Ryan Bourne, IEA

Ryan Bourne


Washington, DC, United States

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  • Unknown
  • IEA
  • CapX
  • Cato Institute
  • Business Insider
  • City A.M.
  • HumanProgress.org
  • MustBeRead
  • IBTimes UK

Past articles by Ryan:


Getting the State out of Pre-School & Childcare — Institute of Economic Affairs

Summary: Decisions on childcare arrangements were largely a private matter until the 1990s. A political consensus has since arisen that … Continue reading "Getting the State out of Pre-School & Childcare" → Read More

Why shouldn't supply-side reform deliver for the Tories' new Red Wall voters?

Lord Frost’s resignation has reignited the internal Tory battle for the party’s economic soul. In his resignation letter, Frost spoke of his concerns about the ‘current direction of travel’ and his hope that the Government would ‘move as fast as possible’ to ‘a lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy’. Conservative opinion is, to put it mildly, […] → Read More

The social care debate shows how badly Brits need a 'red pill' moment

What is the biggest barrier to rolling back the state? Yes: the views of voters seems an obvious answer. But that begs the question: why are voters reluctant to consider it? Libertarians have theories. These usually involve the role of interest groups or bureaucracies. But there’s perhaps a more all-encompassing explanation we should consider. Government […] → Read More

Cummings the 'people person' doesn't see the real problem with government

Dominic Cummings is a people person. Not in the traditional sense of enjoying being around folk the whole time. His testimony on Wednesday showed the contempt he sees for those he deems fools, including many involved in politics. No, Cummings is a people person in the sense that his worldview of government centres on the […] → Read More

Unbeaten but bowed: How psychological scarring from Covid could harm the economy

What will be the economic legacy of this pandemic? The IMF believes US GDP will now be larger by the end of 2022 than predicted back in 2019 – in other words, there will be no persistent impact from this past year’s turmoil on American output. The Office for Budget Responsibility, of course, is still […] → Read More

The politics of catastrophe – or why Covid is anything but 'unprecedented'

Throughout this pandemic, we’ve seen how crucial an appreciation of context is to good decision-making. Judging whether to pause life-saving vaccines because of a blood clot risk requires first understanding the risk of stopping the rollout itself. Likewise, the high fiscal cost of advanced purchasing orders of vaccines by governments can only be understood in […] → Read More

Evidence of the Risks of Elevated Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Unemployed workers are less likely to seek new job opportunities when their unemployment wages exceed their working wages. → Read More

COVID-19: Learning From Bitter Political Experience?

We underestimate how much political incentives drives relative COVID-19 performance across countries. → Read More

The Political Economy of “Essential” Business Designation

A new study suggests that business donations to governors’ election campaigns influenced whether their industries were deemed “essential.” → Read More

The Bag Ban Blunder

Research shows, time and again, that bans on single‐​use plastic bags can have unintended consequences, not least by inducing substitution towards alternatives with potentially worse environmental impacts. → Read More

The Case against a $15 Federal Minimum Wage: Q&A

A crude, blanket high minimum wage across the whole country is incredibly risky. → Read More

The Government needs a new slogan: 'Hands. Face. Space. Aerate'

“The scary thing is, I have no idea how I caught it.” We’ve all heard variants on that sentiment in recent months from those infected with Covid-19. While there is always uncertainty, and even those taking sensible precautions can be unlucky, I worry that one unexplored explanation is a widespread lack of understanding about how … → Read More

The Economics of Vaccine Distribution

If the vaccine has a high enough efficacy, then under certain assumptions, it’s better to prioritize those more likely to transmit the disease for early inoculations. → Read More

Vaccine Music To Libertarian Ears

Pfizer opted not to take federal money for its COVID-19 vaccine research and development efforts, because it recognized bureaucracy would slow the process. → Read More

Arms out to help out: the case for a Covid vaccine payment

There are currently 11 Covid-19 vaccines in late-stage trials and over 200 others being developed. When one is finally approved as safe and effective, the next challenge will be persuading enough people to get immunised. But many may be reluctant to do so, thanks to a combination of caution given the unprecedented speed of vaccine … → Read More

Is the pandemic really a 'Wake Up Call' for the West?

Covid-19 has stress-tested government quality and many Western states have been found wanting. So conclude John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge in their new book, The Wake Up Call. An uncontroversial observation, some might say. But the pair review the cross-country wreckage to try to identify lessons from the successful and unsuccessful countries. Their conclusion: the … → Read More

Biden's policy agenda shows just how far the Democrats have lurched leftwards

Joe Biden is running a quiet campaign when it comes to policy. His messaging focuses on the state of discourse in the US, or on Donald Trump, or on the need for national unity. His pitch is that this election is both a referendum on the current President, but also a test of the “character … → Read More

On coronavirus, economists think differently to the 'common sense' crowd

What, exactly, is the Covid-19 problem that governments are trying to address? That seems a bizarre question, given escalating death numbers and widespread economic destruction. But if forced to, could you say, with clarity, what the aim of your country’s government currently is? Is it to manage the flow of caseloads to “protect the healthcare … → Read More

Ignore short-term GDP and avoid 'fiscal stimulus'

Even if not a technical recession (two quarters of negative growth), a severe coronavirus-induced downturn looks certain across major economies. Markets signal it. Top economists predict it (a recent IGM poll showed 62% to 8% “agreeing” it would happen.) And many “feel it” already – from disruptions to supply chains and work arrangements, to collapsing demand for leisure, travel, … → Read More

Bernie Sanders Is Far More Radical Than Corbyn’s Labour

Sanders’ platform goes far beyond any modern social democracy in terms of government size and scope. → Read More