Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

I had a vasectomy today

Today I had a vasectomy. I realise that this is relatively unusual for a man of only 36 with no children. But I have absolutely no doubt, and nor does my partner, that we do not want to have children, so I regard the risk of wanting to reverse it as, effectively, zero. Why? My partner is taking the contraceptive pill. Long term use of the pill increases the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer by around 50%, which is a significantly increased risk. Taking large doses of hormone every day simply cannot be good for you. Vasectomy, by… Read More »I had a vasectomy today

Abortion: why the 24 week rule is absurd

The Reverend Joanne Jepson has been given permission to seek a judicial review of the decision by West Mercia Police not to prosecute a woman who had an abortion of a foetus that would have been born with a cleft palate. The current abortion law in England is the 1967 Abortion Act, as amended in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. A woman can have an abortion up to 24 weeks in pregnancy provided two doctors agree to her decision. In the period from 24 weeks until birth, a woman can have an abortion only if two doctors… Read More »Abortion: why the 24 week rule is absurd

The myth of intellectual property rights

Thirteen million people died last year of curable diseases. Of these, three million children died from diseases that are preventable with currently available vaccines (see GAVI). This is 35,000 people every day – seven times as many deaths each day as died in the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001. The term “intellectual property rights” is (deliberately) misleading. As I explain in a longer article about intellectual property, intellectual property rights are not a natural property right like other property rights (eg for land) which improve the functioning of the market by moving it towards a… Read More »The myth of intellectual property rights

Why this blog?

I guess my first blog should explain why I’m doing this. That way I (and you) can look back to see whether my expectations have been met. Is this just an electronic form of vanity publishing? I was impressed by a piece in the Observer by John Naughton which explained by blogging has been so successful and popular. The main reasons he gives are first, that blogs tend to be written by people who know what they are talking about, without being intermediated by journalists who, inevitably, do not know the subject so well. The second is that the media,… Read More »Why this blog?