Category Universities

English student loans are a weirdly designed tax

Despite being called ‘tuition fees’, the system of financing university education in England operates more like an extra income tax on graduates. For most students, the government pays universities up front, and then charges the student an additional 9% of any income above a threshold of £25,725 a year along with income tax and national […]

The Case Against Education: Review

I’ve written a review of Bryan Caplan’s book The Case Against Education for the LSE Review of Books. You can read it here:

Can neoliberalism make us embrace risk?

One of the most powerful observations of Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee’s Poor Economics is that most people in the developing world don’t want to be entrepreneurs, even many of those who are self-employed. Instead, most people, if they can find it, want the security and stability of a well-paid salaried job, ideally working for […]

On Jeremy Corbyn and the ‘Oxbridge purge’

Owen Jones wrote a slightly odd article last week responding to the claim that Jeremy Corbyn has ‘purged’ the senior ranks of the Labour party of Oxford and Cambridge graduates, since most of his team come from less prestigious universities.* Unfortunately Jones spends the article rather labouring what seem to me to be a couple […]

Why PPE isn’t (fully) to blame for Britain’s Politicians

In his recent attack on Oxford University’s Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) degree, Nick Cohen essentially makes two claims*: I) Today’s British politicians are so bad and so reviled because of their lack of depth, their tendency to bullshit and over-simplify across many areas, rather than delve into the details of specific issues II) This […]

Should fewer people be encouraged to go to university?

The obvious conclusion to draw from Allister Heath’s claim that the fastest job growth over the next few years will be in occupations that that don’t require university degrees is that fewer people should be encouraged to go to university. That’s certainly the spin put on it by Heath’s sub-editor, who headlined the piece, “Tell […]