Have living standards really stopped rising?

Illustration by Ed Nacional of rising living standard
©Ed Nacional

‘People drift in and out of all income groups as a result of luck or the life-cycle of a career’

Illustration by Ed Nacional of an evil and good economist
©Ed Nacional

Economists aren’t all bad

‘Some research on students suggests economics either attracts or creates sociopaths’

Illustration by Ed Nacional of a curriculum vitae
©Ed Nacional

Why long-term unemployment matters

‘Research shows that employers ignore people who have been out of work for more than six months’

How investors get it wrong

‘We trade too often because we’re too confident in our ability to spot the latest bargain’

Illustration by Toby Leigh of a hand opening a tap of water
©Toby Leigh

Four steps to fixing inequality

‘As the example of Finland makes clear, it is possible to change income distribution dramatically’

Economic quackery and political humbug

George Osborne views economic logic as an inconvenient distraction, writes Tim Harford

Illustration by Toby Leigh of a man drawing borders
©Toby Leigh

The business of borders

‘The economic dividing line in the UK does not run along the Scottish border, it circles London’

Illustration by Toby Leigh of a building on fire
©Toby Leigh

Let’s have some real-time economics

‘It would have done the Fed no harm to have had more people with a habit of making snap decisions’

Illustration for the Undercover Economist's 'Golden rules of thumb'
©Raymond Biesinger

Golden rules of thumb

‘The human brain is a marvellous thing but it does not seem to have evolved to cope with high finance’

UK property illustration
©Tim Marrs

Sorry decline of English social housing

We are getting rid of homes that are compact, cheap, fully used and warm, writes Tim Harford

Low inflation can be a disease not a cure

Deflation seems unlikely – but even a low risk is worth losing sleep over, writes Tim Harford

Testing times for Sochi drug cheats

‘The most famous game of all is the prisoner’s dilemma, and it’s a natural explanation for why athletes take drugs despite the risks’

The murkier side of transparency

‘Publishing clear information is often a way to make the world a better place – but not always. Sometimes it pays to be selective’

The seductive appeal of stereotypes

Is it obvious that Jewish or Chinese Americans have superior willpower? asks Tim Harford

Don’t bet the house on price rises

Supply constraints are not the only cause of the UK’s property inflation, writes Tim Harford

Why opposites shouldn’t attract

‘While it may be natural and familiar, assortative mating also breeds inequality’

How to plan for your pension

‘The standard tool is the online pension calculator, of which countless variants exist. There’s only one problem: they leave out almost everything that matters’

Royal accounts printed in red and gold

The monarchy costs the same as the milk the nation pours on its cereal, says Tim Harford

Unequal societies in a more equal world

Global poverty and rich-world inequality are separate issues, writes Tim Harford

What makes us happy?

‘A growing body of research backs the folk wisdom that experiences make us happier than possessions’


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.

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