, smaller scale initiatives that have already been tried. The new “Help to Buy” scheme, announced in […]

On returning

Most of us have passions, or at the very least hobbies, that give great pleasure, provide distraction, and occupy time. It may be playing golf, supporting a football team or crocheting. Spending time playing darts in the pub or baking unnecessarily complicated cakes. And as likely as not […]

A couple of off-key incidentals from Cameron

The text of David Cameron’s speech today to the National Conservative Convention contains the following passage: … We give people the tools to succeed. Yes, we believe self-reliance is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean “you’re on your own”. You can’t just say to the teenager who […]

Wise words

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“a person is not likely to be a good political economist who is nothing else”
(JS Mill, 1806-1873)

“Poverty is a great enemy to human happiness; it certainly destroys liberty, and it makes some virtues impracticable, and others extremely difficult”
(Samuel Johnson, 1709-94)

“The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable”
(JK Galbraith, 1908-2006)