Browse our research

The OBR and the limits of impartiality

The suggestion that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) should be available to check the fiscal sums presented by the political parties in their election manifestos offers the prospect of elevating the national economic debate.  But the OBR would need to be careful that its hard-earned reputation for impartiality could survive exposure to party political competition. 

Will Hutton on fair pay, luck, and desert

The publication of Will Hutton’s Review of Fair Pay in the public sector has reignited the debate about what fairness requires of us when it comes to people’s pay. Hutton’s own analysis of fairness is philosophically ambitious, drawing as it does on a prominent school of academic thought called luck egalitarianism. But it is also philosophically flawed, as we show in our article in People Management.

The logic of university fees

The government’s plans to reform undergraduate fees assume that English universities will form themselves into a recognisable hierarchy. But this is a forlorn hope. The increasing number of league tables have added to, not diminished, the contestability of who ranks where by providing conflicting sources of apparently authoritative data. In more ways than one, English universities simply do not know their place. When it comes to setting fees, what is at stake is not just revenue but reputation: allowing these two to mix together, under conditions of uncertainty, creates an incentive for universities en masse to gravitate to the maximum fee.