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Levelling the playing field

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 27 July 2012

Levelling the statistical playing field

If you adjust for the fact that some countries are richer than others, and some have more people in them, can we work out what the Olympic medal tally should look like, based only on those factors?

Gun control

Last week's mass-shooting at a cinema in Colorado has - not surprisingly - intensified America's bitter and long-running argument with itself about gun control. The argument is political and highly partisan. But it is also practical: would tighter gun laws actually lead to fewer gun deaths? You might think it's obvious that they would. But it seems the evidence isn't quite that clear.


The treasury minister David Gauke came in for some stick this week for arguing that people who pay plumbers and cleaners cash-in-hand, while not breaking the law, are immoral. Several commentators have argued that the problem is small beer compared to the huge amounts sheltered from the taxman by large companies and rich individuals. Are they right?

Leaders' mums

Listener Mike Shearing wrote to us after noticing that the mums of post-war US presidents seem to have died very late, while British prime ministerial mothers seem to die young. Had he - he asked - found something of significance? He certainly had.

How has Britain changed since 1908?

A new book by researchers at the House of Commons Library charts in numbers how Britain has changed since it hosted the 1908 Olympics. Their findings may surprise you.

Presenter: Tim Harford
Producer: Richard Knight.


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    Author of Adapt; Undercover Economist at the FT; presenter of More or Less, Radio 4.

    Tim Harford's Twitter feed



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