February 2014

Professor John Van Reenen shortlisted for Chartered Management Institute Articles of the Year award

photograph of John Van ReenenAn article co-written by Professor John Van Reenen|, Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, has been shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute’s (CMI) Management Articles of the Year awards.

Professor Van Reenen’s article ‘Does Management Really Work? How Three Essential Practices Can Address Even the Most Complex Global Problems’, co-written with Professor Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University, and Professor Raffaella Sadun, Harvard Business School, was one of five articles shortlisted for the award.

In the article, the professors report that standards of management are actually so low in many organisations that even basic monitoring and performance management can bring about dramatic improvements, often leading to higher margins and better wages, simultaneously. Aggregated across an economy, the returns from improved management can be huge.

The CMI aims to encourage and recognised accessible academic writing and bring it to the attention of practising managers. The Articles of the Year Award challenges academics to submit research for professional managers to review. Articles are selected through a two-stage process, being, firstly, reviewed by CMI membership for their usefulness to practising manager with those that top the ratings being then scrutinised by the CMI’s Academic Advisory Council, a committee made up of leading academics from across the UK.  

‘The Fatal Bias: the prevailing managerial bias towards cost efficiency is seriously harmful to corporate performance by Dr Jules Goddard, London Business School, was announced as the winner of the award this week.

‘Does Management Really Work? How Three Essential Practices Can Address Even the Most Complex Global Problems’ can be found alongside all five shortlisted articles online here|.

For further information please visit the LSE News and Media| pages.

January 2014

New Year Honours 2014 for LSE and Department of Economics

photograph of John KayProfessor John Kay is a Visiting Professor of Economics| at LSE and has been awarded a CBE for services to economics. Professor Kay is a prolific author, writing particularly for the Financial Times and has published numerous books including Foundations of Corporate Success (1993), The Truth About Markets (2003) and The Long and the Short of It: Finance and investment for normally intelligent people who are not in the industry (2009) and Obliquity: Why our goals are best achieved indirectly (2010).

Further information about the New Year Honours 2014 for LSE are found in the LSE News and Media| pages.

December 2013

Department of Economics Christmas Closure Dates

The Economics Department will be closed from the end of the working day on Friday 20 December 2013, reopening for business on Thursday 2 January 2014.  During this time, the building will be accessible via swipe card to staff and postgraduate students, except on 25 and 26 December, and 1 January, when the building will be closed to everyone. 

We would like to wish our colleagues, friends and students a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

         Snow scene in Lincoln's Inn Fields
         Snow Scene, Lincoln's Inn Fields (2012) by Donald McDonnell| 
         (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial license)

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern receives award for outstanding climate science communication

photograph of Nicholas SternProfessor Lord Nicholas Stern|, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, IG Patel Professor of Economics and Government at LSE and President of the British Academy, has won the 2013 Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication.

He was presented with the $10,000 prize at a special event in San Francisco on Wednesday 11 December. The money associated with the award will go to a fund for students at LSE working on climate change and the environment.

The annual prize is awarded by Climate One, a non-profit and nonpartisan sustainability initiative, to a natural or social scientist who has made extraordinary scientific contributions and has an outstanding record of communicating the findings effectively to a broad public. It was established to honour the late Stanford scientist Stephen H. Schneider, who died suddenly in 2010.

Dr Stephen Schneider was a founding father of modern climate science, a fearless communicator, and the first member of the Climate One Advisory Council. Lord Stern is the third recipient of the award, following Richard Alley of Penn State University and former NASA scientist James Hansen.

Professor Lord Stern said: "Steve Schneider provided inspiration to us all in the research community about how to communicate effectively with public audiences about climate change. In particular he showed how to tackle difficult aspects, such as uncertainty, in a clear and open way, whilst recognising the importance of framing climate change in terms of risk. I am very honoured to receive this award in Steve's memory, whose dedication and commitment to the communication of climate science has provided such a marvellous example to current and future generations of researchers."

On announcing the prize, the Climate One panel said: “Few people have impacted the discussion of economics of carbon pollution more than English economist Nicholas Stern. Lord Stern authored the highly influential 2006 “Stern Review,” which concluded that the costs of inaction were far greater than the costs of action and has more recently emphasized the great opportunities in the transition to the low-carbon economy. Nick Stern stands out in his ability to assemble crucial information from earth scientists, biologists, technologists, and social scientists, to combine this information in a way that yields important climate-policy conclusions, and to communicate these  findings widely and effectively to the public."

