News

August 2014

LSE Economics PhD student receives the Price Theory Scholar Award for the 2014-2015 academic year

photograph of Miguel EspinosaMiguel Espinosa, a PhD student at the department, has received the Price Theory Scholar Award for the 2014-2015 academic year. The Price Theory Scholars programme was established in 2006 by the Becker Centre on Chicago Price Theory with the support of the Searle Freedom Trust. The Programme gives promising PhD students in the early stages of independent research at other institutions an opportunity to study Price Theory at the University of Chicago. Recently, the Becker Centre merged into the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics, which now continues this programme. The goal of the visiting programme is to expose students to price theory in the Chicago tradition, which emphasises the application of simple economic principles to important real-word problems. Previous awarded scholars include Jesse Shapiro, Heidi Williams, John Beshears, Przemyslaw Jeziorski, Glen Weyl as well as Michael Peters|, Lecturer in Economics at the Department.

Miguel is the first UK university student to win this prestigious prize. His intellectual interests include theoretical and empirical industrial organization and its intersection with political economy. He is working on different projects at this juncture, including one that relates market concentration to lobbying expenditures. Miguel plans to spend the fall 2014 quarter at the Becker Friedman Institute advancing his research and investigating the robustness of his ideas.

Further information can be found at the Becker Friedman Institute|’s website.


July 2014

New Arrivals in the Department of Economics

The Department welcomes the following new faculty members:

Dr Gabriel Zucman (Lecturer)|

photograph of Gabriel ZucmanGabriel Zucman received his PhD from the Paris School of Economics and EHESS in 2013, and has spent the last year as a postdoctoral scholar at the Department of Economics in UC Berkeley. He will be teaching economic policy analysis, microeconomics and macroeconomics for public policy and public economics in the forthcoming academic year.

Gabriel’s research work is concentrated on the accumulation and distribution of global wealth, from both a public finance and international macro perspective.  He has recently published a book on tax evasion, ‘The Missing Wealth of Nations’ in France. The English translation is forthcoming by the University of Chicago Press. 

Dr Shengxing Zhang (Assistant Professor)|

photograph of Shengxing ZhangShengxing Zhang received his PhD from New York University in 2014, after being awarded his MA in Finance from Fudan University in Shanghai. He will be teaching mathematics and statistics and macroeconomics in the forthcoming academic year.

Shengxing’s main fields are macroeconomics, financial economics, monetary economics, information economics and search and matching. His job market paper built a dynamic model of the shadow banking system that intermediates funds through the interbank repo market to understand tis efficiency and stability.


Professor John Van Reenen joint recipient of 2014 EIB Prize for Excellence in Economic and Social Research

photograph of John Van ReenenThe European Investment Bank Institute has jointly awarded Professor John Van Reenen|, professor at the department and director of CEP, and Professor Nicholas Bloom from Stanford University the 2014 EIB Prize for Excellence in Economic and Social Research. The award is in acknowledgement of the academic excellence, work published and impact on public policy of their research on this year's prize topic "Innovation, Market Structure and Competitiveness".

The jury of the 2014 EIB prize praised Professor Nicholas Bloom and Professor John Van Reenen: “for their influential research assessing the interaction between company size and market structure and the impact of investment decisions on innovation and productivity in different sectors”.

The authors have been pioneers in analysing the effects of managerial and technological innovation on economic performance and inequality, developing new tools to measure organizational innovations in over 32 countries (the World Management Survey http://worldmanagementsurvey.org/). They have also examined the determinants of innovation, with a particular concentration on what policies influence productivity, such as competition, trade and regulations.

Professor Van Reenen said, “I am very honoured to receive this prize, especially to share it with Nick.” Professor Bloom added, “Receiving the prize is both unexpected and a great pleasure”.

For further information please visit the European Investment Bank Institute|'s website.


Austin Robinson Prize awarded to Dr Johannes Spinnewijn

photograph of Johannes Spinnewijn|At this year's Royal Economic Society Annual Conference|, held in Manchester 7-9 April 2014, Dr Johannes Spinnewijn| won the 2013 prize| for his paper Insurance and Perceptions- How to Screen Optimists and Pessimists|. He describes his research here|.

