The fifth in our series of seminars with economic experts took place on 11 March with a discussion on fiscal austerity with Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). Below is a brief overview of our discussion, with short audio clips. Read more
The fourth in our series of seminars with economic experts took place on 4 March. It was a discussion on the lessons from the financial crisis with Lucrezia Reichlin (professor of economics and chair of the economics department at the London Business School). Below is a brief overview of our stimulating discussion, with short audio clips. Read more
In our discussion I took the role of a sceptic, looking at critiques of the notion of green growth from different perspectives, ie environmental: challenging the need for growth; and economic: whether greening policies will actually stymie growth. In response Dimitri took the role of a proponent, making the positive case for how we can grow our economy and be green at the same time, so that green growth need not be an oxymoron. (1.55 mins) Read more
Pretty much everyone who is in favour of a new industry or development will claim that it creates jobs. Yesterday I typed “create thousands of jobs” into Google and got over 227,000 results back for this exact phrase. Everyone from broadband suppliers to airport operators, public authorities to large internet retailers are playing the jobs card. And, if you want to prevent something happening, saying it “threatens jobs” is also a popular tactic, according to another Google search. Read more
The notion of ‘natural capital’ is gaining traction among economists and policy makers. To discuss this I was joined by Dieter Helm at the third in our series of economic seminars. Dieter is both an academic and a practitioner, with a substantial record of applied economic policy analysis in fields such as energy and the environment. He also chairs the Natural Capital Committee (although he spoke in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the committee).
This week, the New Climate Economy (NCE) project published its report spelling out the compelling economic logic behind moving to a low carbon world. In contrast to the earlier Stern Review, there has been a focus on large and fast growing developing countries, which are expected to generate the largest growth in CO2 emissions in the coming decades.
But, here at the home of Stern’s original report, is the UK – and in particular the Treasury – still heeding its advice? The latest scaling down of ambition for the deployment of renewable energy in the Treasury’s Infrastructure Pipeline will inevitably raise doubts. Read more
Many of us believe that the development of a vibrant green economy is vital to Britain’s economic as well as environmental future. But how should we best foster the green economy and is there a role for government intervention? Should the state try to actively stimulate green innovation and industrial development? Or should the ‘bumbling bureaucrats’ simply get out of the way and leave it to the dynamic venture capitalists and entrepreneurs? Read more
If you start talking about infrastructure, few will accuse you of playing to the gallery. The term conjures up images of civil engineers, hard hats and a lot of concrete. Yet the choices we make about infrastructure in the coming years will have profound consequences for the UK’s future, influencing our ability to grow the economy, improve quality of life, protect against flooding and reduce CO2 emissions.
Voices across the political spectrum have highlighted our failure to deliver on infrastructure. Whoever wins the next election, it is likely there will be steps to enhance our ability to deliver major projects. Read more
This post was first published on The Huffington Post.
Britain faces many economic challenges: the need to restore macroeconomic stability, improve competitiveness, protect living standards and address rising inequality. These challenges have spurred much creative thinking by economists in areas such as monetary policy, taxation, labour market reform and education and training. Yet far less prominence has been given to an issue that affects all of these economic challenges: the impact of rising resource prices. Read more
This post first appeared on The Staggers, the New Statesman’s politics blog.
Economics is not called the dismal science for nothing. As we watch the shocking images of filthy water pouring into homes and distressed residents leaving in rubber dinghies, economists are already debating what this means for the next GDP figures. This highlights the shortcomings of GDP as a measure of economic progress, but looking at the wider economic impacts can help us deal with the challenges posed by the floods. Read more