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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Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture