How parliament influences policy: academic and practitioner perspectives

The Constitution Unit Blog

RSpic-2

There is now a large body of academic research demonstrating that the Westminster parliament has considerable policy influence, yet claims that the UK has an executive-dominated political system persist. On 15 March Professor Meg Russell and Professor Philip Cowley, who between them have carried out much of the key research in this area, spoke at a Constitution Unit seminar on the policy impact of parliament along with Sarah Champion MP, who offered an insider perspective. Ruxandra Serban reports.

Public and media discourse is often shaped by a longstanding assumption that the Westminster parliament is weak relative to the executive – but is this really true? A closer look demonstrates that it is a complex and often misunderstood institution. On 15 March the Constitution Unit, in collaboration with the Hansard Society and the Parliament and Constitution Centre of the House of Commons Library, hosted a seminar in parliament with Professor Meg…

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Pollution Havens – just a delusion?

ECOSCOPE

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by Christina Timiliotis, Junior Trade Policy Analyst, OECD Trade & Agriculture Directorate, and Tomasz Kozluk, Head of the Green Growth Workstream, OECD Economics Department

Governments in the OECD and elsewhere must intensify efforts to mitigate pollution levels, if the international agreement of the latest COP 21 – pledging to keep global warming below 2 degrees – is to be more than just a loose promise. Against this background, policy makers need to enforce environmental regulations that oblige firms to account for the impact their actions have on the environment, and increase the price of using the environment as a factor of production. While there is broad support for environmental goals in the first place, support dwindles when compliance with such regulations implies higher production costs.

Efforts to put a cost on pollution have indeed often provoked resentment and resistance by producers and workers who fear to be put at a disadvantage

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Incriminations between detainees from the four largest national groups at Guantánamo

Source: New analysis of WikiLeaks documents shows that intelligence-gathering at Guantánamo has been ineffective. | USAPP.

Do musicians ever make any money from recording music?

Source: The Root Investigates Who Really Gets Paid in the Music Industry – The Root.

Human capital = 70% NZ’s wealth @WJRosenbergCTU @EricCrampton

Source: Human Capital, Tangible Wealth, and the Intangible Capital Residual by Kirk Hamilton, Gang Liu :: SSRN

Bugger the top 1% – it is the retired who are going from strength to strength

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The rapid diffusion of household appliances

The program I watched the other day on the history of refrigeration and air conditioning was one of the more interesting technology history shows I have watched.

#Climatechange denier as an ever expanding smear

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statistics vs. econometrics – heckman’s approach

orgtheory.net

Over at Econ Talk, Russ Roberts interviews James Heckman about censored data and other statistical issues. At one point, Roberts asks Heckman what he thinks of the current identification fad in economics (my phrasing). Heckman has a few insightful responses. One is that a lot of the “new methods” – experiments, instrumental variables, etc. are not new at all. Also, experiments need to be done with care and the results need to be properly contextualized. A lot of economists and identification obsessed folks think that “the facts speak for themselves.” Not true. Supposedly clean experiments can be understand in the wrong way.

For me, the most interesting section of the interview is when Heckman makes a distinction between statistics and econometrics. Here’s his example:

  • Identification – statistics, not economics. The point of identification is to ensure that your correlation is not attributable to an unobserved variable. This is either a…

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New Zealand’s renewable energy as a percentage of the total primary energy supply

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