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Tim Harford writes the Undercover Economist column, and was previously an economics leader writer for the FT. He first joined the newspaper as Peter Martin Fellow in 2003.
Tim is the author of seven books, including the million-selling The Undercover Economist and most recently Fifty Things That Made the Modern Economy. He is also a regular presenter for BBC radio.
He was made an OBE in the 2019 new year honours list “for services to improving economic understanding”.
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The contribution of big groups to US productivity has fallen by 40 per cent since 2000
There are gaps in the way we gather statistics that have far-reaching effects
Moaning about the deficiencies of measurement will not help us focus on what matters
When computers start conspiring against us, regulators will have to be nimble
Many of the decisions we make are reversible, only stubbornness makes them permanent
It goes without saying that hyperinflation is a catastrophe but it is now uncommon
Attempts to raise revenue must include the comfortably off as well as the ultra-wealthy
We should ask questions before we spread an idea on social media or use it to govern our votes
Sometimes the idea of changing tack becomes literally unthinkable
What economic theory can teach us about reining in our screen habits
Elected politicians are threatening harm to their own country as a bargaining tactic
The phrase has long since ceased to be useful but is deployed as a political cudgel
Writing thank-you notes is not only good manners but can be good for you, too
Keep the spending under control and invent your own social rituals
Political attacks on the Fed, BoE and RBI are a childish abdication of responsibility
Most ideas used to be shut down early, but digitisation allows many to survive
Research shows high earners think there are not enough hours in the day
To make predictions, keep an open mind and understand what you don’t know
Democracies provide the chance to step back and consider the direction being taken
People thrive in imperfect environments that can be moulded
Research shows young people suffer lasting harm if they graduate during a recession
The rules for delivering a successful megaproject are devastatingly simple
Since markets rise more often than they fall, spending lump sums proves a better bet
Economic growth does not have to destroy the planet
Abuse of big data is the latest example of companies’ success in duping customers