Posts by Matthew Watson

Matthew Watson, Professor of Political Economy and ESRC Professorial Fellow, University of Warwick

Economic uncertainty and economics imperialism

Matthew Watson

The question of why uncertainty does not feature more prominently as an economic ontology requires answers that are rooted in intellectual history.  This post, the sixth in our series on uncertainty, searches for them by looking at how economic history has become increasingly colonised by economic theory, and economic theory by mathematics. The decision to focus this series of SPERI … Continue reading

26 October 2017 by Matthew Watson
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , ,

Paul Romer on mathiness and orthodox economics methodology

Matthew Watson

Recent criticisms of the mathiness of many economists has raised the question within the blogosphere of whether a fundamental fault-line has now punctured economics orthodoxy Over the course of the summer Paul Romer has set the economics blogs alight with his accusation regarding the so-called mathiness of many of his peers.  We can be pretty sure that this is not … Continue reading

16 September 2015 by Matthew Watson
Categories: British growth crisis, Economics, Methodology, Political theory, Social science, SPERI Comment Tags: , ,

‘Osbornomics’ and the death of benign government

Matthew Watson

Osborne’s plan to bind all future Chancellors to produce annual budget surpluses is not driven by economic logic, but is intended to reshape the meaning of government There is something really rather smug about the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, intending to legislate formally for constant year-on-year budget surpluses.  ‘I have been so right all along in my … Continue reading

7 July 2015 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Austerity, British growth crisis, Economics, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax Tags: , , , , ,

Conservative debt-reduction strategies and Victorian morals

Matthew Watson

Even though ‘Victorian values’ have become bywords for reactionary social policy, the 1866 budget shows that today’s Conservative Party fares badly by comparison Throughout the current parliament the UK Coalition Government has been beset by accusations that its welfare reforms echo the Victorian treatment of some of society’s most vulnerable citizens.  Perhaps I should reveal my hand straightaway by saying … Continue reading

25 March 2015 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Economics, Inequality, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment Tags: , , , ,

The two sides of speaking up for business

Matthew Watson

Business executives will continue to tell us how to cast our votes in May’s general election, but, before being persuaded, check the evidence on both sides of the argument As the British general election approaches, it seems that there are some things that it’s possible to find easy access to say and some that it’s not.  It also seems that … Continue reading

10 March 2015 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Economics, Inequality, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax Tags:

The false promise of corporation tax cuts

Matthew Watson

Recent research suggests that such policies constitute hand-outs, rather than effective means to shape firms’ investment decisions It is now more than a generation since British politicians first discovered how the image of globally footloose firms might be used to make the case for establishing a business-friendly environment.  Whatever the commitments given at the time that hard-won social rights would … Continue reading

4 November 2014 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Economics, Employment, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax, Welfare Tags: , ,

In fear of Flash Crashes: stock market wobbles past and present

Matthew Watson

The new era of high-frequency trading threatens our future prosperity Twelve years, so it seems, is a long time in the history of stock market wobbles. The elements of intermittent precipitous price plunges might always stay the same, but the causes are different, as are the implications for the economy. This, at any rate, appears to be the main finding … Continue reading

19 June 2014 by Matthew Watson
Categories: SPERI Comment

The Nobel Prize and the reproduction of economics orthodoxy

Matthew Watson

This year’s economics laureates reflect the narrow purview of the prize and the entrenchment of familiar but limited ways of thinking about economic life It is reasonably well known that the Nobel Prize in Economics is not a real Nobel Prize, being funded not by the original legacy but by the Swedish central bank.  Yet only real sticklers for detail … Continue reading

30 October 2013 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Economics, SPERI Comment

When warehouse becomes workhouse

Matthew Watson

Dehumanising surveillance techniques that echo the Victorian workhouse are alive and well in modern Britain In their organisational structure, the prison camp and the workhouse have always had a close familial resemblance.  Both came to mind recently following newspaper reports that Tesco was using electronic armbands to monitor the work-rate of warehouse employees against ever accelerating targets for productivity. Tesco’s … Continue reading

6 June 2013 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Employment, SPERI Comment

Orwell versus Osborne on the ‘undeserving’ poor

Matthew Watson

Orwell’s literature offers a prism for reflecting upon contemporary views of the poor that challenges the dominant narrative of discrimination and contempt Restrictions to UK welfare budgets demand that urgent attention is given to the issue of poverty.  This is not just a question of who is actually poor and why, but also of the labels attached to people who … Continue reading

19 February 2013 by Matthew Watson
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Welfare