Meet the Flop Pickers

‘If savvy consumers can help predict a product’s success, might there not be consumers whose clammy embrace spells its death?’

What’s the diet for growth?

‘Without a strong banking sector to lend money to businesses, it is very hard for a poor country to grow’

London’s turning . . . 

‘London’s excruciating price tag is not just a vulnerability but also a sign of success’

How to level the playing field

‘It costs something like a billion quid to turn a bottom-half Premier League club into one of the best teams in Europe’

Worming our way to the truth

‘Why does such a large policy push need to be based on a handful of clinical trials?’

It’s tough turning ideas into gold

‘If innovators make no money at all, they will end up creating for the love of creation rather than for any financial reward’

Why wishful thinking doesn’t work

‘Careless nudges are no more welcome in public policy than at a domino-toppling event’

In search of the perfect match

‘One algorithm had to cope with pairs of romantically attached doctors who wanted two job offers in the same city’

The psychology of saving

‘There is one dramatic success for behavioural economics — the way it has shaped pensions’

Teamwork gives us added personbyte

‘Complex products require elaborate networks of teamwork, and only a few places manage the trick’

The truth about our norm core

‘Social pressure matters but it is not the only thing that matters. Facts can trump groupthink’

Down with mathiness!

‘In the recent UK election campaign, a diet of numbers was stuffed into voters like feed into French ducks’

Mind the fair trade gap

‘If fair trade does deliver higher incomes for farmers, it may prove too successful for its own good’

Why democratic elections are always flawed

I sometimes wonder if we expect more than we should from democracy

Tax: a Scandinavian solution

‘With tax, our politicians seem determined to make the process as clumsy and painful as possible’

The problem with sexed-up statistics

‘Statistics tell us nothing until we understand what is being counted in the first place’

What a radical Conservative government could do

‘Scrap all mainstream benefit payments — jobseeker’s allowance, child benefit, housing benefit and even the state pension’

The truth about inequality

‘One myth is that inequality in the UK has risen since the financial crisis. In fact it has fallen quite sharply’

The economists’ manifesto

If Britain’s top economists were in charge, what policies would they implement? Tim Harford sets the challenge

Cigarettes, damn cigarettes and statistics

We cannot rely on correlation alone. But insisting on absolute proof of causation is too exacting a standard

ABOUT TIM

Tim HarfordTim Harford is economics leader writer for the Financial Times and writes the “Undercover Economist” columns on Saturdays. He first joined the FT as Peter Martin Fellow in 2003 and after a spell at the World Bank in Washington DC he rejoined the FT’s leader writing team in 2006.

Tim’s book, The Undercover Economist, is a Business Week bestseller and a Sunday Times bestseller, and was number one on Amazon.co.uk. It has been translated into sixteen languages. He is now working on a sequel.

Tim is also the presenter of the BBC2 series, Trust Me, I’m an Economist.

E-mail Tim Harford

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