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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.

  • Innovation growth pessimism should worry us all

    Innovation growth pessimism should worry us all

    | Economy
    Many commentators aren't just pessimistic abour our current growth prospects. It is becoming increasingly popular to suggest that lower growth more generally might be the new normal, because productivity growth – driven by innovation – is slowing down. An article by Martin Wolf in Wednesday’s FT seemed sympathetic to the ...
  • Be a bold reformer, George: end national pay bargaining for individuals' pay in the public sector

    Be a bold reformer, George: end national pay bargaining for individuals' pay in the public sector

    |
    A recent study of successful fiscal consolidations suggested that the spending adjustments often occur amidst a more general ‘pro-reform’ stance of the government, on the supply side as well as the spending side.Nowhere is that supply-side more important as the public sector. And no one supply-side policy would do more ...
  • Reaction to the public borrowing figures

    Reaction to the public borrowing figures

    | Economy
    The public sector borrowing figures out today are still pretty grim. Borrowing for August was almost exactly the same as last year (both around £14.4 billion) whilst overall the current budget deficit was higher in August 2012 (£13.2 billion) than last year (£12.8 billion). This means that overall the cumulative ...
  • Sowell on the folly of redistribution and wealth grabs

    Sowell on the folly of redistribution and wealth grabs

    | Economy
    There’s a very good column by Thomas Sowell on the National Review Online discussing the folly of redistribution, and in particular wealth grabs. The context is the re-emergence of a video of Barack Obama saying how much he is in favour of redistribution (which is a lot less appealing to ...
  • Liam Fox is right – CGT is a bad tax for the economy

    Liam Fox is right – CGT is a bad tax for the economy

    | Economy
    When commentators point out a lack of Lib Dem ‘wins’ in the Coalition government, remind them of the Capital Gains Tax hike undertaken in 2010. Sure, the ‘progressive’ party wanted to increase it further to replicate the income tax bands, but at the time the hike for higher rate income ...
  • The can looks like being kicked down the road again...

    The can looks like being kicked down the road again...

    | Economy
    A few weeks ago we put out a pamphlet which said that on unchanged policies, it was virtually impossible for the Chancellor to meet his target of reducing debt as a proportion of GDP by the end of the Parliament (pretty uncontroversial given the outlook).At the time, the Treasury denied ...
  • Industrial strategy? No thanks.

    Industrial strategy? No thanks.

    | Economy
    It’s understandable that someone of a free-market persuasion is slightly depressed at the moment. On a weekly basis, the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party advocate new punitive wealth taxes. The Labour party is beginning to suggest policies for ‘predistribution’, which sounds suspiciously like a form of prices and incomes ...
  • Hayek and Thatcher

    Hayek and Thatcher

    | Economy
    In this blog post, Head of Economic Research Ryan Bourne documents the influence of the Nobel-prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek on Margaret Thatcher and her administrations. This follows the publication of an archive of documents on Margaret Thatcher’s relationship with Hayek and Milton Friedman by the Thatcher Foundation today. This ...
  • Ed Balls sees a bandwagon, hops aboard

    Ed Balls sees a bandwagon, hops aboard

    | Economy
    So today’s Independent tells us that Ed Balls now agrees it’s time for a proper wealth tax, and he’s willing to have a look at a mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million.Part of me was delighted (even though I disagree with it) that the Shadow Chancellor has finally ...
  • If Conservative backbenchers feel that economic policy requires radical change, now is the very time to speak up

    If Conservative backbenchers feel that economic policy requires radical change, now is the very time to speak up

    | Economy
    One of the key themes to David Davis’s speech at the Centre for Policy Studies yesterday was the need for radical supply-side reform to improve the growth potential of the UK economy.Davis, as with many backbench Conservative MPs, feels that the Coalition is not pressing on quickly enough with much ...
  • Reducing deficit and getting growth: cut current spending + supply-side reforms

    Reducing deficit and getting growth: cut current spending + supply-side reforms

    | Economy
    There’s an interesting new paper out by Alberto Alesina, Carlo Favero and Francesco Giavazzi, who examine the effects of fiscal consolidation on output.  Here’s their conclusion:“We find that it matters crucially how the fiscal correction occurs. Adjustments based upon spending cuts are much less costly in terms of output losses ...
  • Mansion tax: wrong then, wrong now; already causing damage

    Mansion tax: wrong then, wrong now; already causing damage

    | Economy
    Head of Economic Research Ryan Bourne comments on rumoured manoeuvres to resurrect the case for a Mansion Tax.There are rumours in Westminster that the Lib Dems are again pushing for a mansion tax. It takes a weird mind to think: growth crisis? A new tax is the answer. But never mind. Back ...
  • Politicians shouldn’t be afraid of the battle of ideas

    Politicians shouldn’t be afraid of the battle of ideas

    | Politics
    Head of Economic Research Ryan Bourne examines the 'Battle for the Centre Ground' both here and in the US, and commends Mitt Romney's choice of Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan as the chance for a real debate about America's future. For years the political debate both here and in the US has ...
  • Changing attitudes towards the state?

    Changing attitudes towards the state?

    | Economy
    The July 2012 Edition of Ipsos MORI ‘Understanding Society’ landed on my desk the other week, and I’ve finally got round to reading the section on public opinion of public service reform. I was surprised and yet heartened by some of the findings:65% of the public think that government and ...
  • The way the left twists the debate on Government size and scope

    The way the left twists the debate on Government size and scope

    | Economy
    There’s a great article by James Taranton in the Wall Street Journal today about how Obama and the left in America skew the debate on government size. I think the same can be applied here.The concept is simple: people who believe in big government deliberately blur the distinction between the ...