John van Reenen

Budget 2015: What the Chancellor said and didn’t say

Who would have thought an election was around the corner? John Van Reenen looks at what George Osborne had to say in the budget speech as well as what he didn’t say; the Chancellor neither mentioned the productivity problem nor did anything to address it. Indeed, several of his policies will make it worse.

What the Chancellor said

The big news in […]

Austerity in the UK: past, present and future

In this article, John Van Reenen looks at the UK’s economic performance since the global financial crisis and assesses the impact of austerity policies. He also examines the fiscal plans of the three major parties over the next Parliament, finding that, while all are currently planning for continued and severe austerity, the Conservatives’ plan would bring down the debt level more quickly but at the […]

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    The Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement: Missed targets and missed opportunities

The Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement: Missed targets and missed opportunities

George Osborne’s Autumn Statement was a reminder of the government’s missed targets and missed opportunities, writes John Van Reenen. The Chancellor’s promise to eliminate the structural deficit has failed spectacularly and the UK economy is barely above its pre-crisis level, a major cause of which was the the decision to launch a premature austerity programme in 2010. Crucially, Osborne’s plans fall short in addressing Britain’s chronic problem […]

Breaking up is hard – and expensive – to do

Voting ‘Yes’ would be a mistake both politically and economically, argues John Van Reenen. He writes that as the countries diverge in policies and regulations, trade and commerce between Scotland and its largest export market will inevitably chill. The loss of trade dynamism is ignored by conventional assessments and are likely to magnify the costs of separation.

Divorces are unpleasant and expensive […]

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    Leaving the European Union is likely to have a significant negative economic impact

Leaving the European Union is likely to have a significant negative economic impact

In a new report on the economic consequences of a ‘Brexit’, Gianmarco Ottaviano, João Paulo Pessoa, Thomas Sampson and John Van Reenen find that if the UK left the European Union there would be a significant negative impact. The most important costs would come as a result of higher trade barriers with the EU.
Since a speech by the Prime Minister […]

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    Mrs Thatcher’s industrial legacy: Whether the long-term ‘unbalancing’ of Britain’s economy should be a cause for concern

Mrs Thatcher’s industrial legacy: Whether the long-term ‘unbalancing’ of Britain’s economy should be a cause for concern

Manufacturing’s share of national income has fallen from a quarter when Mrs Thatcher entered Downing Street in 1979 to just over a tenth today. John Van Reenen asks how much this long-term ‘unbalancing’ of Britain’s economy should be a cause for concern. The death of Mrs Thatcher in 2013 prompted a reexamination of her economic legacy. In retrospect, her two great failures were a huge […]

How to return to growth and solve the productivity puzzle

UK productivity has been declining since the onset of the financial crisis, and today the gap with G7 nations is at its widest since 1992. João Paulo Pessoa, Anna Valero and John Van Reenen of the Centre for Economic Performance argue that underinvestment is key to understanding this. The recovery so far seems unbalanced; policymakers must focus on raising productivity to […]

Wage growth and productivity growth: the myth and reality of ‘decoupling’

Have UK and US workers been denied their fair share of economic growth over the past four decades? João Paulo Pessoa and John Van Reenen investigate claims that wages have become ‘decoupled’ from productivity. It is often argued that American workers are being exploited by the firms for which they work. Exhibit 1 in the case for the prosecution is that real wages of the typical worker have hardly increased […]