John van Reenen

No Triple Dip does not mean a good recovery

John Van Reenen reacts to the news today that the UK has avoided economic contraction in the last quarter. Whilst Osborne may see this as cause to celebrate, there is nothing commendable about an economy that continues to stagnate. This news should not be taken as a sign to continue down the path of austerity. Rather, a policy change, starting with […]

The economic legacy of Mrs. Thatcher is a mixed bag

John Van Reenen analyses the economic legacy of Margaret Thatcher. In the late 1970s, when the UK was behind other developed nations in terms of material wellbeing, her supply side policies spurred economic revival. There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that a range of important policy changes initiated by her underpinned these economic gains. Nevertheless, there are many important economic and […]

This was a “small beer” budget with little fundamentally changed

Reflecting on yesterday’s budget, John Van Reenen argues that an opportunity was missed. While there were good things in the budget, the 1p off a pint of beer was symbolic. This was a budget in which little changed and the Chancellor yet again failed to offer a proper growth strategy to get the UK moving again.  The backdrop to George Osborne’s […]

The UK is in dire need of a meaningful plan for growth and the burden is on the Chancellor to provide it

In advance of Budget Day on Wednesday John Van Reenen highlights a range of chronic weaknesses which are holding back the UK economy, with infrastructure and associated policy uncertainty a particular problem. He calls for a new architecture for UK infrastructure, though cautions that any announcements must be carefully thought-out and avoid the political temptation attached to headline grabbing initiatives.  UK Chancellor George […]

Moody Blues for the Chancellor

John Van Reenen examines the economic and political implications of Moody’s stripping the UK of its AAA credit rating last Friday. While the move may have little direct economic significance, it is nonetheless totemic, reflecting deeper structural problems in the UK economy. It is also politically damaging for a Chancellor who staked his reputation on preserving the AAA rating. Much now […]

Investing in UK prosperity: skills, infrastructure and innovation can get us out of the current stasis

The latest GDP figures confirm that the UK economy has essentially been flat-lining for the five years since the financial crisis began. The UK’s inability to achieve sustainable growth is rooted in longer-term problems arising from a failure to invest, notably in skills, infrastructure and innovation. Timothy Besley and John Van Reenen, co-chairs of the London School of Economics Growth Commission, which […]

The lesson from yesterday’s election is to ignore pontificating from highly paid pundits. Put your faith in the numbers.

John Van Reenen finds great cause for optimism in President Obama having won a second term. He argues that this election was also a vindication for quantitative social science, as the eventual results confirmed what mathematical models had predicted contrary to the instincts of pundits.  President Obama’s victory today was important for many reasons. First and foremost, the American people will continue […]

Inequality: The elephant in the room in US policy debates

Americans go to the polls today to decide who will be their next President. John Van Reenen analyses the causes of what should be a central topic in the debate; growing inequality. Rather than talking about the underlying causes of increased inequality, and debating how to tackle it, the presidential candidates have focused on dealing with its consequences, particularly over taxes […]