Economy and Society

Who is helped by Help to Buy?

What’s not to like about a policy which can expand home ownership and boost the supply of housing? Geoff Meeks and J.Gay Meeks recount some of the doubts about the efficacy of the government’s Help to Buy scheme. They present new evidence on some of its regressive distributional consequences, and touch on the opportunity cost of the subsidy programme.

At […]

Truth-tellers: creating Britain’s anti-austerity campaign

The UK austerity programme promoted since the financial crisis energised a dynamic assemblage of political forces, aspiring to create a space of oppositional political identification. Sophia Hatzisavvidou writes that, although this anti-austerity campaign failed to rally voters in the last two general elections, we shouldn’t dismiss its impact on the country’s political life.

Although the global financial meltdown of […]

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    Smart councils: the evolution of technology in local government

Smart councils: the evolution of technology in local government

Is local government making sufficient use of technology, and is it using it well? Uthayasankar Sivarajah and Zahir Irani review the implementation of various technologies by local councils, and explain their rewards and risks.

Austerity continues to form the backdrop of UK local government. If this was not enough, councils are also trying to cope with digital disruption, having to […]

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    Can mandatory gender pay gap reporting deliver true opportunity for women?

Can mandatory gender pay gap reporting deliver true opportunity for women?

From April 2018, the UK will be one of the first countries in the world to implement mandatory gender pay gap reporting for companies with 250 or more employees. Louise Dalingwater assesses the policy, which was first announced by the Coalition in 2010, and highlights the reasons why it may not address gender inequalities effectively. 

In 2014, a highly critical report commissioned […]

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    An up-to-date account of economic inequalities in Britain since 2008

An up-to-date account of economic inequalities in Britain since 2008

Nicholas Sowels provides an up-to-date account of inequalities in the UK since the financial crisis and explains how the current trends compare internationally, as well as among different social and age groups.

Income growth in the UK has been weak since the financial crisis. It is a trend which seems likely to continue through to the early 2020s. But in […]

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    Democratic dynasties: why are certain families successful in politics?

Democratic dynasties: why are certain families successful in politics?

Are MPs with longer careers more likely to help their relatives and establish a political dynasty? Brenda Van Coppenolle considers this question in relation to the UK and by looking at the careers of members of the House of Commons since 1832.

Political dynasties play an important role in present-day democracies. Consider, for example, the Trudeaus, the Bushes, the […]

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    The gendered impact of austerity: Cuts are widening the poverty gap between women and men

The gendered impact of austerity: Cuts are widening the poverty gap between women and men

Ellie Mae MacDonald explains that women are disproportionately hit by the UK government’s austerity policies. She argues that many government policies, though seemingly gender-neutral, have profoundly gendered impacts. In particular, changes to Universal Credit and cuts to services and public-sector jobs have increased the number of women living in poverty relative to men.

Women are poorer than men. As a worldwide […]

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    Without the right policies, automation risks the transfer of income from labour to capital

Without the right policies, automation risks the transfer of income from labour to capital

Although we are not yet on the cusp of a ‘post-human’ society, the prospect of automation still poses significant challenges, including the potential shift of national income from labour to capital. Carys Roberts explains why public policy should seek to accelerate automation to reap the productivity benefits that come with it, but do so while building new institutions to […]