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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 nine books, including the million-selling The Undercover Economist and most recently How To Make The World Add Up. 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 stories of Jansky, Mendel and Bayes hold out hope to anyone who feels that the world has not quite caught up with them’
‘There have been moments when 1.5bn children were missing school. This is apocalyptic’
‘Manufacturers expected to produce 800 million doses by the end of 2020. The reality was 20 million to 30 million’
‘Without good information, we can’t track Covid cases, see which hospitals need help — or rebuild the economy’
Only now are the first vaccines starting to reduce the death toll — and we should see major progress soon
Whether believing implausible statistics or falling for frauds, humans are addicted to wishful thinking
Diversions, political polarisation and conspiracy thinking have all contributed to this new era
Most famous as a nurse, her innovative use of data helped also prevent many deaths from infectious diseases
Vaccine resistance and public trust are just a couple of the issues with this new approach
Working from home is more productive than we had guessed but face-to-face contact will still make a difference
The arguments against poor presents are powerful. But has the pandemic changed all that?
‘Was I wrong about lockdowns? I’m still sitting on the fence. I am too indecisive even to be wrong’
We are surrounded by high-quality, low-cost products we barely understand
We cannot escape our emotions — but we can take them into account
In these polarised times, one truth unites the British commentariat: Christmas letters are ghastly
From a shortage of dry ice to Brexit traffic jams, hurdles still threaten our ability to inoculate the world
Politicians are willing to put Covid progress at risk for the symbolic value of December 25
Hazards range from missed meetings to yawning chasms of understanding about fundamental goals
The huge win suggested for Joe Biden did not materialise — but we shouldn’t expect certainty
The FT’s Undercover Economist enjoys rare beef, beer and the pioneering role-playing game
Always waiting for the next breakthrough can keep us from taking action now
We should all spend more time considering the prospect of failure and what we might do about it
Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson’s work transformed how countries allocate resources in the public interest
Unsurprisingly, neither side has all the answers. For those, we should look to Germany
The economist offers useful rules to help understand the data behind the headlines