News Archive

News archive of the School of Public Policy.

The LSE School of Public Policy is committed to the promotion of democratic values and the use of reasoned judgement in the pursuit of public service.

Professor Andrés Velasco, Dean of LSE School of Public Policy



Past news


December 2022


Latin America’s Democracies Hold Strong

In his most recent article for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco discusses the resilience of democracy in Latin America.

He writes: "Liberal democracy lives in statutes, rulebooks, and institutions. But, more importantly, it lives in people’s hearts and habits of mind. Democracy – whatever its imperfections – is now the natural system of government for the nearly 700 million people who call Latin America home."

Read the article on the Project Syndicate website here.


Omar Hammoud Gallego 2022

Civic Data Innovation Challenge

This month, Dr. Omar Hammoud-Gallego won a grant from the Greater London Authority, the 2022 Civic Data Innovation Challenge. Congratulations!

The grant refers to a research project Dr Gallego bid for, as part of the Migrant Democracy Project, a new civil society NGO. Learn more here.



November 2022


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SPP Annual Lecture 2022

You can now catch up on the SPP Annual Lecture via our YouTube and podcast channels.

The 2022 School of Public Policy Annual Lecture featured a conversation between Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, and Andrés Velasco, Dean of the LSE School of Public Policy, who discussed the future of liberalism.

Read all about the Annual Lecture on our website here.



The Unbearable Uselessness of Crypto

Following the collapse of FTX, in his latest opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco looks at the reality of the crypto industry.

He writes: "What is truly unforgivable is that in the 14 years since Bitcoin appeared, the crypto industry has failed to produce anything of value. What factories have been built with crypto? Which new goods and services are available? What government has raised money through crypto? Certainly not El Salvador, which adopted Bitcoin as legal tender and is now on the verge of debt default."

You can read the article in full here.



Brazil’s Lula joins leftist leaders pushing for change in Latin America

Professor Andrés Velasco was a guest earlier this month on the Financial Time's podcast Rachman Review, discussing the elections in Brazil and the changing political landscape in Latin America as a whole.

He said: "So what we have here really is a menu of offers, if you want, on the part of the political system which is very mismatched to what the electorate wants. Can that last for ever? I hope not. And I’m hoping that sooner rather than later, in some countries including my native Chile, you will have a rebirth of a stronger centrist offering."

Tune in to the episode here.



'Reclaiming Populism' Book Review

Professor Vanessa Rubio-Márquez had written a book review of 'Reclaiming Populism: How Economic Fairness Can Win Back Disenchanted Voters' by Eric Protzer & Paul Summerville.

She writes: "My own experience, mainly as Deputy Minister of Social Development in my native Mexico, appears to bear out their hypothesis. On the ground in developing public policy, it becomes absolutely clear that individuals could not care less about GDP, per capita income or the GINI coefficient. What they do care a lot about is access to opportunity and social and economic goods and services. In other words, they are focused foremost not on inequality but on social mobility: they want to be better off than their parents were and give their children an opportunity for the same."

Read the full review here.



Emerging Europe's chronic distrust: Lessons from the region's COVID puzzle

A new book, co-edited by Professor Előd Takáts and Professor Piroska Nagy Mohacsi (LSE Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa) has been published recently. The book, titled Emerging Europe's chronic distrust: Lessons from the region's COVID puzzle, looks at the impact of COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Central and Eastern Europe. LSE contributors featured in the book are Professor Sir Tim Besley, Department of Economics; Professor Joan Costa-i-Font, Department of Health Policy, Professor Christopher Dann, Department of Economics.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine places Central and Eastern Europe once again at the centre of international policy attention. The region is experiencing a sharp crisis: economies are slowing dramatically as Russian gas and energy supplies are being scaled down or cut altogether, while inflation is rising. Yet, most societies in the region are standing firm to confront aggression and its economic consequences, and all societies are rallying to welcome and support refugees from Ukraine – a sharp contrast to their rejection of refugees from the Middle East just a few years ago."

Find out more here.



Veneco Podcast: Episode 15 - Omar Hammoud Gallego

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego has been featured as a guest on the Veneco Podcast, a compilation of weekly news, reports and analysis on democracy, social movements, human rights, and more in Venezuela.

He and host Juan Andrés Misle reflect on the history of asylum and refugee systems in Latin America and the challenges of adopting effective policies in light of the Venezuelan migration crisis. Listen to the episodes on the different podcast streaming platforms here:

Spotify Apple / Google / Amazon / Podcast Addict



Early to Hike, Early to Thrive?

