James Zuccollo

James Zuccollo is a senior economist for UK consultancy Reform. He leads Reform’s economic research and has co-authored reports on monetary policy, fiscal institutions, and education funding among others. He has appeared on the BBC Today programme and written widely in the online and print media, including City AM, Prospect, The New Statesman, Public Finance, and The Guardian. Prior to Reform he was an economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) where he published work on economic impact assessment, regulatory reform, and the value of tertiary education. James is on Twitter @jzuccollo

Externalities and the changing nature of the internet - The Dismal Science

Jan 09, 2013

Cory Doctorow has written a thoughtful and interesting article for the Guardian, which argues that pricing externalities will inhibit the creation of public value. …the infectious idea of internalising externalities turns its victims into grasping, would-be rentiers. You translate a document because you need it in two languages. I come along and use those translations [...]

WSJ suggests abandoning economic models - The Dismal Science

Jan 08, 2013

Simon Nixon has a provocative article in the WSJ where he argues that the current generation of New Keynesian models are useless because of their poor forecast performance. He proposes looking solely at the rate of debt reduction when forecasting economic performance: [The] dismal science’s [forecasting] record suggests is that there is something profoundly wrong [...]

No shirking from home, please! - The Dismal Science

Jan 08, 2013

Working from home massively increases productivity: Over 10% of US employees now regularly work from home (WFH), but there is widespread skepticism over its impact and worries about “shirking from home”. We report the results of a WFH experiment at CTrip, a 16,000 employee NASDAQ-listed Chinese multinational. Call center employees who volunteered to WFH were [...]

Fiscal multipliers are unhelpful - The Dismal Science

Jan 04, 2013

John Quiggin has re-opened the fiscal multiplier debate to advocate for fiscal stimulus. Quiggin, along with others such as Krugman, Summers and DeLong, and Blanchard claim that the effect of government spending on production will be greater than the government’s initial injection. The empirical evidence they use tends to rely on cross-country regressions, although some [...]

University enrolments are down - The Dismal Science

Jan 04, 2013

The FT reports that university enrolments in the UK have dropped 6% over last year, following a similar fall in the previous year. It speculates that this may be, in part, because “the rise in fees from £3,375 to an average of more than £8,000 appears to be suppressing demand.” No doubt the reduced subsidy [...]

Performance evaluation of teachers - The Dismal Science

Dec 28, 2012

From the AER: …observable teacher characteristics like graduate education and experience are not typically correlated with increased productivity [among teachers]. Many researchers and policymakers have suggested that, under these conditions, the only way to adjust the teacher distribution for the better is to gather information on individual productivity through evaluation and then dismiss low performers. [...]

Fiscal rules need an enforcer - The Dismal Science

Dec 12, 2012

Since the Autumn Statement there has been a lot of discussion about fiscal rules. One of the most substantive comments has come from Simon Wren-Lewis, who is something of an expert on the subject of fiscal rules and fiscal councils. His conclusion is that …the main problem with the UK government’s fiscal mandate has nothing [...]

Carney endorses NGDP level targeting! - The Dismal Science

Dec 12, 2012

Mark Carney’s speech last night: For example, adopting a nominal GDP (NGDP)-level target could in many respects be more powerful than employing thresholds under flexible inflation targeting. This is because doing so would add “history dependence” to monetary policy. Under NGDP targeting, bygones are not bygones and the central bank is compelled to make up [...]

Should student loans be bigger? - The Dismal Science

Nov 21, 2012

I share Holly Walker’s concern about the plight of post-graduate students. She is disturbed by a new survey showing that [post-graduate students] committed to finishing their study highlight[ed] concerns about being able to provide basic needs for themselves without access to the [recently cut student] allowance, such as food and shelter. As Matt has discussed [...]