Probably the most important role of Whitehall departments is giving policy advice to Ministers. It is therefore curious that policy-making did not figure directly in the Capability Reviews that central government departments have been going through in the past few years. Continue reading
A new book has been causing a bit of a stir in policy circles in the UK – ‘The Spirit Level’ is not another diatribe for or against God, as the name might suggest, but a book about equality.
The main message is fairly simple – affluent societies tend to suffer social ills like mental health problems, drug use, physical health, obesity, educational problems, teenage births, violence and crime in direction correlation to how equal or unequal they are. And people are unhappier too. Once you get above about $25,000 per capita GDP, the relationship between rising affluence and rising welfare disappears and is replaced by equality rather than affluence. Continue reading
Geoff Mulgan’s new book on ‘The Art of Public Strategy’ is an riveting read, fizzing with insights and ideas.
Mulgan played a big role in the Blair government, as a policy adviser and Head of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. He also has a strong history as a think-tanker and author, so his writing is full of insider anecdote, big ideas and shows a remarkably broad sweep. Having said all that is has several faults. Continue reading
The influential new book “Nudge” (Thaler and Sunstein 2008) comes from the emerging field of behavioral economics, which investigates the non-rational ways in which people make decisions. Continue reading