Tag Archives: public sector

When the population isn’t homogenous

A recent post at the Freakonomics website set out their plans for a changed NHS.  My opinion is that the main issue with the NHS is not to do with the demand side (which in any case is pretty tightly controlled through referrals through GPs and the NHS Direct portals) but rather the supply side (with too much spent on management, administration and inefficiency).  Leaving that aside, does the Freakonomics proposal make sense? Continue reading

How to know what didn’t happen

One of the key types of projects I work on is the economic impact study, which looks at how government expenditure, regulatory changes, public policy or commercial decisions have changed or will change the welfare of the country.  In order to carry out such an exercise, you must build a model which estimates economic activity (in terms of money spent and employment) under two scenarios – with and without the policy or commercial decision. Continue reading

Is it better to own nothing?

The Guardian reported last year on how fire engines in London had been sold to a private equity firm for £2.  Although fire services grew from private insurance companies, the modern fire service is a clear example of how certain organisations benefit from being owned and run by the government.  There are very large positive externalities from a fire service – they not only stop a building burning, but prevent damage to everything else in the neighbourhood.  People’s willingness to pay for a fire service is much lower than society’s benefit. Continue reading