Tim Harford writes the Undercover Economist column, and was previously an economics leader writer for the FT. He first joined the newspaper as Peter Martin Fellow in 2003.
Tim is the author of nine books, including the million-selling The Undercover Economist and most recently How To Make The World Add Up. He is also a regular presenter for BBC radio.
He was made an OBE in the 2019 new year honours list “for services to improving economic understanding”.
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Always waiting for the next breakthrough can keep us from taking action now
We should all spend more time considering the prospect of failure and what we might do about it
Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson’s work transformed how countries allocate resources in the public interest
Unsurprisingly, neither side has all the answers. For those, we should look to Germany
The economist offers useful rules to help understand the data behind the headlines
Reader, I just turned 47. Peak misery awaits me at the end of November
The lack of clarity risks making a bad situation worse
‘If we are willing to go with our brains rather than our guts, any of us can think clearly about things’
A mass programme is needed because we cannot wait for an effective vaccine
In an age of disinformation, the value of rigorous data has never been more evident
Lockdowns called for ingenuity to meet the challenge of staging in a post-Covid world
Simply existing in a country where the virus is suppressed but circulating is not so risky
The shambles of UK exam grading caused distress to pupils and has a lesson to be learnt
There is good reason that we have such vivid memories of our holidays
Cutting edge technology can blind us to the enduring value of workhorses like the 747
But some predictions are false, no matter how much we wish they were true
Vivid stories swamp probabilities of Covid-19 infection — and young and old have different views
We do learn from bitter experience, of course. But we also have a great talent for forgetting
Randomised trials can be a danger but even when innocuous they can make us uneasy. Why?
The lack of co-ordination on the response to Covid-19 has cost lives
Reversing lockdown is perilous, but we cannot sacrifice our children’s education indefinitely
The history of innovation has plenty of lessons on how to fight the corona crisis and transform our future
Activities that were already marginal are likely to struggle to return
Laws cannot cover every situation but common sense is not always enough
The virus picks us off unevenly, and an effective response must recognise that