The Austin Robinson Prize commemorates the contribution of made by Sir Austin Robinson (1897-1993) to both economics and The Economic Journal . Educated at Cambridge, Robinson became a fellow of Sidney Sussex College. He made a significant contribution to the field of applied economics. In 1942 he acted as Economic Adviser at the War Cabinet, and later worked as adviser to the Board of Trade under Sir Stafford Cripps before returning to his position at Cambridge. Robinson worked tirelessly for the Economic Journal, beginning as Assistant Editor under John Maynard Keynes in 1934. In 1944 he took up the role of Joint Editor alongside Roy Harrod, and a year later became secretary of the Royal Economic Society, positions he held until his retirement in 1970. During his 36 years at the Economic Journal, Robinson proof read approximately 30,000 pages, wrote about 6000 short notes on books, published around 1000 articles and 3000 reviews. Robinson received a knighthood in 1975.

The 2014 Programme Chair was Professor Oriana Bandiera| and the Deputy Programme Chair was Dr Ethan Ilzetzki|.

Previous winners from the Department of Economics include Dr Guy Michaels| for his paper The Long Term Consequences of Resource-Based Specialisation|.


Deutsche Bank runner-up Prize in Financial Risk Management and Regulation to Economics PhD student

photograph of Inna Grinis|Inna Grinis, PhD student at the Department|, is the runner-up for the Deutsche Bank Prize in Financial Risk Management and Regulation.

The prize essay competition on research papers in the field of financial risk management and regulation is organised by the Financial Markets Group with the generous support of Deutsche Bank.

The Award is given to outstanding LSE PhD students or LSE MSc students who intend to pursue a PhD at  LSE. LSE PhD or MSc students who graduated one year previously are also eligible to apply.

Inna got the prize for her paper entitled: 'Credit Risk Spillovers, Systemic Importance and Vulnerability in Financial Networks'. The first prize was awarded to John C.F. Kuong from LSE Finance for his essay: 'Self-fulfilling Fire Sales: Fragility of Collateralised Short-term Debt Markets'.

Further Information can be found at the Financial Markets Group| website.


Major Review Award, LSESU Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards and Class Teacher Awards

LSE Major Review Award

photograph of Francesco NavaWe are very pleased to report that Dr Francesco Nava|, who was offered tenure this year, has been given a Major Review Award.  These awards recognise LSE faculty who have received outstanding feedback from their students, and who have been actively engaged in developing innovative approaches to course design and delivery.

Asked to comment on his teaching ethos, Francesco said, “I try to cater to all types of students, bearing in mind differences in background and in learning pace. I encourage participation and questions during lectures, and I spend a considerable amount of time after lectures clarifying materials to the least advanced students, or providing advice and guidance to the most advanced. The best experience that I have every year is seeing some of the students, who were initially less advanced, progress and excel over their programme.”

LSESU Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards

The Student Led Teaching Excellence Awards (previously known as the LSE Teaching Awards) recognise those who “offer crucial guidance and teaching services and who play a major role in shaping the learning experiences of LSE students”. 

Over 450 members of staff were nominated this year, so competition was intense, but we are proud to say that two of our PhD students were highly commended for their work as Graduate Teaching Assistants.  Rosie Coleman, LSESU Education Officer, explained the rationale behind their selection.

Award for Innovative Teaching: Highly Commended

Nicola Limodio

photograph of Nicola LimodioThis category recognises those “going beyond the traditional role of teaching, providing exciting perspectives and cutting edge research to their students’ learning and enhancing this learning with technology”. 

Nicola was highly commended for employing “out of the box methods to make every class different”.

Rosie said of his commendation: “Nicola has a unique and well-structured approach to teaching, always bringing something new to the class in order to make it more interesting. At the start or end of each class, Nicola shows two or three videos, articles or pictures which remind students of the core principles or important context to microeconomics. Additionally, he creates PDFs on his website to clarify problems and improve understanding.”

Award for Excellent Feedback and Communication: Highly Commended

Stephan Maurer

photograph of Stephan MaurerThis category is awarded to those teachers who are “approachable, responsive, providing excellent feedback and being willing to use innovative communication to help their students develop and understand”.

Stephan was described as one of the most responsive teachers his nominator had ever met, and moreover, one who “always delivers high quality classes”.

Rosie said of Stephan: “(He) is patient, dedicated and thorough. He provides timely feedback to all students on paper and in class, often including his own ideas on many topics covered to help students gain an alternative perspective on the material. He is very flexible with his time and regularly stays back or uses email to address questions unanswered in class.”

Class Teacher Awards

Class Teacher Awards recognise the special contribution made by graduate teaching assistants, teaching fellows and guest teachers to the life of their Department.

This year, the Economics Department boasts no fewer than five winners, all MSc and PhD students: Joshua Bernstein, Yi Jie Gwee, Andrew Hodge, Luis Martinez, and Mohammad Vesal

In addition, the following class teachers were named as runners-up: Florian Blum, Albert Blue Perez, Thomas Carr, Alex Clymo, Ana McDowall, Clement Minaudier, Maria Molina Domene, Frank Pisch, and Rajneesh Verma.