In his latest opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco discusses the decision by several countries to hike interest rates early, and whether this was a policy mistake

He writes: "Every undergraduate economics student knows that containing inflation when costs are rising is tough, because firms will refrain from passing the higher costs on to consumers only if their sales are weak and prospects dim. This means that a given reduction in inflation will require higher interest rates, and hence weaker economic activity."

You can read the article in full here.



October 2022



Social Radio

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego was a guest for a political radio program in Panama to talk about the Venezuelan migration crisis. He argued that the situation in Venezuela is so dramatic (94.5% of population in poverty) that governments in the region cannot stop them from leaving their country and should instead seek to regularise them for the benefit of all.

Listen to the interview here (in Spanish)



The Evening Edition with Kait Borsay

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego was a guest on Times Radio to talk about the “migration crisis” in the UK in their Evening Edition with Kait Borsay.

He argued that the increase in asylum requests, while reaching its highest level compared to more recent years, simply follows a trend that other European countries are experiencing as well. I concluded by suggesting that the Home Office should deal with their immense backlog (over 100,000 people yet to be processed), and the government should increase resettlement of refugees to give people a realistic chance to get into the UK in a legal manner.

Listen to the show here (Dr. Gallego feature starts at 23.30).



Rishi Sunak will become the U.K.’s next prime minister

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an article from the Daily Mirror, following the news that Rishi Sunak will become the UK's next Prime Minister.

He said: "After the trauma of the last four or five months, even factions that do not support Sunak are going to give him a fair wind. They have to decide whether they want to win another election or spend a period out of government fighting with each other."

Read it here.



Bond Street station is finally open — just £500m over budget

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an article from the Times, discussing the opening of the Bond Street station on the new Elizabeth Line.

"For the past five months passengers travelling on London’s new Elizabeth Line could only peer through the carriage windows in frustration as the train sped through a deserted, and unfinished, Bond Street station. But at 5.30am tomorrow it will finally open — four years late and £500 million over budget."

Read it here.


News Brazil

The lesson from the first round of Brazil’s election: Bolsonarismo is here to stay

Dr Christopher Sabatini has written an article in The Guardian, discussing the first round of the election in Brazil.

He writes: "The first lesson from Brazil’s election on Sunday is that public opinion surveys severely misfired. Just a few days before the contest, many reported a 15% lead for Luiz Inàcio Lula da Silva over the incumbent, Jair Bolsonaro; and many also predicted a Lula first-round victory. The second lesson is that, far from being a flash in the pan – as many had hoped – the rightwing populist movement Bolsonarismo is an organised political force, and it is here to stay, at least for the medium term."

Read the full article here.

News Washington

Hegemony in the Americas Has Been Turned on Its Head

Dr Christopher Sabatini has published an article through Foreign Policy, looking at the relationship between Washington and Latin American countries in the modern day.

He writes: "For decades, Washington was Latin America’s fulcrum on matters of immigration, trade, drug policy, democracy, and human rights. U.S. leadership produced a raft of free trade agreements and bilateral programs that seemed to advance these issues. But in recent years, the United States has become a hostage to this framework of engagement with the region."

Read the full article here.


News Human Rights

Reclaiming human rights in a changing world order

Dr Christopher Sabatini has edited a book, titled Reclaiming human rights in a changing world order.

The book, published by Chatham House, examines the threats to international and regional human rights in Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. It offers insights and recommendations for activists, policymakers, and academics to better understand and address the challenges.

View a PDF of the book here.



Symbolic refugee protection: why Latin America passed progressive refugee laws never meant to use

Dr. Omar Hammoud-Gallego has published a blog post discussing Latin American refugee laws, their application and what they represent.

He writes: "In theory, refugees enjoy a wide variety of social and economic rights, ranging from free legal assistance in Nicaragua to the recognition of the right to refuge for people fleeing environmental disasters in Ecuador. The trouble is that most of these laws are hardly ever applied in practice."

You can read the full article here.



The Short-Term Effects of Visa Restrictions on Migrants’ Legal Status and Wellbeing: A Difference-In-Differences Approach on Venezuelan Displacement

Dr. Omar Hammoud-Gallego has recently presented his research at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC.

At the presentation, he discussed the development, determinants and effects of migration and asylum policies of three research articles examining the development of asylum policies in Latin America, the rationale behind the expansion of refugee protection in Latin America, and the effects of visa restrictions in a context of mass displacement and porous borders.

