Not had enough of experts? #GE2017Economists brings together analysis and evidence from leading economists on election policy debates.



Soon after the UK prime minister Theresa May announced that there would be a snap general election, I talked to Diane Coyle (Enlightenment Economics and the University of Manchester) about how the insights and evidence of economic researchers on key policy issues could be made more prominent during the campaign.


For a start, we have pulled together a directory of experts that now numbers more than 65 economists who are available to speak to the media and make a contribution to informed public debate. Economists who haven’t yet signed up are welcome to join us.


For journalists, broadcasters and bloggers who would like to have the list of researchers and their areas of expertise and contact details, please do get in touch with Diane or me via email or Twitter. Diane has also set up a public list of our election economists who are on Twitter.


We’re also tweeting links to a variety of existing policy commentaries and election-related reports using the hashtag #GE2017Economists. And we’re exploring opportunities for economists to contribute new commentaries to prominent websites like the LSE blogs, Policy@Manchester and The Conversation, particularly once the party manifestos are published.


I’m thinking of pieces in response to proposals and pronouncements by all sides in the political debate along the lines that, for example, Jonathan Portes has done on immigration, Alan Winters on Economists for Brexit promises about trade, Angus Armstrong on post-Brexit arrangements with Europe, Simon Wren-Lewis on the strength of the economy and Simon Burgess, Claire Crawford and Lindsey Macmillan on grammar schools.


In the meantime, some of the policy-oriented economic research groups have been launching programmes of election analysis. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), which has a fantastic track record of influential evidence-based commentary on UK election debates, has already established a special election website. IFS director Paul Johnson, who writes regularly for the Times had an excellent column on trust, trade-offs and manifesto promises last week.


The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has also established a special election website. That launched today with an overview of the economic landscape of the UK by NIESR director Jagjit Chadha; and their quarterly forecasts for the UK and global economy will be published on Wednesday.


The Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) at the London School of Economics is planning election briefs on Brexit options; real wages and living standards; education (schools, universities and vocational courses); industrial strategy and growth; immigration; health; and infrastructure and regional policy. CEP’s series of policy analyses from the 2015 election remains highly relevant on other issues, including crime, housing, inequality, top taxes and the environment.


Brexit is, of course, at the heart of the election debate – since how the UK’s departure from the European Union plays out will have big effects on the whole economy. This makes the Oxford Review of Economic Policy another useful resource: the latest issue of Oxrep, which is ungated at least for duration of the election campaign, contains articles about the likely impact of Brexit on higher education; agriculture; energy and climate change policies; infrastructure and regional policy; state aid and competition policy; taxes; immigration; trade; law; and financial services.


Finally, for perspectives on Brexit from outside the UK as well as commentaries on a wide range of other European and global policy issues, the Vox website of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) has a great deal of accessibly written content by leading economists.