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Hard Evidence

Analysis and Comment (55)

Party politics? No, thanks. Party politics? No, thanks. Manny Valdes

Hard Evidence: are Gen Y really Thatcher’s children?

Generation Y, the youngest adult generation, have recently been called Dave’s No 1 Fans, Thatcher’s Children, The Boris Generation or just plain Generation Right. Much of this discussion draws on an analysis…
Growing up on broccoli. Growing up on broccoli. School lunch via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Hard Evidence: what do primary school children need to eat?

We should be concerned about our children’s diets. In 2011, nearly 10% of four to five-year-olds in the UK were classified as obese. By the time they leave primary school, nearly 20% of children are obese…
Helmet-free on Washington DC’s Captial Bikeshare. Helmet-free on Washington DC’s Captial Bikeshare. Ben Schumin

Hard Evidence: do bikeshare schemes lead to more head injuries among cyclists?

Public bikesharing schemes are sprouting up in towns and cities worldwide. The bikes are generally provided without helmets, and this has led to concerns regarding the risk of serious head injuries. It…
Lapping up the rays… in Scarborough. Lapping up the rays… in Scarborough. Jonathan Pow/PA Archive

Hard Evidence: is this a line in the sand for the staycation?

Bognor or Borneo? Penzance or Paris? Scarborough or Sao Paulo? The decision of whether to spend your annual leave holidaying in a foreign clime, at a campsite in the UK, or even just in your back garden…
Urgent business: the UN Security Council discusses Gaza and the downing of flight MH17. Urgent business: the UN Security Council discusses Gaza and the downing of flight MH17. EPA/Jason Szenes

Hard Evidence: who uses veto in the UN Security Council most often – and for what?

On Thursday July 17, 298 people lost their lives when Flight MH17 was downed in eastern Ukraine. Almost immediately accusations were made that the aircraft had been shot down by pro-Russian separatists…
Less ‘Vocation, Vocation, Vocation’ according to one lifestyle expert. Less ‘Vocation, Vocation, Vocation’ according to one lifestyle expert. Woman by Shutterstock

Hard Evidence: does fertility really ‘drop off a cliff’ at 35?

Everyone’s favourite property expert and house hunter extraordinaire, Kirstie Allsopp, raised some eyebrows when she recently suggested that women’s fertility “falls off a cliff” when they hit 35. Her…
School, or more play? School, or more play? Kindergarden kids by Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock

Hard Evidence: at what age are children ready for school?

When are children “ready” for school? There is much debate about when the transition between play-based pre-school and the start of “formal” schooling should begin. The trend in the UK primary school curriculum…
Worthy winners? Worthy winners? Anthony Stanley

Hard Evidence: what is the World Cup worth?

Ever wondered what the World Cup is worth? When Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga designed the current trophy in 1971, it was worth US$50,000. Now the trophy is estimated to be worth US$10m. The World…
No longer business as usual in Brussels says Cameron after UKIP’s triumph in EU elections. No longer business as usual in Brussels says Cameron after UKIP’s triumph in EU elections. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

Hard Evidence: how much power can the far right wield in European Parliament?

One of the most heavily reported outcomes of last week’s elections for the European Parliament has been the “revolution on the right” – the large numbers of people who opted to vote for far right, Eurosceptic…
If the UK’s Molly doesn’t luck out, it’s not due to collusion. If the UK’s Molly doesn’t luck out, it’s not due to collusion. EPA/Joerg Carstensen

Hard Evidence: is the UK shunned at Eurovision?

It’s that time of the year again. One of the biggest events in Europe’s (and the world’s) cultural calendar, the Eurovision song contest is legendary. The attention paid to this bizarre show is enormous…
Destination unknown: measuring youth unemployment is a fraught business. Destination unknown: measuring youth unemployment is a fraught business. Martin Rickett/PA

Hard Evidence: who are the NEETS?

Governments across Europe are searching for effective policies to drive down youth unemployment. Most European countries have experienced an alarming rise in the levels of young people (16-24) who are…
If only it were this straightforward. If only it were this straightforward. Alias 0591

Hard Evidence: how does false information spread online?

Last summer the World Economic Forum (WEF) invited its 1,500 council members to identify top trends facing the world, including what should be done about them. The WEF consists of 80 councils covering…
Was it worth it? Was it worth it? Brunel University

Hard Evidence: can dropping out of university be positive?