You can listen to a recording of the event here.


September 2022

MPP ClassPhoto SQ

Welcome new School of Public Policy Students!

In September we welcomed over 250 new students to our programmes. Our new cohort represent over 50 nationalities and a broad range of professional backgrounds and areas of expertise. We are excited to welcome our new students to our growing SPP community of global policy change-makers.   

Read about our new cohort here.


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Bank of England intervenes to avert credit crunch, economic fallout

Professor Tony Travers has been featured in The Washington Post discussing the Bank of England's intervention following the fallout of the government's recent mini-budget.

He said: "They are prepared to risk unpopularity because they think it will work in the long term."

Read it here.


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Queen Elizabeth II was 'a figure of enormous stability for the UK'

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed by France24, discussing Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

"Professor Travers describes a young constitutional monarch who hit the ground running at the tender age of 26, under the aegis of Winston Churchill. She presided over a post-war "period of extraordinary social and economic change in Britain, right away, through to today's information-driven age." And she will not just be remembered for her "longevity and continuity," explains Professor Travers, "but the way in which she did her job well.""

Watch it here.



God Save the Pound?

In his latest opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco argues that the real problem with the United Kingdom's growing budget deficit and public debt is that they can constrain monetary policy and lead to uncertainty, complicate the inflation-unemployment tradeoff, and hinder long-term growth.

He writes, "Ultimately, a bet on a currency is a bet on the strength of the political institutions that undergird it. Are we to conclude that markets no longer believe in the fundamental solidity of British institutions?"

You can read the article in full here.


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After Queen Elizabeth’s death, Britain faces questions and uncertainty

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed by the Washington Post, looking at the impact of Queen Elizabeth's death on Britain.

He says: "Britain has a separate head of state and government, and both have changed in the span of two days. The passing of a monarch and changing of a prime minister have happened before, of course, but it will be a profound moment for collective self-reflection in the U.K.."

Read the full piece here.


Omar Hammoud Gallego 2022

Symbolic Refugee Protection: Explaining Latin America’s Liberal Refugee Laws

Dr. Omar Hammoud-Gallego has published a research article in the American Political Science Review, titled "Symbolic Refugee Protection: Explaining Latin America’s Liberal Refugee Laws".

The abstract reads: "What drove an entire region in the Global South to significantly expand refugee protection in the early twenty-first century? In this paper, we test and build on political refugee theory via a mixed-methods approach to explain the liberalization of refugee legislation across Latin America."

You can read the article in full here.


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Kwasi Kwarteng: baptism of fire for UK's new finance minister

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an interview with Yahoo News, discussing Kwasi Kwarteng's first policy announcement and its impact.

He says: "There is lots of pressure on Kwasi Kwarteng. He might have started out as believing in a smaller state and a more deregulated economy, but he's living in a world where the public expects almost exactly the opposite."

Read the full piece here.


Chile’s rejection of populism is an example for the world

Professor Andrés Velasco has been quoted in an article from the Financial Times, discussing Chile's recent constitutional referendum.

He says: "There will be a new constitution. The representation of women and ethnic minorities is now ensconced in politics, access to abortion will be broadened and gay marriage will remain legal. On values and inclusivity, Chile has moved forward and this will not change."

You can read the article in full here.



August 2022

Portrait photo of Professor Tony Travers

We’ve travelled too cheap for too long: Are tourism taxes a good idea?

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed for an article with EuroNews, regarding the idea of introducing a tourism tax.

He is quoted as saying that such a tax "could be worth “hundreds of millions of pounds” a year."

Read it here.



Woke Politics Goes South

In his latest opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco argues that the shortcomings of "wokeism" become even more jarring and dangerous when transposed to Latin America. 

He writes, "Authoritarian populists are smiling. The international media are fixated on Latin America’s “pink tide” of recently elected left-leaning governments, but perhaps they should instead start preparing for a right-wing wave of Bolsonaro and Bukele clones."

You can read the article in full here.


Omar Hammoud Gallego 2022

Book review: Latin America and Refugee Protection: Regimes, Logics and Challenges

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego has published a review of the book Latin America and Refugee Protection, for the journal International Migration.

He writes: "The volume provides a much-needed comprehensive overview of scattered pieces of research on refugee policy in Latin America." 

Read it in full here.



On GPS: Rewriting a constitution

 Professor Andrés Velasco has been featured in an interview from CNN, discussing Chile's bid to remake its constitution.

