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Month: June 2018

Conservative Home article: Tranferrable Tax Allowances and Free Child Care

Conservative Home article: Tranferrable Tax Allowances and Free Child Care

My latest article on Conservative Home argues that families should be offered a choice between the 30 hours of free childcare or a transferable tax allowance, to enable a more genuine choice between whether they should both return to work, and to allow more parents who wish to to care for their own children. The full article is here: Iain Mansfield: To bring greater fairness to families, free childcare should be linked to the transferable tax allowance

A model of Twitter growth

A model of Twitter growth

It took 41 days for my Twitter followers to double in number from 50 to 100. It took a further 26 for the number to double again, from 100 to 200. At the moment the growth is slightly faster than exponential, which seems unlikely to continue. Clearly, more followers – especially more followers who are active and engaged – help you to reach a wider audience, so why doesn’t growth continue to be exponential? Let’s assume that a person’s current…

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Initial Hypothesis: The Game of Teaching Excellence

Initial Hypothesis: The Game of Teaching Excellence

Download and print a fully playable game based on the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). A card game for 2-5 players, lasting 30-40 minutes, Initial Hypothesis is a fast-paced game of skill and luck, in which each player seeks to secure a Gold TEF rating before their opponents do. Go for Gold at the helm of one of five renowned English institutions, including the Universities of Poppleton and Oxbridge. Collect a full set of TEF metrics – and…

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Brexit Paper now online

Brexit Paper now online

I’ve added a new Current Affairs section to the website. In addition to links to my articles elsewhere on the internet, the major addition is the link to my 2014 paper on Brexit, that won the Institute of Economic Affairs €100,000 ‘Brexit’ prize for the best policy blueprint for the UK in the (then hypothetical) event of our departure from the EU. A link to the paper, and to other articles, and a discussion of its relevance today, can be found…

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Party Game: Lord of the Rings Exegesis

Party Game: Lord of the Rings Exegesis

As Shakespeare tells us, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” And indeed, throughout history there have been many occasions in which people on either side of an argument have both drawn from the Bible (or other holy book) to support their aims. Although a party game based on using the Bible itself in this way would be irreverent and indeed somewhat offensive, fortunately there is another weighty tome, which many people have more than a passing familiarity with,…

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Reevaluating Twitter

Reevaluating Twitter

When I joined Twitter, two months ago, I did so somewhat reluctantly. Although it seemed necessary to have a presence there if trying to communicate in the modern age, my impression of it was almost entirely negative. I thought that 280 characters was far too short a limit to say anything meaningful, that communication would be nothing but catchy sound-bites from people trying to look good and to shame others, and that the setting primarily functioned as a way of…

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Making Markets Work: Rail Franchising

Making Markets Work: Rail Franchising

According to some polls, 60% of people think that the rail network should be nationalised, whilst only 25% believe it should remain in private hands. With the chaos affecting the Thameslink and Great Northern networks, annual above-inflation price-rises and a number of well-publicised failures in franchising such as the 2012 West Coast Mainline debacle, it’s easy to see the appeal. But at the same time, it’s not that simple. The number of rail journeys being made has more than doubled…

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Guest Post: Cosmos, The Infographic Book of Space

Guest Post: Cosmos, The Infographic Book of Space

This is a guest post by Dr Chris North, astronomer and prolific commented on this blog, about his book Cosmos, The Infographic Book of Space. Over the years I’ve written a few popular science books, and it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing. So far they’ve always with a co-author (such as Sky at Night colleages Patrick Moore and Paul Abel), which is useful for sharing ideas – as well as spreading the workload! I think it’s fair to say that the…

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Blogging Survey Results

Blogging Survey Results

Whilst perhaps less exciting than yesterday’s HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey results, see below the results of my recent blogging survey. Many thanks to all who completed it. Key things I learned included: I have more readers than I thought. On a typical day this site gets 40-50 unique visitors. However, the survey indicated that over half of those completing it visited the site once a week or less. Extrapolating up, I probably have at least 200…

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A New University Ranking

A New University Ranking

Ranking universities by the proportion of entrants who go on to graduate jobs or further study. The  higher education landscape is blessed with many detailed and accurate datasets. Many of the most commonly used sources of data, however, artificially flatter the sector’s performance. For example, the sector’s preferred measure of ‘non-continuation’ only looks at the proportion of  students who don’t continue from the first to the second year – rather than, as one might expect, the proportion that complete (or…

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