Articles: Behavioural Economics %

June 30, 2014

This may seem like a distasteful question to pose on a Sunday morning, particularly if you are sitting across the kitchen table from someone you love, but I’ll ask it anyway: do you think divorces are good for the housing market? More

June 9, 2014

If you only have to look at one chart this week, let it be the one on this page (chart one). More

May 29, 2014

This week 100 years ago, a young Serb was practising his shot in a Bosnian forest. A month later, he would be successful in his murderous mission. John Redmond, the undisputed leader of Nationalist Ireland, had, after an epic parliamentary struggle, just forced through the Government of Ireland Act. Home Rule was here. It had massive public support. More

May 26, 2014

Every now and then you get a chance to work in a place that you’d happily pay to visit. There can be few more stunning places on earth than Interlaken in Switzerland. Therefore, waking up here this morning I could appreciate one of those rare joys in life – someone paying me to come to paradise. More

May 15, 2014

On Monday evening I was in Tesco in Ballybrack. Like every other supermarket in Ireland on a Monday evening it is full of women and the odd few men sent out to get things that the family have run out of like milk, bread and “stuff for the packed lunches”. The shoppers, overwhelmingly women, stopped in the aisles, priced stuff, weighed up their options and chose. This is how the economy works. Millions of everyday decisions taken by millions of people every day make up what is the economy. More

May 5, 2014

Years ago, in 2006, this column coined the expression ‘ghost estates’ after a drive from Castlebar to Dublin, where I saw row after row of these estates being built outside provincial villages. That year, over 90,000 houses were built in Ireland. I had no idea that this expression ‘ghost estate’ would find its way into the sorry lexicon of the era, but it did. More

April 24, 2014

Sport is the ultimate winner- takes-all economy where the difference between first and second place is huge. No one remembers runners-up. It is all about glory – or glory and riches – and no one wants to be second best. This is why Moyes’ exit was so abrupt; Man Utd have come to expect better and there can be no room for sentiment in the economics of sport. More

April 10, 2014

I am writing this from a small cafe just opposite the Old Bailey. For many Irishmen of my vintage, the Old Bailey is synonymous with IRA terrorists as well as innocent Irish people stitched up for crimes they didn’t commit. In my head, the Old Bailey reminds me of the 1970s and 1980s, a time when relations between Ireland and England were at their most strained. More

April 7, 2014

The frenzy has started again. Six years after a property boom practically destroyed our economy, we are at the same nonsense again. When are we ever going to learn that buying and selling over-priced houses to each other is not going to make us rich, but will make us poor? More

March 13, 2014

A few years ago, a reviewer decided to do a hatchet job on a book I wrote. This book was written in mid-2006. It forecast explicitly that the Irish banks were dangerously over-lending, one of the main banks was a wildly speculative “hedge fund” and would come crashing down when the property bubble imploded. More

Articles: Behavioural Economics

I write two economics columns every week. They keep me sane and hopefully, on my toes – but you can be the judge of that! One appears in the Irish Independent on Wednesdays and the other in the Sunday Business Post every Sunday. I’ve been writing the columns for over ten years now, covering economic, financial, demographic, social and geo-political issues – and all sorts of other things that come into my head, sparked by things I’ve read, people I have spoken to or ideas I have heard, over the course of any particular week.

The world - and Ireland - is changing so rapidly that it’s impossible to run out of things to write about. Since I rarely stop writing, the articles are composed and written in the oddest of places, in bars, on trains, in my office, on buses. You name it, I’ve written in, on or under it.

One of the great joys in the week is reading the responses to my articles in the comments on this site. Thanks so much to everyone who responds, challenges, argues and even blatantly insults! This is what freedom of expression and opinion is all about: two contrasting opinions – a buyer and a seller - make a market and makes for good discussion. Imagine a world where we all agreed?