Watch the video on the CNN website here.


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The Economic Complexity of Namibia

Dr. Miguel Santos has been interviewed by, discussing the economic complexity of Namibia, showcasing the work of the Growth Lab.

"Namibia has been grappling with three interrelated challenges: economic growth, fiscal sustainability, and inclusion. Accelerating technological progress and enhancing Namibia's knowhow agglomeration is crucial to the process of fostering new engines of growth that will deliver progress across the three targets."

Watch the video here.



Corruption in Ghana: People's Experiences & Views

Dr. Omar Hammoud Gallego has contributed several chapters to a new UN report, undertaking an empirical analysis of corruption in Ghana.

The report's introduction reads: "The main objective was to collect evidence-based information on forms of corruption affecting the population of Ghana in order to determine the prevalence of corruption and its prevailing typologies. The results of the survey will provide benchmark indicators that can be used to inform relevant policies and track future progress while ensuring international comparability with surveys of a similar nature carried out in other countries."

Find the full report here.



July 2022

Alexander Evans

Professor Alexander Evans joins the School of Public Policy

We are delighted to announce that Professor Alexander Evans has joimed the School of Public Policy, as Professor in Practice from August 2022.

Professor Evans will teach two brand-new graduate courses in the School of Public Policy: Anticipatory Policy-Making and Technology, Data Science and Policy. Learn more about his appointment here.



Argentina's Never-Ending Tragic Farce

In this opinion piece for Project SyndicateProfessor Andrés Velasco argues that Argentina's latest bout of financial turmoil is following a familiar historical pattern. 

He writes, "Argentine voters are no strangers to financial turmoil, but they keep electing politicians who run large fiscal deficits and finance them by printing pesos. Could it be that the only way for politicians to show they want to save the economy is to destroy it first?"

You can read the article in full here.


Portrait photo of Professor Tony Travers

The Leader podcast: How successful are union train strikes?

Listen to Professor Tony Travers taking part on the Evening Standard's The Leader podcast, discussing the effectiveness and impact of pickets.

"To discuss why unions use strikes as a strategy, we’re joined by one of Britain’s leading transport experts, Tony Travers, professor at the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

"We discuss the complexities of the negotiating process, Mayor Sadiq Khan’s fabled “zero days of strikes” pledge back in 2016, government proposals to crack down on industrial action and what the future holds for passengers fares."

Listen here.



'Tory leadership contenders aren't trying to pitch to the general British population', says professor

Professor Tony Travers has been interviewed over video on CNBC, discussing the Conservative party leadership election.

He said : "You have to remember who the electorate is in this election. It's a tiny, tiny portion of the UK population; that is, it's Conservative party members and their views are clearly very different to the average views of the British electorate."

Watch the interview here.



The genesis of bitcoin: how the crypto market started

Dr. Frank Muci has been featured in The Saturday Paper, discussing bitcoin.

The article reads: "The catastrophe also provoked unmistakable schadenfreude. The Atlantic led its coverage with an essay entitled “The Crypto Crash Feels Amazing”. Frank Muci, a policy fellow at the London School of Economics, told WIRED magazine that the collapse was “a run on nothing”."

Read it here.



London could introduce a tourist tax to fund TFL and earn 'hundreds of millions of pounds'

Professor Tony Travers has been quoted in an article from the Express, discussing the idea of a 'tourist tax' being implemented in London.

The article reads: "Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics told the London Assembly that a tourist tax could earn the city hundreds of millions of pounds a year. He suggested that any money earned could be used to fund TFL and to help the city operate the extensive network."

Read the full piece here.



MPA graduate awarded prestigious Diana Award 2022

We are delighted that Hasti Modi, a graduate of our MPA programme, was awarded the prestigious Diana Award 2022. Congratulations!

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts. Hasti was recognised for her environmental initiatives in India, France and the United Kingdom.

Read more on the Diana Award website.



A poor country made bitcoin a national currency. The bet isn’t paying off

Dr. Frank Muci has been quoted in an article about the impact of president Nayib Bukele's decision to make bitcon the national currency of El Salvador.

The article reads: "““Bukele has shown that he cares more about public image than sound economic management,” said Frank Muci, a public policy expert at the London School of Economics who has studied El Salvador’s bitcoin bond. “But eventually the chickens will come home to roost, at a very high cost for the country.”"

Read the article on the New York Times here.



June 2022