Special topics in The Monday Briefing

Summer reading list

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With the holiday season almost upon us we are launching our summer reading list. The Economics Team read dozens of articles to come up with our top six picks for summer reading. All are available free and on-line. You can save these articles on your iPhone or iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share arrow next to the address bar. To print these articles please use the print icons, where available, on the webpages to ensure the whole article comes out. The Monday Briefing will continue to run throughout the summer.

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Posted on 17/07/2017

Thoughts on the UK General Election

Monday Briefing Barometer
By about 9am last Friday my capacity for surprise had been almost exhausted by the Labour Party’s stunning performance in the General Election. Still, I was a bit puzzled by the phlegmatic reaction of financial markets to the news of a hung parliament.

There was no panicky sell off as we saw last year following the Brexit vote. The fall in the pound was a fraction of that seen last June. The FTSE100 equity index was down over 3% on the Brexit news a year ago; last Friday it rose 1%.

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Posted on 12/06/2017

The plight of white working-class America

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In the wake of the financial crisis the West has witnessed a rise in radical politics of the right and left. One explanation is that the crisis has exacerbated the effects of more longstanding social and economic change.

Two seminal research papers by Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton and Princeton economist Anne Case shed new light on this phenomenon. In a quite remarkable piece of research Deaton and Case examine the effect of adverse economic change, poor education and low social capital on white, working-class Americans.

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Posted on 02/05/2017

UK General Election 2017

Monday Briefing Vote

It is just seven weeks until the UK General Election due on 8th June. Much has changed in the nine months since the UK voted 52% to 48% to leave the EU.

Conservatives and Labour campaigned to remain in the EU but the outcome of the referendum has changed everything. That surprise vote illustrates the power of John Maynard Keynes’, maxim: “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do Sir?”.

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Posted on 24/04/2017

What voters think

Monday Briefing population circle
The polarisation of politics in the Western world has created new challenges to existing political norms. Declining support for established political parties has been paralleled by a growth of alternative, more extreme, parties and politicians. This week we take a look at what voters in the US, UK and Europe are telling pollsters on the big issues.

Mr Trump won a remarkable victory, but he entered office with an approval rating of 45%, a record low for an incoming US President. His rating now stands at 40% compared with an average of 61% for previous Presidents at this stage in their administration.

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Posted on 27/02/2017

Some good news

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the broadest and most ubiquitous measure of economic performance. But as a gauge of human welfare it is wanting. Many factors which contribute to welfare fall entirely or partially outside GDP.

Worse still, many things which contribute to unhappiness - such as crime, pollution or poor health - can raise GDP, at least in the short term.

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Posted on 08/08/2016

What to read on holiday this summer

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The summer break provides a welcome escape from Brexit and an opportunity to spend some time catching up on reading. Our summer reading list provides six readable, thought-provoking articles to ponder on the beach or by the pool. All are available free and online.

You can save these articles on your iPad's reading list by opening the links on Safari and tapping on the share arrow next to the address bar. To print these articles please use the print icons, where available, on the webpages to ensure the whole article comes out.

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Posted on 25/07/2016

Brexit effects

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It is just over two weeks since the EU referendum and some of the consequences are becoming clearer.

The two remaining candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party agree that the UK will leave the EU. The difference at this stage is one of timing. Frontrunner Theresa May sees no need to start the formal process of leaving immediately by triggering Article 50. Andrea Leadsom says she would invoke Article 50 immediately if she became Prime Minister.

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Posted on 11/07/2016

Brexiting is easy, getting the right deal's the hard part

Monday Briefing Brexit
The decision facing UK voters in the polling booths on 23rd June was deceptively simple – to remain in or to leave the EU.

Now comes the hard part. It falls to politicians to interpret the vote and turn it into some sort of reality.

That reality could yet leave the UK as a member of the EU. Yesterday former Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the UK "should keep our options open" on leaving the EU and suggested that as the implications of Brexit emerge the "will of the people" may shift.

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Posted on 04/07/2016

EU referendum - some thoughts

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Pretty much everyone agrees that the UK's referendum has put us into a world of uncertainty and elevated risk. For once the use of the term "Earthquake" in the headlines was not hyperbole.

Saying that things are "uncertain" is obvious but not very helpful.  Quite naturally theories, speculation and forecasts multiply.

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Posted on 27/06/2016