Warmest congratulations to all!

Further information can be found at the LSE teaching blog|.


The Gearty Grillings: Danny Quah on Chinese democracy

photograph of Danny QuahDanny Quah|, Professor of Economics and International Development, discusses whether China should emulate the political and social order of the West to be able to compete.

Professor Quah is the latest LSE academic to take part in the new weekly series of short, to-the-point video debates from LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs| (IPA) on key issues affecting the world today. Conor Gearty|, Director of the IPA and Professor of Human Rights Law, subjects academics to a five-minute grilling to showcase the School's world class research and faculty.

Further information and the video are available from the LSE News and Media| pages.


June 2014

Professor Charlie Bean, visiting professor in the Department, in Queen's Birthday Honours List

photograph of Charles BeanProfessor Charlie Bean, deputy governor of the Bank of England and visiting professor in the Department of Economics at LSE|, has been knighted for his services to monetary policy and central banking. Before his time at the Bank of England, Charlie Bean was a longstanding member of academic staff at LSE, and was head of the Department of Economics. He recently gave a public lecture at the School which you can watch here: The Future of Monetary Policy|

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


Economics academics and alumni feature in LSE Connect

LSE Connect| is the LSE's alumni magazine and is published in June and December every year. It is mailed to over 100,000 LSE alumni worldwide and is also read by current and prospective students, current and former staff, visitors and friends of the School.

Three Department of Economics academics and one alumna feature in the Summer 2014 issue|:

Haven's Door

Knocking on haven's door|: Gabriel Zucman| calls for tougher action on tax evasion

 
Cities to States

From cities to states|: Jonathan Leape| explains how international experts and country-embedded teams channel ideas into action at the International Growth Centre

 
Makes us Tick

What makes us tick?|: An interview with Oriana Bandiera| about her work on incentives and motivation

 
Imagination Captured

LSE and me|: Jane Howard (BSc Economics, 1974) explains how the concepts she learnt at LSE have helped her communicate the vision of Fair Trails International

 

If you would like to receive LSE Connect, please find some information here|.


Professor Tim Besley elected President of the International Economic Association

photograph of Tim BesleyWe are delighted to announce that Tim Besley|, School Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Deputy Head of Department for Research, has been elected President of the International Economic Association|.The IEA, which was founded in 1950, is a federation of most of the World’s major economics associations.  It is currently holding its 17th World Congress in Jordan. 

Tim will replace Joseph Stiglitz, who is stepping down at the end of his 3-year tenure.  Past Presidents of the IEA include Robert Solow, Kenneth Arrow, Amartya Sen and Tony Atkinson.  He is the third UK-based economist to have been elected President of the IEA, and the second from the LSE Department of Economics (the first was Tony Atkinson, who was Tooke Professor of Economic Science and Statistics at the time of his presidency).


May 2014

LSE Economics PhD Student receives Highest OeNB Award for Outstanding Research on European Integration

At the 42nd Economics Conference of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB), OeNB President Claus J. Raidl announced the winners of the Klaus Liebscher Award, which was conferred for the tenth time.

This year’s two prize-winning papers, which were selected from numerous excellent submissions, address particularly topical economic policy issues and display outstanding academic quality: “Systemic Sovereign Risk: Macroeconomic Implications in the Euro Area” by Saleem Abubakr Bahaj, University of Cambridge, and “Information Frictions and the Law of One Price: 'When the States and the Kingdom became United’” by Claudia Steinwender| (pictured left), an Austrian economist currently at the Department of Economics at LSE. 

photograph of Claudia SteinwenderClaudia Steinwender re-examines an old question of international trade theory whose correct resolution has important implications for assessing the social benefits of new information technologies. Does the acceleration of information flows made possible by technological innovation improve the quality of price signals? Steinwender uses statistical data derived from a historic technological achievement: the construction of the first transatlantic telegraph line in the 19th century. The analysis of cotton prices in New York and Liverpool before and after the completion of the cable shows that the quality of price signals improved, benefiting both consumers and manufacturers. 

The Klaus Liebscher Award| was established in 2005 on the occasion of the 65th birthday of former OeNB Governor Klaus Liebscher in recognition of his commitment to Austria’s participation in Economic and Monetary Union and to the cause of European integration. Every year, one or two papers are chosen for the award, which goes to young economists from EU Member States or EU candidate countries for outstanding scientific papers on Economic and Monetary Union and European integration issues. At EUR 10,000 per paper, the Klaus Liebscher Award is the most prestigious and highest award for scientific achievement the OeNB bestows.

