Questions and answers about
the economy.

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Why are there so few women leading the UK’s biggest companies?

Only one in ten of the UK’s top businesses have a woman as chief executive. Several factors explain this imbalance: from discrimination and a lack of networks to low confidence and the ‘motherhood penalty’. Investment in childcare and more diverse boards could help to close the corporate gender gap.

Business, big & small

Why are company bosses paid so much?

Every year, large sums of money are paid to the leaders of the UK’s biggest companies. Some commentators describe these pay packages as being exorbitant, while others believe that today’s levels of executive remuneration are fit-for-purpose or should be even higher.

Business, big & small

Why have so many UK companies been badly managed for so long?

A long-run perspective confirms that the generally low quality of UK management helps to explain the poor performance of companies and the wider economy. Improvement could come from better dissemination of modern management practices, alongside high-quality training and development programmes.

DATA HUB

Wind energy

The de facto ban on onshore wind energy in England has been lifted. From 2015, stringent English planning regulations meant that any local opposition could halt onshore wind projects and all projects had to form part of a local development plan - conditions not applied to other energy types.

As one of the cheapest forms of electricity, wind energy will be central to the UK’s net-zero transition. Last year, the National Infrastructure Commission called for onshore wind to be ‘scaled up’, following years of stagnation in England. Since 2017, English capacity has risen by just 2%, while in Scotland – unaffected by the ban – it has surged by 86%.

To find out more about the green transition, read this Economics Observatory article, which links to the full range of our coverage of the issue.

Inequality & poverty

What has happened to child poverty in the UK over the last 30 years?

Growing up in poverty has highly detrimental impacts on children’s development and their wellbeing in later life. In the UK, where rates of child poverty have been rising sharply in recent years, particularly for those in large families, targeted policy interventions could make a big difference.

Pensions, savings & investment

How do elections affect the stock market?

Uncertainty around elections – and the potential policy decisions of new governments – can lead to fluctuations in the stock market. Over the longer term, the party in power seems to make limited difference to the performance of shares in publicly listed companies.

Transport & infrastructure

Universal basic infrastructure: how could it support growth across the UK?

The UK’s public services are stretched thin across the country, serving higher numbers of people with lower budgets. Introducing minimum standards and levels of infrastructure and services could help to reduce local and regional inequalities and ensure that all places prosper.

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