Politics Roundtable

Politics Roundtable

Political blogs of interest to economists.

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Social Policy Bond Blog


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849797
Steven M Teles writes eloquently of the complexity and incoherence of US policy:

A "kludge" is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "an ill-assorted collection of parts assembled to fulfill a particular purpose...a clumsy but temporarily effective solution to a particular fault or ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849798
It lasts for generations. Helen Epstein writes about Dr Sara Josephine Baker of the New York City Health Department:

In her first year at the Bureau of Child Hygiene, Baker sent nurses to the most deadly ward on the Lower East Side. They were to visit every ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849799
Elizabeth Drew writes about US politics:

In 2009, for the first time, defeat of the incoming president in the next election became the opposition party’s explicit governing principle. If that meant blocking measures to improve the economy, or preventing the filling of important federal offices ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849800
It's a familiar, but disastrous, train of thought: government perceives a problem, government thinks it knows the cause of the problem, government pumps resources into the agencies that allegedly deal with the alleged cause of the problem. So we have, for instance, not-very-effective overseas aid agencies, bloated militaries, corrupt farm ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849796
I've done a short piece on my main website about why I think Social Policy Bonds must be tradeable. In this they differ crucially from Social Impact Bonds. Because they can't be traded, SIBs must target fairly narrow objectives, and ones with relatively short lead times. ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849795
John Lanchester, having seen the UK's GCHQ files, writes about the UK:

...we're moving towards a new kind of society. Britain is already the most spied on, monitored and surveilled democratic society there has ever been. This doesn't seem to have been discussed or ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849792
Social Policy Bonds rely heavily on targeting measures of social and environmental well-being. That's a potential problem. Sue Halpern is writing about algorithms and metrics in a different context, but what she says applies to policymaking on behalf of any but the smallest population:

But the real bias inherent ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849793
Congratulations to Robert Shiller of Yale University, one of the three winners of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics. Professor Shiller has over many years encouraged my work on Social Policy Bonds. Back in 1997 I received this letter from him, and more recently he mentioned ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849794
Spiked's Tim Black asks lecturer and psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff  "'Why are there so many more people being given a diagnosis that demands the prescription of powerful antipsychotics?' Moncrieff is quick to answer: ‘That’s an easy one - it’s the pharmaceutical industry.'"

That's probably part of ...


April 30, 2018, 8:10 pm, 1849791
It's probably too early to say whether the doubts being expressed about Social Investment Bonds (SIBs) are fatal or not, but one thing is clear: at best the bonds will function like performance related contracts. An improvement on most current government approaches, perhaps, but in terms of ambition ...