Economy and Society

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    ‘Values clans’: how clusters of the electorate have shaped the political landscape

‘Values clans’: how clusters of the electorate have shaped the political landscape

To explain the divisions which permeate UK politics, Paula Surridge, Michael Turner, Robert Struthers, and Clive McDonnell introduce an approach that takes the dimensionality of voters’ preferences more seriously; and in a second piece they illustrate the political behaviour of two of these groups in more detail.

Our political parties are in disarray as they struggle to make sense of […]

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    Let’s lose control: public procurement policy before, during, and after EU membership

Let’s lose control: public procurement policy before, during, and after EU membership

David Clayton and David Higgins assess UK public procurement policy since the early 1970s. They explain why the EU’s common legal regime has had a positive impact on the UK economy, and therefore why leaving it will have negative implications.

Public procurement was raised during the 2016 Referendum campaign as part of a Leave critique of ‘red-tape’, and to claim […]

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    Despite the government’s U-turn, Universal Credit still has major problems

Despite the government’s U-turn, Universal Credit still has major problems

While the 2018 Budget proposals mitigate some of the risks of Universal Credit implementation and may help certain groups eligible for work allowances, they overall do little to offset the erosion in household incomes caused by welfare reforms, explains Dan Finn.

Universal Credit (UC) aims to simplify and modernise the income and employment support system for millions of households. The […]

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    Why international comparisons of education should focus on both averages and equality

Why international comparisons of education should focus on both averages and equality

Each new round of the OECD’s global education survey leads to scrutiny of country rankings based on the average child’s performance, but the new Innocenti Report Card argues that equality in test scores is just as important as average standards. Yekaterina Chzhen and Gwyther Rees, lead authors of the report, illustrate this point in relation to the four nations […]

Austerity is over? It never really began

UK fiscal policy has never conformed to the textbook definition of austerity. In this sense, and contrary to what Theresa May has been declaring, austerity is not over: it never really began. Craig Berry explains what more the 2018 budget tells us about the austerity-ending hypothesis.

Austerity has attained a rarefied status in British political discourse. Like ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’, […]

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    Thermostatic public opinion: why UK anti-immigrant sentiments rise and then fall

Thermostatic public opinion: why UK anti-immigrant sentiments rise and then fall

Contrary to popular narratives, there has been a collapse in anti-immigrant hostility in Britain, evident since the run up to the 2016 referendum. Patrick English explains how the success of the BNP and UKIP may have caused this fall and argues that recent changes may be seen as confirming the ‘thermostatic’ character of British public opinion.

The Britain of today, […]

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    Rising ethnic diversity in the West may fuel a (temporary) populist right backlash

Rising ethnic diversity in the West may fuel a (temporary) populist right backlash

When people’s neighbourhoods or wider social contexts change in visible ways, as with increasing ethnic diversity, it can be disconcerting for established residents, and trigger perceptions of ‘threats’ that evoke ‘backlash’ political responses. Alternatively the diffusion of ethnic groups may increase knowledge and tolerance. Drawing on a meta-analysis of studies on the topic, Eric Kaufmann and Matthew Goodwin argue […]

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    Fracking in the UK: how could a technologically advanced society choose to destroy itself?

Fracking in the UK: how could a technologically advanced society choose to destroy itself?

Theresa May recently proposed that £1billion of additional resources be directed to local communities and councils towards the development of hydraulic fracturing of shale gas (‘fracking’), despite the latter’s contribution to climate change. Daniel Nyberg and Christopher Wright explain how it is that the government supports such a policy.

Over the last couple of decades, fracking has emerged as a […]