University dropout seems a dreadful thing to happen. From the perspective of a student you might feel you’ve failed and have to pay off debt for a life time. The university gets penalised if student non-completion…
Breast cancer rates are rising, but so are survival rates. Breast cancer rates are rising, but so are survival rates. bookgrl

Hard Evidence: are we beating cancer?

More and more people are beating cancer – over the past 20 years the proportion of people surviving the disease for more than ten years has increased by a third, from 34% to 45%. But as the population…
A 2% rise next year instead? You have my word. A 2% rise next year instead? You have my word. Rui Vieira/PA

Hard Evidence: does the public sector pay better?

The government’s decision to reject the recommended 1% rise in NHS salaries has been met with “contempt” by the unions. The issue of public sector pay has become highly contentious, with each side arguing…
Young left out of the recovery. Young left out of the recovery. Andy Rain/EPA

Hard Evidence: are young people’s job prospects improving?

Recessions always hit young people hard. Firms’ first response to declining orders is to stop hiring new recruits rather than sacking experienced staff. Young people disproportionately rely on new hiring…
Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. Cotton has become a controversial crop in India. captrosha

Hard Evidence: does GM cotton lead to farmer suicide in India?

Arguments surrounding the use of genetically modified crops and whether they are the solution to the world’s problems of food supply and public health are no nearer to resolution than when GM was introduced…
It’s no beach ball. It’s no beach ball. Adam Davy/PA

Hard Evidence: how will the 2014 World Cup ball swerve?

There are now only a few months to go until the biggest sporting event of 2014 – the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – and questions are being asked. Will the stadiums be ready? Are the airports ready for the…
Puzzled? Stuck? Or just apathetic? Scotland’s undecideds. Puzzled? Stuck? Or just apathetic? Scotland’s undecideds. David Cheskin/PA Wire

Hard evidence: who are Scotland’s undecideds on independence?

A lot of things have been said about those who have not made their minds up yet with regards to whether they will vote yes or no in this year’s referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. Sometimes…
It’s time to wake up to London’s cultural dominance. It’s time to wake up to London’s cultural dominance. shutterstock

Hard Evidence: does London get too much arts funding?

London has 15.4%, one eighth, of the population of England. It is well known that London receives a disproportionate amount of UK arts subsidies, but perhaps not the vast extent of this. Our independently…
Smash-and-grab: statistics only give us a fractured picture of crime. Smash-and-grab: statistics only give us a fractured picture of crime. raleighwoman

Hard evidence: how accurate are British crime statistics?

The Office for National Statistics released the latest crime statistics last week, and the headline findings are really rather remarkable. Although approximately 8 million offences were recorded by the…
Not bad, but have you seen the Whitechapel job centre? Not bad, but have you seen the Whitechapel job centre? Chiugoran

Hard Evidence: does ‘benefits tourism’ exist?

For all of the changes to the UK over the last century, the ideal of “fair play” still seems to be a pretty fundamental part of Britain’s national self-image. The concept that anyone – especially anyone…
There are plenty of new cars on British roads, but few of them are made here. There are plenty of new cars on British roads, but few of them are made here. Martin Rickett/PA

Hard Evidence: is the UK car market booming?

Registrations in the UK new car market rose 10.8% to 2.26 million units in 2013, the highest point for six years. But let’s not get too carried away: while last year’s figures may be exceptional, they…
Now you see it … now you don’t. Now you see it … now you don’t. Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Hard Evidence: is Osborne ‘hacking away at the same people’?

George Osborne has warned that a further £25bn of spending cuts will be needed after the next election – with about half of those cuts to be made from the social security budget, largely from cuts in benefits…
Old people aren’t museum relics. Old people aren’t museum relics. Mr Push

Hard Evidence: can we afford an ageing population?

Stories about “population ageing” often have a number of things in common – it is bad, it is new, and it will overwhelm us all. The major fear is a burden of cost and caring that more older people will…
We think checkouts influence obesity but does it? We think checkouts influence obesity but does it? Jurijus Azanovas

Hard Evidence: do supermarket checkouts make kids obese?

Your eye gets caught by the dried apples slices and pistachios but your child, sitting in the trolley, sees the Percy pig sweets. The queue is moving slowly, how well do you resist? A commentary by Deborah…
Data protection may soon come at a price. Data protection may soon come at a price. Randomskk

Hard evidence: how much is your data worth to you?

