The average London family spends almost twice as much on housing as does a family living in Wales.
This may not seem perhaps to be the most inspiring piece of information with which to begin a book on economics. Yet it is one which is full of exciting implications for an economist.
Why, one wonders, does the Londoner spend nearly £15 a week putting a roof over his head, while the Welshman spends only a little more than half that amount?1 What reasons lie behind this rather startling difference?
The explanation is unlikely to be a simple one. High housing expenditure in London certainly has something to do with the price of houses there compared to those in Wales. But that is not, in a real sense, a basic cause, for ...