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High-spend politics might make great TV, but democracy pays the price for it

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (pre-Brexit that is), I was vaguely involved in British politics. One thing that always stood out for me was how people from both main parties would often complain that Britis...

Akshata Murty is not alone, non-doms are ten a penny in some circles

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People often accuse academics of being disconnected from events in the outside world, but last week shows that’s not always the case. A Warwick and LSE team has released great new research on non-doms – UK residents w...

Change is unnerving, but history shows human creativity flourishes during a crisis

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Whatever Sheryl Crow says, we’re not convinced change will do us good. When something we rely on disappears, it prompts emotions ranging from anger to panic. But when change is forced on us, our societies and economie...

Petrol prices are driving us to electric cars, and surging utility bills are no deterrent

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The net zero transition is really a big invest-to-save plan. Saving the planet is obviously the main goal, but there are purely financial savings too if you take the long view: we pay upfront in the next few decades f...

Why the left may win out soon because young women don’t toe the line

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Our lives are shaped by the genes, and increasingly the wealth, we inherit from our parents. But there’s also a lot of research showing that parents pass something else on to us – politics. Why did it take the convuls...

Pandemic-driven early retirement isn’t a silver lining when it’s because of ill health

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One of the lasting legacies of this pandemic is that almost half-a-million workers are missing from the labour market. This increase in inactivity – people neither working nor looking for work – is why our employment ...

The secret to having our kids look after us in old age? Skip the hard labour

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It would be nice if the kids were grateful for us looking after them. This isn’t just about improving family relations in the here and now; idealmente, they’d be so grateful that they’d be happy to look after us when the...

Labour shortages may boost investment in technology but people still need help to work

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Record vacancies, as firms complain they can’t find staff. Employers taking that most extreme of measures: raising wages. This is not the usual post-recession story, partly reflecting that the pandemic has shrunk our ...

Even pricey city-centre flats help everyone move up the property ladder

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High housing costs are a disaster for living standards, costing private renters more than 30% of their income and giving London the highest poverty rate in the UK. The economists’ answer is to build more homes in high...

Ending religion lessons in schools leads to overall decline in belief but not morals

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Losing My Religion was one of the defining songs of my youth, thanks to REM. Rather more importantly (unless you care a lot about teenage angst) our collective loss of belief matters hugely for how society has evolved...

Spiralling energy prices will turn the UK’s cost-of-living crisis into a catastrophe

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A cost of living catastrophe is what British families are facing in early 2022. The government has been understandably focused on Omicron but has woken up to this crisis, and is now discussing policy action to address...

Nature plays its part, but school nurtures your brain even better

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Do years in school make you smarter or do smarter people just stay at school for longer? There’s a strong correlation between our IQ scores and the time we spend in education, so consistent with either possibility. Bu...

A banking crisis isn’t just bad for business, it can also poison politics

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Financial crises are a really bad idea. We learned that in the UK with the 2008 banking crisis. It doubled our national debt and was followed by a decade of lost earnings growth. But banks going under contributes to g...

Poor sick pay is bad for ill workers and society at large

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We’ve talked about sick pay before in this column, unsurprisingly, given that a pandemic means lots of ill workers. But while we’ve needed those with Covid to stay at home, it’s been hard, thanks to the lowest statuto...

The debilitating effects of long Covid have just begun to hit economies

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The impact of the pandemic on our economy as we attempt to reopen is top of the agenda, with ships on the wrong side of the globe, gas prices rising and surging demand for many goods going unmet. How big and long last...

Pick the wrong degree and even wedding bells are less likely

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You’ve got to choose carefully what you study at university because the subject determines what you go on to earn. Men taking creative arts degrees on average earn less than if they hadn’t done the course, while those...

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