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Blogs by Ryan Bourne

Ryan joined the Centre for Policy Studies in January 2011, having previously worked for a year at the economic consultancy firm Frontier Economics.

  • Ed Balls speech: the good, the bad and the ugly

    Ed Balls speech: the good, the bad and the ugly

    | Economy
    Today, Ed Balls made a speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton, which (given his brief) unsurprisingly focused on the economy. Many of the “big” announcements had already been trailed over the weekend and this morning, and most other policy commitments re-iterated from previous announcements. But I think it ...
  • Yay, more

    Yay, more "free" stuff

    | Economy
    The Lib Dems have today announced that all 5-7 year olds will now be given “free” school meals. And there was me thinking we had huge public borrowing? The proposal, which has almost universally been accepted as a “very good thing”, has the Children’s Society waxing lyrical about how this ...
  • UK unemployment rate: a long way to go

    UK unemployment rate: a long way to go

    | Economy
          Another welcome fall in the three-month moving average UK unemployment rate today. But a long way to go to get back to the levels we saw pre-crash. Supply-side policies please ...
  • Who’s done more fiscal consolidation: the US or the UK?

    Who’s done more fiscal consolidation: the US or the UK?

    | Economy
    There was some debate a couple of weeks ago when Allister Heath cited CEBR research which suggested that the US had in fact done more fiscal consolidation than the UK. Ben Chu (who later did an updated post vindicating Allister’s numbers as correct, with caveats) at first claimed this was ...
  • George Osborne’s speech: the economics and the politics

    George Osborne’s speech: the economics and the politics

    | Economy
    George Osborne’s big economic speech today has understandably drawn a lot of attention from economic and political commentators alike. That’s because the speech was an attempt to reframe both the economic and political debates. The reaction suggests he’s touched a nerve of those who most heavily argued against his deficit ...
  • Scepticism of “evidence-based policy” is a good thing

    Scepticism of “evidence-based policy” is a good thing

    | Economy
    A few weeks ago I wrote an article for City AM explaining why I hate the term “evidence-based policy”. It’s chucked around like confetti  in the wonk-ish world of think-tanks, and is usually met unthinkingly with generous knowing nods of approval whenever it is said. “We need to establish what works,” ...
  • A time series look at household net contributions/receipt from government

    A time series look at household net contributions/receipt from government

    | Economy
    My piece in City AM today looks at how the proportion of households who are net recipients of the state (defined as those who receive more in benefits and benefits-in-kind than they pay in taxes) has changed since 1979.As the chart below shows, this has historically troughed at around 43-44 ...
  • US vs UK labour market

    US vs UK labour market

    | Economy
    Last month I wrote for City AM about how Ed Balls was wrong to laud the US recovery when he was launching his so-called “inclusive prosperity” commission. Balls and other have a tendency to set out the US and UK as if we have something close to a natural experiment: ...
  • The SMF, being 'independent' and ideology

    The SMF, being 'independent' and ideology

    | Media & Technology
    In our forthcoming report on slanting in BBC online news coverage, one component of our analysis categorises 10 think-tanks (well-known ones which cover a whole range of policy areas) as broadly being left-of-centre or right-of-centre, in order to see what ‘health warnings’ the BBC attaches to their research. The report ...
  • Are we there yet?

    Are we there yet?

    | Economy
    This article is an excerpt from the CPS Growth Bulletin, authored by Ryan Bourne and Tim Knox. To read the full article, click here. To sign up for our mailings, use the form on the left of our newsletter page.Westminster has gone quiet in the past week as Members of Parliament and their staff ...
  • The Royal Baby, succession and “equality”

    The Royal Baby, succession and “equality”

    Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son, our future King. The past 24 hours have shown the power of the UK monarchy as an institution which has stood the test of time. And, it has to be said, it has also shown the ...
  • The OBR forecasts and assumptions show the scale of our fiscal challenge

    The OBR forecasts and assumptions show the scale of our fiscal challenge

    | Economy
    Each year, the Office for Budget Responsibility publishes a 50-year forecast in order to gauge the long-term sustainability of the UK public finances. I know, I know. Given how accurate our five year forecasts are, a 50 year forecast is little more than an exercise in mental masturbation. But I ...
  • The only way is Heathrow

    The only way is Heathrow

    | Economy
    This article is an excerpt from the CPS Growth Bulletin, authored by Ryan Bourne and Tim Knox. To read the full article, click here. To sign up for our mailings, use the form on the left of our newsletter page.Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Not a day goes by without a politician, economist or commentator ...
  • The Mirror splash on tax rates is just silly

    The Mirror splash on tax rates is just silly

    | Economy
    The Daily Mirror splash this morning, suggesting that the poor pay more in tax as a proportion of income than the rich, was one of the most misleading things I have ever read.Gross income, the denominator in their calculations, includes cash benefits. Indirect taxes paid includes things bought with these ...
  • The progressivity of UK taxes and transfers

    The progressivity of UK taxes and transfers

    | Economy
    The progressivity of UK taxes and transfersLast year, we produced some analysis of ONS data which showed just how progressive the UK welfare state is. Remember, we can only really judge this by looking at all functions of ‘the welfare state’, which was envisaged not just to provide a safety ...