The pillars of tax wisdom

‘The Budget bears not even a passing resemblance to how we economists were taught that taxes should work’

Nothing to fear but fear itself?

‘It is not clear that the US economy has suffered much from terrorism, even from the enormity of 9/11’

When wishful thinking becomes wasteful

‘The simplest explanation for lengthy disputes? That people misperceive their chances of winning’

The robot takeover: not so fast . . . 

‘It is one thing to imagine such a future . . . It is another to have confidence that it is approaching’

The real benefits of migration

‘The supposed costs or benefits of immigration always omit one crucial group: the migrants themselves’

Development needed? Just give cash

‘A stack of research papers concludes that an excellent cure for poverty is simply to give poor people money’

Should we trust the young Turkers?

‘MTurk may be something of an unknown quantity but it is more diverse than the traditional study pool’

Copyrights and wrongs

‘Why don’t we see a more sensible system of copyright? Two words: Mickey Mouse’

Peer-to-peer pressure

‘Are these new players providing a valuable new service or are they merely an arbitrage play?’

What cities tell us about the economy

‘In 1667 the Dutch ceded Manhattan to the British, thinking sugar-rich Suriname was a better bet’

Let’s be blunt: criticism works

‘If Amazon encourages its staff to be straight with each other about what should be fixed, so much the better’

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’


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 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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