Further information from the LSE News and Media| pages.

November 2013

Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides awarded named professorship at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study

photograph of Christopher Pissarides 2013On 27 November, Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides| was named IAS Helmut and Anna Sohmen Professor-at-Large| at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study|.  The Jockey Club IAS champions collaborative projects across disciplines and institutions, forging relationships between academic, business, community, and government leaders. Its inaugural lecture was given by Professor Stephen Hawking in June 2006.  Professor Pissarides will conduct advanced seminars, and carry out collaborative research at HKUST aimed at fostering academic exchange.

For further information, please see the Press Release| of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 

Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides named Regius Professor of Economics

photograph of the Royal Warrant @Magnus RewThe Department of Economics is delighted to announce that the title of Regius Professor of Economics has been conferred upon Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides|.  It is the first Regius Professorship to have been awarded in the field of economics. 

The creation of Regius Professorships falls under the Royal Prerogative. In the past, they were created when a university chair was founded or endowed by a Royal patron, and were limited to a handful of the ancient universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland. However, on 29 January 2013, the government announced that HM The Queen was to create 12 new Regius Professorships to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, one of which - the Regius Professorship in Economics - was to be awarded to the LSE, in recognition of the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research within the Department of Economics (pictured left is the Royal Warrant bestowing the Regius Professorship in Economics on the LSE)

The Head of the Economics Department, Professor Michele Piccione, said the award was “a great honour that both recognises the outstanding contribution that the Economics Department has made to the development of the discipline, and will also help to guarantee that it will continue to provide the kind of economic analysis that will secure our prosperity in the future.” 

photograph of Chris PissaridesProfessor Pissarides was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2010 (together with Peter Diamond of MIT and Dale Mortensen of Northwestern), for “the analysis of markets with search frictions", a way of thinking about markets that recognizes that they often do not work as smoothly as economists' model of perfect competition would suggest. This approach has been most commonly applied to the labour market, where it has improved the understanding of unemployment of both academics and policy-makers. Unemployment is always an important topic but, with many countries now in the deepest recession for a generation, it is particularly relevant now.

Professor Pissarides’ inaugural lecture, entitled “Is Europe Working?” will be given at the LSE on 12 December 2013. For further information please visit the Department of Economics Lectures and Events| page.  

September 2013

IGC Growth Week 2013

Growth Week is the annual conference of the International Growth Centre (IGC), which brings together a wide range of policymakers and researchers to discuss the latest issues in development. Growth Week 2013 was held in London on 23-25 September. Top policymakers and researchers from Africa and South Asia joined leading Western experts in London to debate the latest ideas for stimulating economic growth in developing countries.

Professor Robin Burgess| (Department of Economics and Director of the IGC) led a discussion with Professor Abhijit Banerjee of MIT on Transforming the Economic Lives of the Ultrapoor. The podcast is available through the LSE News and Media| pages.

Professor Francesco Caselli| (Department of Economics and Centre for Macroeconomics) acted as discussant in the public lecture given by Trevor Manuel, Minister in the Presidency and Head of the South African National Planning Commission, on Sustaining Inclusive Growth in Africa, chaired by Dr Jonathan Leape| (Department of Economics, and Executive Director, IGC). The podcast is available through the LSE News and Media| pages.

Other Department of Economics faculty who presented their research at Growth Week included:   

Professor John Sutton|, Sir John Hicks Professor of Economics, who contended that several leading economies in sub-Saharan Africa will become middle income countries| if they sustain their rapid growth rates of the past decade. Professor Sutton has spent the past few years mapping a detailed economic profile of industries in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.

Professor Oriana Bandiera|, Director of STICERD, delivered a paper on the selection and performance of health workers in Zambia|, using Zambia as a model for civil service recruitment strategies in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. She argued that Zambia showed that while community spirit can make people work harder, it can also worsen the selection of applicants to public sector jobs.  

