Questions and answers about
the economy.

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How can UK policy-makers make homes more affordable?

Housing in the UK has become seriously unaffordable; the problem is likely to get worse; and younger people are being hit the hardest. Reforms that could be effective in solving the crisis are considered politically infeasible – while popular policies are ineffective or, worse, counterproductive.

Banks & financial markets

Why did Lehman Brothers fail?

In the wake of recent bank failures in Switzerland and the United States, a retrospective on the 2008 fall of Lehman Brothers is timely. To avoid another banking collapse, it’s worth looking at what caused Lehman to fail and trigger the most severe financial crisis in history.

Banks & financial markets

Swiss banks now and in the global financial crisis: is this time different?

Before the spectacular blow-up of Credit Suisse earlier this year, Switzerland’s other big bank, UBS, had to be rescued in equally remarkable circumstances during the global financial crisis. While reforms since then have made the world’s banking system safer, it is by no means immune from crises.


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What was the ideal economic system for Adam Smith? His writings disapprove of high profits and advocate regulation, a minimum wage and well-designed taxes.

Attitudes, media & governance

Principles of motion: how should policy-makers think about human behaviour?

Effective policy-making must take account of potential unintended consequences of new measures, rather than presuming that the responses of individuals and organisations will follow a predetermined path like pieces on a chessboard. Adam Smith’s policy advice resonates strongly today.

Jobs, work, pay & benefits

Should the UK government get active about economic inactivity?

Concerns about a rise in economic inactivity have prompted new policies aimed at discouraging early retirement and encouraging the labour force participation of women with young children. Such interventions would be more cost-effective if targeted at particular disadvantaged groups.

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