For further information, please visit the Oesterreichische Nationalbank| website.


The Gearty Grillings: Tim Besley on why we need economists

A weekly series of short, to-the-point video debates on key issues affecting the world today is launched this week by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Conor Gearty|, director of the IPA and professor of human rights law, will be subjecting LSE academics to a five-minute grilling on their research and ideas in the new series, called The Gearty Grillings. From the financial crisis and fracking, to housing policy and human rights, the debates will put LSE’s leading authorities on some of humankind’s most provocative issues under the spotlight.

photograph of Tim BesleyIn the latest video, Professor Tim Besley| (pictured left), School Professor of Economics and Political Science and a former member of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, defends the role of economists and discusses the economic crash, interest rates, and why China could be heading for trouble.

To listen to the interview, please visit the LSE News and Media| pages.


Professor Lord Nicholas Stern elected as Fellow of the Royal Society

photograph of Nicholas SternProfessor Lord Nicholas Stern|, I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government and chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the national academy of science in the UK.

Announcing the new Fellows, the Royal Society said Professor Stern was recognised for his path-breaking work challenging the world view on the economics of climate change, along with his distinguished career in mathematical economics and close work with industry and government.

The Royal Society Fellowship is made up of the most eminent scientists, engineers and technologists in the UK and Commonwealth. Each year up to 52 Fellows are elected through a peer review process and vote by existing Fellows. There are currently approximately 1,450 Fellows and Foreign Members in the Royal Society, including around 80 Nobel Prize winners.

Professor Stern, who is also President of the British Academy, joins an eminent list of current Fellows, including Stephen Hawking, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Harry Kroto and Tim Berners-Lee.

Commenting on his election, Professor Stern said, “I am very honoured by my election to the Royal Society, which is the world’s oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. The Royal Society was founded in the 17th century at the start of the modern scientific revolution, and its Fellows have included many of the scientists who have shaped today’s world, from Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin to Tim Berners-Lee. I am particularly honoured to have my work as an economist recognised by the Royal Society, which I think indicates that the economic and social sciences share many key principles with the natural sciences, such as a respect for evidence. I look forward to joining the other Fellows in serving the Society and to strengthening further its links with the British Academy.”

More information about this year’s new Fellows and Foreign Members can be found at the Royal Society| website.


Two Economics Professors among The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy

The Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy| was convened to produce the most thorough independent economic analysis of the current international drug control strategy ever conducted.

It aims to use this analysis to design a successor strategy to the failed global war on drugs. In so doing it will provide the academic underpinnings for a new international paradigm that promotes human security, public health and sustainable development.

photograph of Christopher Pissaridesphotograph of Danny QuahProfessor Danny Quah| (pictured right), Professor of Economics and International Development, and Kuwait Professor at LSE, is the Chair of the Group and Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides| (pictured left), School Professor of Economics and Political Science and Regius Professor of Economics, is part of the Advisory Network.

The group includes five Nobel Prize economists who call for an end to the 'war on drugs' in a new LSE IDEAS| report. 

Ending the Drug Wars ReportEnding the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy| outlines the enormous negative outcomes and collateral damage from the ‘war on drugs’ and includes a call on governments from five Nobel Prize economists[1] to redirect resources away from an enforcement-led and prohibition-focused strategy, toward effective, evidence-based policies underpinned by rigorous economic analysis. 

The report asserts a new and effective international strategy could emerge if two approaches are followed. 

First, resources should be drastically reallocated away from law enforcement and repressive policies towards proven public health policies of harm reduction and treatment, with governments ensuring that these services are fully resourced to meet requirements. 

Second, rigorously monitored policy and regulatory experimentation should be encouraged. States should be allowed to pursue new initiatives, the report argues, in order to determine which policies work and which don't. The places that legalise cannabis first will provide an external benefit to the rest of the world in the form of knowledge regardless of how the experiments turn out. As a result, pioneering jurisdictions should be accepted as long as they take adequate measures to prevent ‘exports’. 

The LSE IDEAS report, was presented to Guatemala’s Minister of Interior, Mauricio López Bonilla, on Wednesday 7 May at a public event at LSE|. Guatemala’s President, Otto Pérez Molina, will take the report to international forums such as the United Nations and Organization of American States to help drive reform of global drug policies. 

Professor Danny Quah commented: “Leaders need to recognize that toeing the line on current drug control strategies comes with extraordinary human and financial costs to their citizens and economies”.

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


April 2014

Professor Danny Quah to direct new Southeast Asia Centre at LSE

The School has received a significant donation from Professor Saw Swee Hock to establish a new academic centre focused on Southeast Asia. 

