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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.

  • As a small ‘c’ conservative, I couldn’t support Alec Shelbrooke’s welfare cash card idea

    As a small ‘c’ conservative, I couldn’t support Alec Shelbrooke’s welfare cash card idea

    | Social Policy
    Several people have asked what I make of Alec Shelbrooke’s idea for a Welfare Cash Card. The Tory MP introduced a 10 minute rule bill to the House of Commons on Tuesday, which suggested that a cash card could be designed such that welfare recipients could not spend their state ...
  • 11 Reasons to be Full of Festive Cheer

    11 Reasons to be Full of Festive Cheer

    | Economy
    This article is an excerpt from our 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. “There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination, and wonder.” At the Centre for ...
  • Just 6% of the public realise debt is ballooning in this Parliament

    Just 6% of the public realise debt is ballooning in this Parliament

    | Economy
    Remember our Distorted Debate paper from earlier this year? In it we reported some remarkable polling which we'd undertaken with ComRes. It was interesting in that it asked people what they thought the Coalition planned to do to the national debt, as opposed to asking their opinion on some policy ...
  • The public don’t seem to think that giving money to HMRC is inherently moral

    The public don’t seem to think that giving money to HMRC is inherently moral

    | Economy
    Yesterday the debate about tax avoidance took a new turn as Starbucks buckled to the anti-avoidance campaigners, in effect deciding they would start paying more tax than was legally due (presumably because of the risk of lower sales due to brand tarnishing). Why this ‘tax system by witch hunt’ should ...
  • Independent experts and 'evidence-based policy'

    Independent experts and 'evidence-based policy'

    | Constitution & Democracy
    One of the common devices used to shut down modern political debate is to defer to the experts. ‘Experts’ say we should eat less salt. So government should act to regulate salt content in food. ‘Experts’ say we are drinking too much. So government should impose a minimum alcohol price. ...
  • ONS finds substantial public sector pay premium

    ONS finds substantial public sector pay premium

    | Economy
    The guys over at the ONS are on fire at the moment with the production of their new animated films to accompany bulletins. This week they’ve analysed differences between public and private sector pay, usefully controlling for a range of factors via regression analysis in order to determine whether there ...
  • Our current budget deficit woe

    Our current budget deficit woe

    | Economy
    Yesterday’s public finances figures were very bad news. It showed the current budget deficit (i.e. the difference between all non-investment expenditure and current tax receipts) for October was 52% higher than the October figure last year.MONTHLY CURRENT BUDGET DEFICIT (EXCLUDING FINANCIAL INTERVENTIONS) - £ MILLION                                                Overall, the current budget deficit ...
  • Have the ‘rich got richer and the poor got poorer’ over the past 25 years?

    Have the ‘rich got richer and the poor got poorer’ over the past 25 years?

    | Economy
    That’s the question I examine in my City AM column today. The answer is a resounding ‘no’. I’m not going to rehearse the arguments from the column again here, but thought it might be an idea to provide some graphical representation of the arguments.1)      Everyone has got better off in ...
  • There is no ‘global race’ and prosperity is not zero sum

    There is no ‘global race’ and prosperity is not zero sum

    | Economy
    Since David Cameron’s conference speech in October about Britain being in a ‘global race’, many commentators have written negatively about the effects of the rise of the east. The latest example is a column by Martin Kettle for the Guardian. The common thread in all of these columns is to ...
  • What causes/caused big government?

    What causes/caused big government?

    | Economy
    That’s one of the questions Douglas Carswell MP attempts to answer in his new book ‘The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy’.To many people the answer is simple: democracy. This view was most recently expressed by Ron Paul in the aftermath of Mitt Romney’s defeat to President Obama ...
  • Let's reverse some of the private sector austerity

    Let's reverse some of the private sector austerity

    | Economy
    The Coalition government aims to eliminate the structural component of the current deficit (i.e. the bit excluding public investment) within five years, and for debt as a proportion of GDP to be falling by the end of the Parliament. As I explained in my City AM column this morning, on ...
  • My debate on Obama at the Cambridge Union

    My debate on Obama at the Cambridge Union

    | US Politics
    Last night I took part in a Cambridge Union debate on the motion ‘This house would re-elect Obama’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the crowd was highly in favour of the incumbent President. The motion passed by something like 320 to 50-odd (I can’t really remember the exact number). But given that even ...
  • GDP figures tell us little yet, but offer hope

    GDP figures tell us little yet, but offer hope

    | Economy
    I suppose it’s at least fair to be consistent. Given the doom and gloom attached to any preliminary GDP estimate which shows negative output growth, at least it’s symmetric to rejoice in better-than-expected figures. In America it would be annualised up – we’re growing an annualised rate of 4% per ...
  • When journalists don't read the source material

    When journalists don't read the source material

    | Economy
    I was very disappointed by an article by Michael White (of the Guardian) for the Health Service Journal which quoted our examination of the progressivity of taxes and transfers in the UK. Talking about the recent debates here and in Scotland on what proportion of people are net recipients or ...
  • My nagging concern at #CPC12

    My nagging concern at #CPC12

    | Economy
    The atmosphere at the Conservative party conference was far more optimistic and upbeat than I expected, despite the on-going economic problems. One gets the feeling that the party is the only one that really gets just how hard-earned real (as opposed to debt fuelled) economic growth is, as evidenced by ...