Linnea Hjelm

Should we limit alcohol sales?

7 May 2021|

For most British people, buying a bottle of wine on a Friday night after work, or picking up a few cold beers in preparation for Super Sunday, seems like the most natural thing in the world. If Boris Johnson suddenly announced that this wasn’t allowed, it would probably cause outrage. However, this is the grim reality for Swedes like myself, who grew up in a country with a state alcohol monopoly. When I lived in Sweden, there were few things

Kevin Loane

Let’s feast

30 April 2021|

There are around 260 million Orthodox Christians in the world. Followers of the Julian calendar, they will celebrate Easter this weekend. While religious observance is a mostly private matter, it has wider societal ramifications. These can be small, such as receiving dates before dinner in certain London restaurants during the holy month of Ramadan. In Ethiopia, where I am writing this, it leads to a (frustrating) see-sawing availability of grilled meat in many local eateries. Ethiopia hosts the largest Orthodox

Kris Takoor

The future of art

23 April 2021|

Is this the future of art: a twelve-frame animation of a smiling cat, with a biscuit for a body, leaving behind a rainbow as it flies through space? Well, some people think it is. In February of this year, a digital rendition of the ‘Nyan Cat’ meme sold for almost $600,000. This may come as a surprise, but it’s far from a one-off. In fact, last month, the renowned auction house Christie’s made history selling its first digital artwork, a

Jonathan Ashworth

Will UK productivity ever improve?

16 April 2021|

After working in the Productivity & Structural Reform team at HM Treasury some years ago as a very junior economist, the fascinating subject of productivity has always remained dear to my heart. Back then under the Labour government, a key mission of the team was to close the UK’s yawning 45%[1] productivity gap with the US economy, and the smaller deficits with some of our European peers. After a period when UK productivity grew at a healthy pace of over

Brian Davidson, CFA

It’s time to talk about breastfeeding

9 April 2021|

After recently becoming a first-time dad, I have started dedicating more thought to ways that I can optimise my time and improve my multi-tasking skills: hold Baby and watch football; go for a walk and get Baby to sleep; clean the flat while resting in between exercise sets, and so on. It being my turn to write this week’s TFIF blog, I have decided to multi-task once more by writing about a baby-related topic I’ve come across in my new

Andrew Brigden

Making up for lost time

1 April 2021|

How might an individual react if, at the end of some arbitrary accounting period, they find themselves with more cash in the bank than they had hoped for? A happy position to be in, right? When trying to answer these sorts of questions, economists tend to wheel out the tried and tested ‘lifecycle consumption model’ (or LCM). This says that an individual will use their expected lifetime resources to consume goods and services, period by period, in a way that

Helena Gough

Food for thought

26 March 2021|

Ever thought about going veggie, or giving Veganuary a shot? Or simply tried to cut out meat and dairy from your diet? Well, you might be interested (or appalled, if you answered no to all of these!) to know that the UK Climate Change Committee is banking on Brits eating 35% less meat and dairy by 2050 in order to help the country reach its net zero carbon emissions target. Is it realistic to expect the nation that brought us

Erik Britton

Forecasting difficulties

19 March 2021|

Brace yourselves: econometrics follows. Look at this time series. What happens next? Many macroeconomic time series look a bit like this. They are trended, but wobble around in interesting ways compared to that trend, and for long periods of time. You can see that by eye — and it’s even clearer if you put the series on a log scale, thus:   How would you go about forecasting this time series? Well, you might start by estimating the trend in

Joanna Davies

It’s a man’s world

12 March 2021|

Do we need to change the way men think? It’s a question that has echoed widely since the devastating news of missing Clapham woman Sarah Everard, whose remains have been found in a wood in Kent. Her fate has triggered a #MeToo response on social media, with many women breaking silence to describe for the first time their own experiences of abuse and feelings of unsafety. Men have spoken up too, including this comment from Jay Rayner: “If I find

Richard Blows

Let’s make Monopoly great again!

5 March 2021|

As a boardgame enthusiast, a global pandemic is the worst case scenario. Sitting inside for hours around a board with friends all touching the same cards, tokens and dice is surely one of the easiest ways to transmit a virus — something that the UK government belatedly highlighted back in November last year. I discounted their suggestion of running a quiz instead as sooooooo April 2020, which left me and other board game fans with a handful of options. I