This post is the latest in a Communicating Economics series outlining what I’ve been reading, writing, attending or thinking about recently.


We launched the Communicating Economics website early in May 2017, shortly after the surprise announcement of a UK general election. Several economists and economic research organisations quickly responded to the challenge of providing evidence and expert insights on key election issues – and they have continued to do so following the shock result on 8 June. Standout campaign and post-election contributions include:

Here on Communicating Economics, Bob interviewed Soumaya Keynes, formerly a researcher at the IFS and now at The Economist, about her advice for economists looking to reach out to journalists. The interview took place at the Royal Economic Society (RES) annual conference in Bristol, for which I’d invited Soumaya to act as ‘rapporteur’. Her report will appear in the next issue of the RES newsletter; past conference reports by journalists are here.


We’ve also run three guest columns on Communicating Economics:

Ideas for India was inspired by other ‘group blogs’ or ‘policy portals’ bringing together contributions by multiple researchers, notably VoxEU, which in June celebrated its tenth anniversary – and which in turn was modelled on Tito Boeri’s La Voce in Italy. Other good examples of multi-authored blogs communicating economic research in a way that is accessible and relevant to audiences beyond academia include:

  • VoxDev, a spinoff from VoxEU launched in June, which provides ‘a platform for economists, policy-makers, practitioners, donors, the private sector and others interested in development to discuss key policy issues’.
  • Microeconomics Insights, managed by IFS and which ‘aims to disseminate the results of published microeconomic research that either improves the foundations for economic policy-making or furthers our understanding of how economics interacts with the environment we live in’.
  • The Economic History Society (EHS) blog, The Long Run, which includes a range of research presented at the EHS annual conference in the spring.
  • The suite of LSE blogs, including British Politics and Policy, LSE Business Review and the Impact of Social Sciences blog.
  • The Forum, a new policy portal focused on the Middle East and North Africa region, managed by the Economic Research Forum in Cairo.

Notable posts on some of these blogs over the past month include Neil Monnery discussing his new book – Architect of Prosperity: Sir John Cowperthwaite and the Making of Hong Kong – nicely timed for the twentieth anniversary of the handover of the territory to China. One post speculates whether, based on Hong Kong’s experience, poor countries could improve growth by abolishing their offices of national statistics; another focuses on Cowperthwaite’s laissez-faire approach of ‘positive non-interventionism’, much admired by Milton Friedman, which underpinned the colony’s economic success.


Also particularly worth reading are Economics and policy in the age of Trump – a new VoxEU ebook edited by Chad Bown of the Peterson Institute for International Economics – and a manifesto for economic research in Europe by Marc Ivaldi and COEURE colleagues, which aims to ensure that European economics continues to thrive in testing times.


The June 2017 issue of the Economic Journal, flagship publication of the RES, was published last week and includes research reports on regulation of US mortgage lenders before the financial crisis; low-achieving teenagers in France; the ‘cleansing effect’ of recessions; friendship groups among homeless people; economic roots of Jewish persecutions in medieval Europe; and a lot more.


A new series of RES short films made by Bob and his Econ Films colleagues at the 2017 annual conference has also been released, including Andrew Scott on 321 years of data on UK government bonds; Nobel laureate Oliver Hart on incomplete contracts; Dan Anderberg on domestic violence; Emilia Del Bono on maternal mental health and early years development; Sergey Nigai on the globalisation backlash; Hilary Hpynes on early years nutrition and long-run health and economic wellbeing; and Gita Gopinath on trade and the dominance of the dollar.


The just published summer issue of CentrePiece from CEP, includes articles on home ownership and social mobility; tuition fees in England; US management practices; UK industrial strategy; transport infrastructure; careers advice for students; Italian trash TV and the rise of Silvio Berlusconi; and the economics of a good night’s sleep.


Looking forward, the sixth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences takes place in August (#LiNoEcon), with 19 Nobel laureates and 350 young economists from around the world due to attend. Bob Denham and I will be there and we’ve already written a piece for the Lindau blog, encouraging the young researchers to aim for audiences for their research findings beyond the ivory tower. The programme is available here, and some early video advice from the laureates here.


Finally, Martin Wolf at the Financial Times has recommended some beach reading about economics; his colleague Tim Harford has provided advice on the best books about the history of economics and technology; and for economic history enthusiasts, there’s an amazing collection of recommended reading here.