Prof Nicholas Barr
Professor of Public Economics
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7482
Room: KSW 4.09
Nicholas Barr has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He is Professor of Public Economics at the London School of Economics, the author of numerous books and articles on the economics of the welfare state and the finance of higher education, including The Welfare State as Piggy Bank (Oxford University Press, 2001), The Economics of the Welfare State (Oxford University Press and Stanford University Press, 4th edition, 2004), and Financing Higher Education: Answers from the UK (with Iain Crawford), (London and New York: Routledge, 2005), and is currently engaged in writing Reforming Pensions (with Peter Diamond) (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Social Security Review and an Associate Editor of CESifo Economic Studies and the Australian Economic Review. His teaching includes economic theory, public economics, the economics of the welfare state, the political economy of post-communist transition and topics in public policy.
Alongside his academic career is wide-ranging involvement in policy. He had two spells at the World Bank – from 1990-92 working on the design of income transfers and health finance in Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, and in 1995-96 as a principal author of the World Bank's World Development Report 1996: From Plan to Market. More recently, he edited Labor Markets and Social Policy in Central and Eastern Europe: The accession and beyond, World Bank, 2005, which draws together the World Bank's experience from the beginning of post-communist transition to the time that eight former-Communist countries joined the EU. In 2000 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Fiscal Affairs Department at the International Monetary Fund.
Since the mid 1980s he has been active in the international debate about financing higher education, about which he has written extensively, advocating a system of income-contingent student loans administered alongside income tax or social security contributions. In the UK, he argued for many years for tuition fees fully covered by income-contingent loans – arguments that culminated in the 2006 reforms in England. He was an adviser to the Australian West Committee, has contributed to policy in New Zealand, and advised the Hungarian government on the design of their student loan system.
He is also involved in pensions policy, with continuing activity in Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America. He has advised governments in the UK, and in Chile, China and South Africa (where he also contributed to the Lund Committee on Child and Family Support), and is a Trustee of HelpAge International.
A range of academic and policy writing can be found on http://econ.lse.ac.uk/staff/nb
EU453 The Political Economy of European Welfare States