Vicky Pryce

Vicky Pryce is an economist and former Joint Head of the UK's Government Economic Service

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The number of violent offenders has risen sharply: there are now almost twice as many violent as non-violent prisoners in US jails

The Social Order of the Underworld by David Skarbek, book review: A troubling study of death and survival in US prisons

The ethnic mix has changed from mainly white to mainly non-white, with race now dominating divisions within US prisons

Unhappy Union: How the euro crisis-and Europe-can be fixed by John Peet and Anton La Guardia

When Greece looked like it might be forced out of the Euro in late 2011, there was a collective intake of breath. A small country accounting for two percent of Europe’s GDP became a global preoccupation. A lot was at stake, in fact, the entire Euro project. Contingency plans were being prepared everywhere - the European Commission, the European Council, the IMF, the European Central Bank, across all European capitals - and further afield.

Think Like a Freak: How To Think Smarter About Almost Everything! by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner, book review

The Freak series returns, this time as a guide to making good decisions

Fragile by Design: The Political origin of banking Crises and Scarce Credit by Charles Calomiris and Stephen Haber


Politicians here and elsewhere have made their name by attacking bankers' greed, other countries’ mistakes, globalisation, deregulation, central bankers' blindness, too loose monetary policy, you name it-except usually themselves. There is no denying that these issues matter and contributed to inflaming the 2008 crisis. All sorts of new ideas on how to make the system safer are constantly being suggested and many being implemented- increasing capital requirements; (forlorn) attempts to restrain bankers’ bonuses ;ring-fencing retail and investment banking; abolishing proprietary dealing (the Volker rule); increasing competition; or setting up proper resolution regimes for ' too big to fail' banks .

History of enchainment: HMP Pentonville, in London

Pain And Retribution: A Short History of British Prisons, 1066 to the Present by David Wilson, book review

Even for someone like me who has had first-hand experience of prison, this book is a revelation. The costly, ­dysfunctional prisons we have today simply recycle people into crime. Yet the authorities think the clang of the cell door makes for ­better citizens.

GDP by Diane Coyle, and Austerity by Florian Schui, book review

Diane coyle is known to many of us as a colleague and serious economist. Here, she tracks the beginnings of our obsession with measuring Gross Domestic Product, a concept first developed in the 1940s. So much depends on GDP, even if it lacks accuracy: fortunes are made and lost if the outturn is worse or better than predicted. Sovereign credit ratings get adjusted, with serious repercussions. Years down the road, figures are revised and what may have appeared a calamity turns out to have been healthy growth – we just didn’t know it at the time!

Vicky Pryce reviews I Spend Therefore I Am by Philip Roscoe

'A puzzling argument on the value of economics'

When will Britain learn? Immigration from the EU is enormously beneficial to our economy

Fear of the foreigner is politics at its worst and does the UK no credit

The Government is ignoring the needs of women offenders with its probation reforms, a group of MPs has warned

This week's big questions: What is the most effective way of improving prison? Are free schools a dangerous experiment?

This week's questions are answered by the economist and author Vicky Pryce

George Osborn's Autumn Statement proves that we’re already in Plan B. He just hasn’t told us

The UK will borrow an extra £220bn and at lower interest rates than expected for the smaller original figure. This is having a “Plan B” without announcing it.

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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links