Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Global Parents day- economist guide to what we owe our parents!

The United Nations has delcared 1st June global parents day
It calls upon nations to recognise the role and sacrifice made by many parents worldwide.
Here is our quick guide to the economics of parental sacrifice.

What does it cost to raise a child?

The annual survey by LV and CEBR found that in 2016 the average cost of bringing up a child from birth to 21 was £231,843
this was a raise of 2.2% in 2015.

One of the highest costs is childcare. The Annual Family and Childcare Trust survey has been recording data in 2002.
in 2017 it stated that

Childcare costs families more than double what they spend on food and drink.

It has also noted the high costs of child care and activities during school holidays. This has been reiterated in a Child Poverty Action Group Survey

How about the bank of mum and dad?

In recent years many parents have also taken on the financial burden of assisting their children onto the property ladded.
According to a recent report from the Guardian the  'so-called bank of mum and dad will help fund property purchases worth about £75bn in 2017,  including deposits for more than 298,000 mortgages'
this relates to research commissioned by Legal and General.The full text report and infographics can be downloaded form the website

Loss of sleep.

Parents also lose sleep which economists have estimated effects their economic productivity and careeer prospects.
Read the full text working paper  
Costa-Font, Joan and Fl├Ęche, Sarah (2017) Parental sleep and employment: evidence from a British cohort study. CEP Discussion Papers, CEPDP1467. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
which found that 'A one-hour reduction in sleep duration significantly decreases labour force participation, the number of hour’s worked and household income'.

However being a parent may mean more happiness !

Some more positive reviews of the benefits in terms of life satisfaction from Psychology Today
remember this is only partial there are others showing the opposite.
one of the positive studies it mentions is In defense of Parenthood- by nelson et al which in a review of 3 studies finds that  contrary to previous reports, parents (and especially fathers) report relatively higher levels of happiness, positive emotion, and meaning in life than do nonparents.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

food packaging and waste - what do we really recycle?

According  to the Recycling Association- the hardest items to recycle are
Pringles Crisp packets and Lucozade sports Drink bottles

 But how much do we recycle and what are the real problems?
 Get some facts from these resources

they have annual data on local authority collected household recycling waste by weight, also information on the percentage recycled,
This is based on anual Waste Data Flow raw data


The National Packaging Waste database is for registered suppliers of packaging its public area also gives information on UK standards, agreements . it also has some data on packaging accepted for recycling and producer compliance
Wrap is a registered charity which seeks to reduce waste. It produces resources for manufacturers 
Its website has surveys with opinions from the Food and Drink Federation.

 What do consumers do and think?
RECycling Of Used Plastics Limited (RECOUP) is a registered charity and not-for-profit member based organisation.  RECOUP works in collaboration with all stakeholders to promote, develop, stimulate and increase the levels of plastics recycling within the UK.Its website has information on household collection and recycling of plastics plus surveys of consumers.

International studies - how does the UK compare?

Good starting points are Eurostat which has interesting time series rates for household waste generated and recycled in EU nations over the last ten years

It is also worth searching the UNEP website for books and reports on waste management

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Cybersecurity - try our recommended research links.

Last week's WannaCrypt software cyberattack has led to concerns about cybersecurity.
The official Microsoft blog posted a  message entitled:

The need for urgent collective action to keep people safe online: Lessons from last week’s cyberattack
UK government offered some advice
Eurpol blogged about the issues relating to the Ransomware attack . Their website has a section devoted to cybercrime

Here are some recommended links for academic researchers

How common are cyber attacks?
the Uk government conducts a regular cuber security breaches bulletin. Respondents are asked about their approach to cyber security and any breaches or attacks over the 12 months before the interview. Results are available by business size.

Shockingly :

Just under half (46%) of all businesses identified at least one breach or
attack in the last year. The most common types of breaches related to
staff receiving fraudulent emails (72% of those who identified a breach or
attack), followed by viruses and malware (33%), people impersonating the
organisation online (27%) and ransomware (17%).

Institute of Directors has  published a survey in 2016 which found that 37% of IoD members lead or work in organisations without a formal cyber security strategy, Cyber security: Ensuring business is ready for the 21st century

Also in 2016, the Federation of Small Businesses published a report that two thirds of FSB members had been a victim of cyber crime in the last two years, costing an average of £3,000 per business.
Price Waterhouse Cooper has released a Global State of Information Security Report which surveys progress and threats to business on a global scale.

2017 Symantec Internet Security Threat report examines the level of threat and instances ocuring. It includes data on ransomware.
For comparisons between countries see this interesting blog post from Comparitech which is based on statista data and compares instances of attacks with degrees of internet freedom

 UK government policy
Try searching the UK government website for the latest policy documents, guidance and legislation relating to cybersecurity. 
These include the National strategy
NHS information governnance strategy
NHS England information security strategy 2016

Research centres
Royal Society report on Cybersecurity 
Academic Centres of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSRs) scheme is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (now the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy [BEIS]), the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA) and Research Councils UK (RCUK). It website provides links and news.