Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman is Research Director at the Adam Smith Institute. He writes on immigration, Bleeding Heart Libertarianism, and complexity in public policy.

Let me Google that for you

Written by | Wednesday 5 February 2014

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An alternative ‘Agenda for Hope’

Written by | Tuesday 28 January 2014

Owen Jones has written a nine-point ‘Agenda for Hope’ that he argues would create a fairer society. Well, maybe. I’m not convinced by many of them. Then again, it would be quite surprising if I was.

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Bubbles and balloons

Written by | Saturday 18 January 2014

Quite a few people criticised the title of my last post — There was no British housing bubble — on the basis that, even if there was no overconstruction of housing (and thus no Austrian-style distortion in the structure of production), there was a bubble in the sense that prices rose rapidly, and so on. 

But is this right? I suppose it depends on what you mean by a 'bubble'. As far as I can tell, there are at least three different meanings of the word 'bubble':

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There was no British housing bubble

Written by | Friday 17 January 2014

Marcus Nunes graphed the Housing Stock to Population ratio in the US recently, showing that housing reached something like a steady-state in the US from the mid-1980s onwards. As Philip Stephens says, “The constructing in US housing was exactly what was needed to maintain the housing-population ratio in the face of increased population growth. You cannot have an “unsustainable boom” without oversupply.”

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There's no such thing as a free minimum wage hike

Written by | Friday 10 January 2014

Paul Kirby, who was head of the No. 10 Policy Unit until last year, has a long post calling for a “dramatic, historic increase" to the minimum wage, bringing the levels from the current £6.10/hour to £10/hour in London and £8/hour in the rest of the country. It’s a bold post, but ultimately most of his arguments fail. In this post I try to address the key points he makes in favour of a hike.

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The net migration cap is hurting Britain

Written by | Saturday 28 December 2013

This morning's Guardian carries a letter by the ASI, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Institute of Directors, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Entrepreneurs Network and Conservatives for Liberty, on why we oppose the government's migration cap. I wrote about why more free marketeers should care about immigration recently — we're lucky that the UK's foremost free market think tanks do.

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Immigration controls are the new Corn Laws. Why don't more free marketeers care?

Written by | Tuesday 17 December 2013

If you had to name a single government policy that ruins the greatest number of lives, what would you pick? The 45p tax rate? Saver-hurting inflation? Green energy subsidies?

I’d say that the biggest one is the one that free marketeers are largely silent about: migration controls.

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No, Britain isn't a developing country

Written by | Tuesday 10 December 2013

Britain is a developing country, says Aditya Chakrabortty. He bases this largely on the fact that it is below some poor countries on a number of international rankings. (Never has an article owed so much to Wikipedia’s “List of countries by” pages.) Some of the rankings seem obscure: is Barbados's superior ‘ground transport’ system worth caring about?

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The minimum wage's ugly allies

Written by | Friday 6 December 2013

Ron Unz, an American conservative, has launched a new campaign to raise the US federal minimum wage to $12/hour, up from $7.25/hour. Today he makes his case on the New York Times website:

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Our reaction to the Autumn Statement

Written by | Thursday 5 December 2013

Here were my comments on what I thought were the key points of the Autumn Statement:

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