Documents

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Past Learnings

Why competition? 250 years of learning and forgetting in Political Economy

The notion that promoting competition is a Good Thing has become a consistent theme in economic policymaking in recent decades, accompanied by an implication that “the more of it the better” should be a presumptive policy stance. In contrast, very many members of the public appear to find these propositions far from obvious, not least those who are owners of, or workers for, business enterprises.

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Past Learnings

Fairness, the Ultimatum Game and Public Policy

The notion of ‘fairness’ is widely referenced in public policymaking and enforcement, but with no settled meaning. What we see is incoherent application of the notion across economic contexts, a form of policy disorder with which we are well familiar. Moreover, the disorder (‘entropy’) appears to be increasing over time.

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Insights into Regulation

Lao Tzu’s advice and UK Post Office governance

The Tao Te Ching is an ancient classic of Chinese Daoism whose authorship is conventionally attributed to a certain Lao Tzu. It contains advice on how to be a Sage, a person with sagacity. Significant sections are clearly directed at leaders in governance.

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Letters and Notes

The slow-moving disaster of English land use rules

Prof. John Muellbauer has recently shown that the regulatory wedge in the UK between house prices and the construction cost of new homes is currently at the highest level of the period covered by his data, and the highest in the G7.

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Insights into Regulation

The merits of Merits Review

As set out in To ‘see’, or not to ‘see’: that is the question. Moving on from a half-brained system of economic governance – (rpiresearchgroup.org), the half-brained governance thesis (“H-BGT”) is suggestive of a wide range of relevancies to areas of public policy where development thinking seems to be struggling. One such is the question of whether regulatory and competition policy decisions by designated agencies should be subject to review on their merits, as administrative decisions, not just on their conformity with acceptable procedures.

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Essays in Regulation

To ‘see’, or not to ‘see’:  that is the question. Moving on from a half-brained system of economic governance

Why do similar mistakes appear to be repeated over and over again in the conduct of economic policy? Why does there appear to be so little error-learning/learning-from-experience in this domain of human activity? Why does knowledge and the application of knowledge in these matters appear not to progress cumulatively in the manner of the physical sciences?
In this major Essay in Regulation, Harold Hutchinson and George Yarrow seek to outline some answers, building on insights from brain science. The first picture in the Essay, from the clinical work of Dr Iain McGilchrist, suffices to signal a ‘now for something completely different’ moment.

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