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"What matters is what works"

David Cameron and his cabinet
More or Less
Friday, 4 June 2010
BBC Radio 4, 1330 BST

Should governments make decisions based on evidence, or instinct?

New Labour was elected in 1997 with a manifesto that said, "what matters is what works".

But in power, evidence was often ignored.

We find out whether the new government intends to pursue what works, or what feels right.

Tim Harford interviews the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts.

Canary Wharf
Do banks really contribute 24% of all UK tax?

Bank Tax

Does the banking sector contribute 24% of all UK tax, as the former trade minister Lord Jones recently claimed?

Ruth Alexander has the answer.

(A sneak preview: the answer is no).


No probability distribution has colonised the airport bookshops like that cheeky little power law distribution, the 80/20 rule. Why?

Gillian Lacey-Solymar investigates.

Ugly criminals

Mugshots of Victorian criminals
Do criminals share similar physical traits?

Ugly people are more likely to commit crime. So say researchers working in the new field of 'anthropometrics'.

Or is it new?

We discuss the study of physical attributes with Professor Erdal Terkin of Georgia State University, the economist who wrote the peer-reviewed work 'Ugly Criminals', and a historian of statistics, Eileen Magnello.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less is broadcast on Friday, 4 June at 1330 BST and repeated on Sunday, 6 June at 2000 BST.

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