Data privacy is on our minds like never before. In a relatively small amount of time many of us have gone from carrying out our daily transactions in person to conducting them digitally. We pay energy…
Fathers stick around if they can afford to. Fathers stick around if they can afford to. Orlando Rob

Hard evidence: what sort of people are absent fathers?

Since the 1970s, family life in the UK has changed dramatically. Increases in relationship breakdown, remarriage and repartnering have seen us move away from the traditional, two-parent nuclear family…
It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? It’ll be quick, but will it be worth it? Gareth Fuller/PA

Hard evidence: is it possible to forecast HS2’s benefits?

The recent publication of the government’s strategic case for HS2 has added to mounting concerns about the strength and validity of evidence put forward to support the project. Previously, the business…
Isolated, pigeonholed, marginalised: women in the UK press. Isolated, pigeonholed, marginalised: women in the UK press. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Hard evidence: is there still a gender bias in journalism?

EDITOR’S NOTE: A correction was made to this article after publication. It was claimed that there were no female political correspondents at the Daily Mail. There were, in fact, three political correspondents…
Give me a hand, the key’s stuck. Give me a hand, the key’s stuck. PA

Hard evidence: does prison really work?

In front of British courts last year were 148,000 people who had 15 or more previous convictions, according to government figures. These reports deserve closer scrutiny. The justice minister, Chris Grayling…
Journal publishing is changing at a breakneck pace. Journal publishing is changing at a breakneck pace. Loughborough University Library

Hard Evidence: is open access working?

According to Peter Suber open access is academic literature which is “digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions". Open access delivered by journals is called…
Border control: the biggest group of migrants to Britain is students. Border control: the biggest group of migrants to Britain is students. Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Hard Evidence: how does the public feel about immigration?

It is “immigration week” on Sky News – but, to be fair, most weeks are immigration week across large parts of the media. In many ways, this is only right – immigration is an issue of huge national importance…
Read with caution. Read with caution. David Jones/PA

Hard evidence: how dangerous is mental illness?

Once again, the issue of mental illness and public danger has hit the headlines, following the murder of Christina Edkins by Phillip Simelane. It was reported Simelane was released from prison with no…
Beautiful, but is it biased? Beautiful, but is it biased? Kamyar Adl

Hard Evidence: is Oxford biased against state students?

It’s autumn, and a new batch of students are starting university. Some are walking through the ancient gates of an Oxbridge college. Others are joining a redbrick university like Manchester or Bristol…
A risk too far? A risk too far? bigaila

Hard Evidence: is the teenage brain wired for addiction?

As a nation, we are drinking much more than we used to, which is partly attributable to alcohol being cheaper and more available than ever. Many British teenagers get into the habit early, although recent…
‘Hug a hoodie’ as David Cameron would say. ‘Hug a hoodie’ as David Cameron would say. ssoosay

Hard Evidence: has life got worse for young people?

Smoking, drinking and hanging around street corners is a common characterisation of a bored, unhealthy, unemployed youth. Life is getting worse for young people, we’re often led to believe, but what do…
Another day, another massacre in the US. Another day, another massacre in the US. EPA/Shawn Thew

Hard evidence: does gun control work?

This week brought news of yet another gun massacre in the United States at Washington Navy Yard. It is the latest in a string of 146 mass shootings, with more than 900 victims since 2006. The tragedy gives…
Protest: Indian women demonstrate against sexual violence. Protest: Indian women demonstrate against sexual violence. Rawesh Lalwani

Hard evidence: how prevalent is rape in Asia?

Hard Evidence is a series of articles that looks at some of the trickiest public policy questions we face. Academic experts delve into available research evidence to provide informed analysis you won’t…
He’s in crisis, but we don’t know why. He’s in crisis, but we don’t know why. Ubi Desperare Nescio

Hard evidence: is the midlife crisis real?

Hard Evidence is a series of articles that looks at some of the trickiest public policy questions we face. Academic experts delve into available research evidence to provide informed analysis you won’t…
EU migrants have highest rates of employment in UK. EU migrants have highest rates of employment in UK. Stephen Kelly

Hard evidence: are migrants draining the welfare system?

Hard Evidence is a series of articles that looks at some of the trickiest public policy questions we face. Academic experts delve into available research evidence to provide informed analysis you won’t…
The BBC skews, but not the way you think … The BBC skews, but not the way you think … Jonathan Brady/PA

Hard Evidence: how biased is the BBC?

Welcome to Hard Evidence, a series of articles that looks at what the data say about some of the trickiest public policy questions we face. Academic experts will delve into the available research evidence…