Dr Johannes Spinnewijn| outlined several suggested policy changes to Pakistan's taxation system| designed to cut down on tax evasion.  The IGC’s close collaboration with Pakistan’s Federal Bureau of Revenue has resulted in a unique partnership between a research institute and a government tax department, generating a number of IGC projects to tackle the inefficiencies in Pakistan’s tax system. Amongst these are Professor Henrik Kleven| and Economics PhD student Mazhar Waseem’s| work on ways of closing the loopholes which are being used by tax payers to manipulate the system, and research by Economics PhD student Michael Best|, whose paper “Overcoming Frictions in the Labour Market: Responses by Firms and Workers to Taxes in Pakistan” was also presented at Growth Week 2013.

For more information about the IGC and Growth Week 2013, please visit the IGC pages|, which also include daily summaries of the conference sessions:

Monday 23 September 2013|
Tuesday 24 September 2013|
Wednesday 25 September 2013|

Ravindra Ramrattan, MSc EME alumnus

photograph of Ravindra RamrattanIt is with great sadness that we report the death of one of our former students in the terrorist attack on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi.  Ravindra Ramrattan, aged 30, of Cunupia, Trinidad and Tobago, graduated from the MSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics in 2009, and had been working as a research economist at Financial Sector Deepening, Kenya, heading the Centre for Branchless Banking in Nairobi.

Ravi was a popular student.  Many faculty, staff and students here in the Economics Department remember him, and are deeply saddened by the news.  The loss of such a talented and compassionate young scholar affects us all. 

Ravi is survived by his parents Bisnath and Parbatie Ramrattan, his brother Rajiv and his sister Reshma. Our thoughts at this very difficult time are with them, and with all who loved him.

Professor Janet Yellen to receive Honorary Doctorate

We are delighted that Professor Janet Yellen has accepted our invitation to become an Honorary Doctorate of the School and look forward to welcoming her to the LSE in July 2014 for the conferment of this prestigious award.  Janet Yellen was a lecturer in the economics department.  We are extremely proud of her achievements, particularly her distinguished record of public service.

Further information from the LSE News and Media| pages.

New Arrival in the Department of Economics

The Department welcomes the following new faculty member:

Dr Jeremiah Dittmar (Lecturer)|

photograph of Jeremiah DittmarJeremiah Dittmar received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2009 before spending a year as Deutsche Bank Member at the Institute of Advanced Study, followed by two years at the American University. He will join the Economics Department in September 2013.  He will be teaching quantitative economics and the quantitative evaluation of public policy in the forthcoming session.

Jeremiah’s research work is concentrated at the intersection of applied microeconomics, growth, and economic history. Currently he is has two principal research programmes: the first documents the impact of the information technology revolution of the European Renaissance (including the invention of the printing press) on media markets, the diffusion of ideas, and economic development; the second uses new evidence on firms, plantations and runaway slaves in pre-Civil War USA to examine how the property rights of slavery were contested, and how this shaped North American economic development.

LSE Economics Students Awarded EEA Best Young Economist Awards – Again!

We are absolutely delighted to announce that two of this year’s three FEEM Awards| have been awarded to LSE Economics research students: Jonathan Colmer and Michele Piffer. 

photograph of column in Clement HouseEvery year since 2009, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei has conferred three FEEM Awards, jointly with the European Economic Association (EEA), on the authors of the three best papers presented by young economists at the annual congress of the EEA.  The award aims to reward new ideas addressing key economic issues, and both theoretical and empirical papers are considered without any restriction of topics.  Eligible candidates should be less than thirty years of age and no more than three years past a PhD defence.

This year’s winners were Jonathan Colmer and Michele Piffer of the LSE and Rosen Valchev of Duke University.

Jonathan|, whose primary research interests are environmental and development economics, also works in labour economics, international trade and industrial organisation.  His paper examines the impact of climate change on child activities in developing countries; it was felt to be both “original in the literature and particularly interesting for policy makers”, and the judges were impressed by Jonathan’s “novel insights on an important topic”.

Michele|’s research interests include monetary policy, risk taking and banking; he submitted a paper called “Monetary Policy, Leverage Premium, and Loan Default Probability”, which analyses a micro mechanism for the variation of risk taking over the business cycle (the "risk taking channel of monetary policy").  Described by the judges as “an excellent theoretical work” obtaining results which “represent a significant addition to the literature”, the paper was praised for its insight and originality.

Last year, one of the three awards was made to another LSE Economics student, Fadi Hassan|, for his paper “The Price of Development”.

News Archive

Click on the News Archive| to read the news of previous years.