This post is the third of a Communicating Economics series outlining what I’ve been reading, attending or thinking about over the past week or so.
There’s a lot of expectation for researchers to show ‘impact’ these days – except it seems when impact matters most: to help voters make informed choices during election campaigns. That at least is the view of the ’ that applies to public bodies.and other public funding agencies, which issue edicts to the researchers and institutions they support to observe the ‘
Fortunately, independent-minded economic research organisations ignore this ‘ and produce thoughtful evidence-based commentaries to help journalists and voters make sense of key issues in the public debate. They have been particularly busy during a week in which the manifestos of the three main national parties have been published – the ’, and the . For example:
- General election analysis from the on the Conservative and Labour manifestos. (IFS) has covered tax plans, education, public sector pay, pensions and social care. On Tuesday, the IFS is hosting a
- Former IFS director and current warden of Nuffield College, Oxford, Sir the funding system for social care for the coalition government in 2011, has on the Conservatives’ proposals. , who
- The National Institute of Economic and Social Research ( ) has published an overview of by their director Jagjit Chadha, as well as a series of on productivity, meritocracy and investing in children.
- The (CEP) at the London School of Economics has published the first of a of election analyses – on . More will follow this coming week on education, health, immigration, industrial strategy, regional policy and Brexit.
- The UK Trade Policy Observatory at the University of Sussex has published commentaries on what the manifestos say about a key issue ahead of Brexit negotiations.
Away from the election, the past couple of weeks have seen several posts on the earlier in the spring. These are good examples of how economists can make their work accessible and relevant to audiences beyond academia:and drawing on research presented at the Royal Economic Society (RES)
- : STEM knowledge is needed to apply for 1 in 6 non-tech UK jobs – by Inna Grinis.
- The hidden sides of ‘ for airline tickets – by Claudio Piga and colleagues. ’
- shun time-limited offers – by Mengjie Wang and colleagues.
- boosts corporate profits but centralises high-skill jobs in big cities – by Claire Lelarge and colleagues.
- – by Joan Costa-i-Font and Sarah Fleche.
- The and growth on the skill premium in Western Europe from 1300 to 1914 – by Rui Luo.
Also coming out of the RES conference are a series of short films relevant to the UK’s election debates, made by Bob Denham’s Econ Films:
- The economics of Brexit – , , and
- The – Anna Vignoles.
- Bob also worked with Bristol economics student Joel Becker on a short film on ‘’.
Still on the issue of, Bristol education economist Simon Burgess and colleagues have published a new paper on their role or otherwise in promoting social mobility.
One big issue for the UK economy that has been neglected in the election debate is productivity, a topic covered in a new OECD research report on ‘ as differences in wages and productivity between firms become ever wider, even for firms operating in the same sector. ’