John van Reenen

The state of the UK economy: Diagnosis, prognosis and recommended treatment

The real problems for the UK are inadequate long-run investment in infrastructure, innovation and human capital. What Britain needs is an independent infrastructure body to recommend and deliver national infrastructure projects. Unfortunately, short-term expediency has once again trumped long-term reform, writes John Van Reenen.  The UK economy was trumpeted by Chancellor George Osborne as the fastest growing major economy in his autumn […]

If onerous barriers are put up against foreign ownership, our society will be the poorer for it

The growth in foreign ownership in the UK is something to be welcomed, not feared. Foreign firms increase competition and help disseminate new ideas as local firms copy business methods and innovation. Britain’s traditional openness to overseas investment, trade and migration is something to be cherished, writes John Van Reenen. The proportion of UK-quoted shares owned by overseas investors passed the 50% […]

The (not-so) green shoots of recovery

Today saw the announcement of 0.6 per cent GDP growth for the second quarter of this year, leading the Chancellor, George Osborne, to claim that the economy is now ‘on the mend’. John Van Reenen takes a close look at these claims, finding that the UK’s economic indicators are by no means in the best of health. A dislocated financial sector and […]

Spending Review 2013: A triumph of politics over reason?

The Spending Review has been forced on the Chancellor because weak economic growth has blown a hole in the deficit reduction programme. John Van Reenen welcomes the partial reversal of the hugely damaging cuts in public investment, but argues that it is too little, too late. Rock bottom interest rates mean we should be boosting investment substantially now. A longer term […]

Small isn’t always beautiful: The cost of regulation on French firms

France has a raft of labour-market regulations that kick in for firms with 50 workers or more. Luis Garicano and John Van Reenen use this threshold to identify the economic effects of size-contingent regulations. Such policies seem to subsidise small firms at the expense of larger firms. But since small firms are on average less productive than large firms, the […]

The Man from the IMF, He Says: “Increase public spending on Investment and follow the LSE Growth Commission”

The IMF today published its assessment of the health of the UK economy. It urged the government to adopt the recommendations made by the LSE Growth Commission by boosting public investment. Professor John Van Reenen, though wishing the IMF could have been even more critical of the failures of the government’s fiscal plans, welcomes the assessment and hopes that it will encourage […]

Jobs, Wages and poor Growth

The UK labour market has done much better than expected since the start of the recession. Although we are suffering the worst recovery for over a century – national income has shrunk by almost 3% since 2008 – jobs have held up. Professor John Van Reenen explains that the main reason for this paradox is that real wages have collapsed, allowing firms […]

What the Queen dare not say: Government idea machine running on empty?

John Van Reenen laments the government’s legislative plan detailed today as a missed opportunity. The focus on immigration is absurd given what the evidence shows and the speech should have been used to address our major problems, such as the failure to make long-run investments in skills, infrastructure and innovation. Today, our German multi-millionaire monarch read a speech written on goat’s skin […]