Published on Mar 23, 2017

Productivity growth has weakened across a number of economies over recent years, particularly in the UK. Does this reflect a slowing of innovation? What role can public policy play in supporting productivity growth?

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Andrew G Haldane is the Chief Economist at the Bank of England. He is also Executive Director for Monetary Analysis, Research and Statistics, and a member of the MPC. Andrew has responsibility for research and statistics across the Bank.

Andrew has an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University, is Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham, a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford, a member of the Economic Council of the Royal Economic Society, a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Member of the Research and Policy Committee at Nesta. Andrew is Chairman and co-founder of Pro Bono Economics, a charity that matches volunteer economists with charitable projects.

Andrew has written extensively on domestic and international monetary and financial policy issues and has published over 150 articles and four books. In 2014, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Wouter den Haan is Co-director for the Centre for Macroeconomics and Professor of Economics at LSE.

Fixing Financial Crises in the 21st Century

Financial crises have dogged the international monetary system over recent years. They have impoverished millions of people around the world, especially within developing countries. And they have called into question the very process of globalization. Yet there remains no intellectual consensus on how best to avert such crises, much less resolve them. Policymakers stand at a cross-roads.
This volume summarises and evaluates these issues, drawing on contributions by prominent international experts in the field.

Also see What’s the Use of Economics? Teaching the Dismal Science after the Crisis

On the fourth anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, how could economics possibly have emerged from the financial crisis unreformed?

With the crisis still continuing, many economists, as well as people outside the profession, are questioning why economics failed to either send an early warning signal or resolve the situation quickly. The gap between important real-word problems and the mathematical model-based economics being taught to students has become a chasm. Students continue to be taught as if not much has changed since the crisis, as there is no consensus about how to change the curriculum. Meanwhile, employer discontent with the knowledge and skills of their graduate economist recruits has been growing.

This book examines what economists need to bring to their jobs, and the way in which economics education in universities could be improved. It is based on an international conference in February 2012, sponsored by the UK Government Economic Service and the Bank of England, which brought employers and academics together. Three themes emerged: the narrow range of skills and knowledge demonstrated by graduates; the need for reform of the content of the courses they are taught; and the barriers to curriculum reform. While some issues remain open, particularly with regard to the teaching of macroeconomics, there was strong agreement on such key issues as the strengthening of economic history, the teaching of inductive as well as deductive reasoning, critical evaluation and communication skills; and a better alignment of lecturers’ incentives with the needs of their students.

In the final chapter of the book, Alison Wride concludes the discussion with a fundamentally important point. There has been a substantial increase in the number of economics students at university, and unprecedented interest in the subject thanks to the crisis. She writes: ‘We will lose all credibility if we come out of the crisis without learning from it and changing what we do.’ Students expect to be employable but they are still being taught courses based narrowly on technical models, giving them skills that employers say are inadequate.

What’s the Use of Economics?