The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre will bring together researchers for interdisciplinary analysis of policy questions facing Southeast Asia, while strengthening further LSE’s research and engagement with the ASEAN region. Academics affiliated with the centre will benefit from a range of specialist resources, networks, and funding opportunities.

The new centre will be led by Professor Danny Quah as Director Designate. Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at LSE and is a leading expert on the rise of eastern economies.

The creation of the centre was announced at the LSE Asia Forum 2014| in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Danny Quah| (pictured left) said:

photograph of Danny Quah“The rise of Asia is perhaps the singular developmental and political story of our era, attracting praise and criticism, wonder and scepticism. LSE, as one of the world’s leading institutions for social science research and education, has always been fully engaged with Asian developments – whether it is in climate change governance, agrarian reform or religious conflict.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of Professor Saw, LSE can build on its already substantial engagement with Asia. Using LSE’s distinctive interdisciplinary expertise in the social sciences, The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre can bring a global perspective to the policy and research questions specific to the region.”

photograph of Saw Swee HockThe donation and establishment of the Southeast Asia Centre further cements Professor Saw’s philanthropic relationship with LSE. Earlier this year the School opened the spectacular Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, described by the Architects' Journal as “inviting, imaginative and memorable”. The iconic building was named after Professor Saw (pictured right) in appreciation of his generous donation towards its construction.

A PhD graduate and now Honorary Fellow of LSE, Professor Saw has also given towards the School’s Library, the New Academic Building, scholarships for LSE Singaporean students and previous LSE Asia Forums in Singapore and Beijing.  

LSE plans to officially launch the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre in the new academic year for 2014-15. 

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


March 2014

The Bank of England has appointed Dr Nemat Shafik, LSE Economics alumnus, as the new Deputy Governor of the Bank of England

photograph of Nemat Shafik (copyright: DFID - UK Department for International Development)Nemat Shafik (pictured, source: DFID - UK Department for International Development) who was born in Alexandria and is a national of Egypt, the UK and the US, has a degree in economics and politics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, and a DPhil in Economics from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University.  She has held academic appointments at several leading academic institutions, including the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania and the Economics Department at Georgetown University, and has written, edited, and co-authored numerous books and articles on globalisation, emerging markets, international development, the environment, and the Middle East and Africa.

Dr Shafik was just 36 when she was appointed as the youngest ever Vice President at the World Bank in 1998.  In 2004, she joined the Department for International Development (DFID), first as Director-General of the Country Programmes, and from 2008, as Permanent Secretary, responsible for Britain’s overseas development work. She moved to the International Monetary Fund in April 2011 as a Deputy Managing Director, overseeing the IMF’s training and technical assistance for policy makers around the world.

Lord Stern, president of the British Academy and a professor of Economics at LSE, taught Ms Shafik when she studied at the LSE, and later, worked with her at the World Bank.  He told the Financial Times that she would be well suited to the job. “She has a good strategic mind [and] she can be radical, but ... also – because she understands how things work and is a very good people person – she understands how rapidly you can manage change,” he said. “She really does understand bringing people with you.” (from the Financial Times)

In a statement| released by the Bank of England today, Dr Shafik said, “I am excited to be joining the Bank at such a critical time of institutional change, and I look forward to fulfilling this challenging new role on the Bank’s senior leadership team, as we re-shape the Bank’s balance sheet, review and strengthen the Bank’s operational roles, and, through continued international engagement, reform financial markets for the post-crisis world.”  She will take up her position on 1 August 2014.


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”.


Economics PhD student awarded the Economics Network Outstanding Student Support prize

photograph of Fabian WinklerFabian Winkler, PhD student at the Department has received the Economics Network Outstanding Student Support award.

The Economics Network provides training to over 200 Graduate Teaching Assistants each year, who are part of the army of Graduate Teaching Assistants who take economics seminars across the UK, providing key support to our students’ learning. This award recognises the importance and significance of this role.

Fabian is Course manager for the LSE’s second year Macroeconomics course, managing 38 seminar classes and 17 Graduate Teaching Assistants and over 500 students.

Fabian is described as a ‘committed’, ‘tireless’ and  ‘inspirational’ by students and colleagues, and being particularly worthy of an award for outstanding student support for the following reasons:

  • His inspirational leadership and support as Course Manager of 17 Graduate Teaching Assistants;
  • The value he adds to the course lectures by helping students better understand lecture material and by fostering students’ interest;
  • His personal commitment to the students
  • His humour and wit and encouragement when dealing with students

Further information can be found at the Economics Network| website.


News Archive

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

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