300 episodes

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

More or Less: Behind the Stats BBC

    • News

Tim Harford and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us. From BBC Radio 4

    The prize-winning economics of migration and the minimum wage

    The prize-winning economics of migration and the minimum wage

    Do immigrants drive down wages, do minimum wage increases reduce job opportunities, and do people who did well in school earn more money?
    These are questions that the winners of the 2021 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics looked to the world around them for answers to.
    David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens developed ways of interpreting what they saw that changed the way economists think about what they see.
    In this episode of More or Less, presenter-turned-guest Tim Harford explains how.

    (Image: Mariel boat lift, which brought over 100,000 Cubans into the United States: Photo by Tim Chapman/Miami Herald)

    • 8 min
    Bonus episode: the first ever More or Less

    Bonus episode: the first ever More or Less

    A chat with More or Less's founding producer and presenter plus the first episode in full.

    Tim talks to Michael Blastland and Sir Andrew Dilnot about how More or Less came into being (after several rejections), whether politicians and journalists are more numerate now, and where the name come from.

    Then, the very first episode of More or Less, originally broadcast on Radio 4 on 13 November 2001.

    • 36 min
    Twenty years of More or Less

    Twenty years of More or Less

    A look back at our origins, plus the usual mix of numerical nous and statistical savvy.

    It’s two decades since More or Less first beamed arithmetic into the unsuspecting ears of Radio 4 listeners. We revisit the show’s genesis with the original presenter and producer.

    Why are there two different figures about our vaccination rate doing the rounds and how does the UK now compare internationally?

    Plus listener questions on how the colour of your front door affects your house price, TVs on standby mode, and more. And we try to respond to a meteor storm of complaints about our earlier item asserting that Star Trek’s Mr Spock is in fact highly illogical.

    • 27 min
    The Gender Pay Gap

    The Gender Pay Gap

    Tim Harford talks to Planet Money’s Stacey Vanek Smith about the gender pay gap in the US and the UK – and how Renaissance writer, Machiavelli might be an unlikely source of inspiration for women in the workplace.

    • 8 min
    Is it easy being green?

    Is it easy being green?

    Is our electricity extra expensive and our insulation inadequate? And a tale of tumbling trees.

    Internet infographics suggest we’re paying way more for our energy than countries in the EU. Are they being interpreted correctly? And what part, if any, has Brexit had to play?

    Insulation Britain activists have been gluing themselves to motorway slip-roads to raise awareness about poor home insulation. Their website says we have the least energy efficient homes in Europe. What’s the evidence?

    Plus, what do the numbers tell us about migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats? Are stereotypes about different generations backed up by the data? And is it or is it not true that the UK has lots of trees?

    • 29 min
    Covid trends, face mask use, and the universal credit cut

    Covid trends, face mask use, and the universal credit cut

    A coronavirus check-in, our daily mask use measured, and a minister's claim on the universal credit cut questioned.

    There was a time when the latest Covid statistics were headline news daily, but as the pandemic has stretched on into its second year and third wave people don't pay as much attention. But on More or Less we still keep an eye on them because that’s how we roll.

    A recent article estimated that 129 billion single-use face masks are used every day around the world. It sounds wrong, but how wrong is it? And how did it get so wrong?

    Making up the shortfall from the £20 weekly cut in the universal credit benefit means working an extra two hours a week - or an extra nine, depending on who you listen to. We run the numbers.

    Plus, has the number of periods women have in a lifetime increased fourfold? And how many holes does a drinking straw have?

    • 27 min

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