The LSE Department of Economics is one of the biggest and best in the world, with expertise across the full spectrum of mainstream economics. A long-standing commitment to remaining at the cutting edge of developments in the field has ensured the lasting impact of its work on the discipline as a whole. Almost every major intellectual development within Economics over the past fifty years has had input from members of the department, which counts ten Nobel Prize winners among its current and former staff and students.

This outstanding contribution to the field is reflected in the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the latest national assessment of the quality of research undertaken in the UK’s Higher Education Institutions.  56 per cent of the Department’s research output was graded 4 star (the highest category), indicating that it is 'world-leading'. A further 33 per cent was designated 'internationally excellent' (3 star). This result saw the Department ranked second in the UK for Economics and Econometrics.  

The Department’s research centres include the interdisciplinary Centre for Economic Performance (CEP), a European leader in research exploring the links between globalisation, technology and institutions and productivity, inequality, employment, stability and wellbeing.

It also houses the International Growth Centre (IGC), run in partnership with Oxford University, which provides demand-led, policy-based advice supporting sustainable growth in 13 developing countries. In 2013 the UK government announced a £51 million investment to enable the expansion of the IGC work to 15 countries.

This commitment to developing and maintaining practical engagement alongside academic excellence is a hallmark of the Department, whose past and present members have played significant roles in shaping UK and international economic policy. Both the former Bank of England Governor, Sir Mervyn King, and its current Deputy Governor, Charlie Bean, have held positions within the Department.  Professor Tim Besley has served on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee and Professor Lord Nicholas Stern was second permanent secretary to HM Treasury and Chief Economist of the World Bank. Faculty advise governments and central banks, multilateral and aid agencies, and private sector organisations in the UK, Europe and around the world.

Through these and other channels, the Department’s research has been utilised in efforts to tackle major global challenges such as climate change; economic instability; economic development and growth; and national and global productivity and inequality, often catalysing profound shifts in policy debate and formulation. Professor Stern’s work, for example, has transformed worldwide debate on the economics of climate change, and CEP research on ‘happiness’, led by Professor Lord Richard Layard, has had similarly far-reaching effects on debate about human wellbeing.

The Department’s ground-breaking work also generates high levels of public interest, a fact reflected in its frequent coverage by national and international media. It responds to that interest through an extensive programme of public lectures, attracting high-profile speakers such as Ben S Bernanke, outgoing chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and Olivier Blanchard, chief economist at the IMF.

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Impact Case Study Summaries